On June 29, 2023, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled that religious accommodations under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act must be provided to employees or prospective employees unless the employer is able to demonstrate that the burden is substantial. The Court rejected the “de minimus” standard as a misreading of the Court’s precedent in TWA v. Hardison.Continue Reading The Supreme Court Redefines the Religious Accommodation Obligation for Employers
On June 29, 2023, a divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled that affirmative action in student admissions decisions at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. What does the Court’s holding mean for employers?Continue Reading What the Supreme Court’s Affirmative Action Ruling Means for Employers
When an employer receives a complaint of workplace misconduct, they often must conduct an investigation that may include interviewing employees. Interviewing an employee is not as simple as one may assume. Employees may have legal rights and protections that restrict an employer’s ability to interview them. Navigating those rights and protections is essential in insulating employers from possible civil and criminal liabilities.Continue Reading When an Employer Interviews an Employee, The Power of the NLRA Compels You!
We have a “shot and chaser” for you today.
“Shot” is our 2022 blog about an employee whose spiteful employer paid him in pennies – 91,500 of them, covered in oil – to remit his weekly wage of $915. The employee complained to the U.S. Department of Labor.Continue Reading Paying Wages by Pennies is Costly
When I was first practicing law, I quickly learned that the answer to many legal questions under National Labor Relations Act depends on which Board’s decision you pick. If the Board has a majority of Members (the name for those people who issue decisions) appointed by a Republican President, I was likely to find an answer that would please my management clients (and the partner who asked me to do the research). By contrast, if the Board’s majority was comprised of appointees named by a Democrat President, the outcome would vex my clients. In other words, the “rules of the game” shift with administrations.Continue Reading Say What? NLRB Rules Employees May Tape Record Others in Violation of State Law.
On February 22, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Helix Energy Solutions Group, Inc. v. Hewitt, clarifying that, in order to qualify for the highly compensated employee (HCE) exemption from the Fair Labor Standard Act’s overtime mandate, the employee must be paid on a salary basis, and the payment of a daily rate does not constitute a salary.Continue Reading Supreme Court Provides Clarification on the Highly Compensated Employee Exemption’s Salary Requirement
Does an employer violate discrimination laws when it acts on information that it honestly believes about an employee that disqualifies him from the job? Even if the employer might be mistaken and the employee has a legally protected disability? An appellate court recently provided the answer. No!!
Continue Reading Are Rumor Based Beliefs a Defense to Discrimination Claims?
Should an employee who, while at a convention, knocks on a coworker’s hotel room door, enters, then heads to the coworker’s bed wearing nothing but a robe be fired, even if the employee claims to have been sleepwalking at the time? Or, as George Costanza of Seinfeld fame asked, “was that wrong?”
Continue Reading Extraordinary Workplace Misconduct: The Case of the Somnambulant Sales Rep
In our occasional series spotlighting outrageous workplace conduct, we have come across an incredible, albeit petty, means of payment: pennies. Rarely does the inconsequential piece of copper find itself in the headlines. But, one former employee likely saw enough pennies in one day to last him a lifetime.
Continue Reading Extraordinary Workplace Misconduct: Petty Pennies
Determining pay based on gender is wrong. It’s also pernicious. The domino effect of an inappropriately depressed starting wage can impact pay for one’s lifetime. It’s also illegal under Federal and State anti-discrimination laws; pay decisions must be based on the job, not protected characteristics, including a person’s gender. Beyond these laws, which often address alleged violations after-the-fact, pay equity increasingly is being dealt with by State laws prohibiting inquiries about past salary and/or that require employers to provide applicants with salary ranges for the job they are seeking. The goal is to head off discrimination and stop the dominos from tumbling toward a lifetime of depressed wages. All of these laws are premised on the statistics that show women earn roughly 83 % of wages earned by men.
Continue Reading Pay Equity – What’s Good for the Gander is Good for the Goose?