And employers should take heed, because making assumptions about employees when making employment decisions can certainly make you look like an ass (and by that, I do mean the donkey-like animal and not the body part. Honestly, keep your mind out of the gutter!). That was the lesson learned by Walmart, according to a recent EEOC press release.Continue Reading Employers, “When you assume, you make an ass out of u and me.” – Oscar Wilde (or not?*)

Say, like the Secretary of Defense. The media has been abuzz with the story of Secretary Lloyd Austin’s recent medical issues – and particularly the fact that the White House, as well as the Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks (who takes over the Secretary’s responsibilities in his absence) were not notified until after the Secretary Austin had been in the hospital for three days! Various members of Congress are calling for an investigation, among other things. But that raises the question for employers – what is an employee’s responsibility to notify the employer when they will not be at work for medical reasons? Continue Reading When One of Your Employees Fails to Report to Work…

On December 15, 2023, the Maryland Department of Labor (“MDOL”) issued proposed regulations to implement the Maryland Economic Stabilization Act (“the Act”), which requires employers to provide notice of a mass layoff or a reduction in force in certain circumstances.  The proposed regulations are intended to provide guidance on how the MDOL plans to interpret obligations under the Act and enforce the Act, and the public is invited to provide comment on the proposed regulations before the MDOL issues final regulations. Continue Reading The Maryland Department of Labor Issues Proposed Maryland Economic Stabilization Act Regulations

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission just announced a resolution of its investigation into Groupon’s recruitment and hiring practices, with a rather unusual term that specifically benefits Black individuals – an issue of heightened sensitivity as employers have struggled with the employment implications of the Supreme Court’s recent decision banning affirmative action in college admissions. Continue Reading An Interesting Resolution to an EEOC Race Discrimination Investigation…

This week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced a $6.875 million settlement (ouch!) with Scripps Clinical Medical Group over its mandatory retirement age policy. Which reminded me that the EEOC has also sued Yale New Haven Hospital for its “Late Career Practitioner Policy,” requiring certain doctors age 70+ to undergo certain medical testing. Since my husband is a doctor (of a certain age), I am particularly interested in these developments – but I note that these principles apply across all employers.Continue Reading Mandatory Retirement or Medical Exams Based on Age?

A recent New York Times article highlighted the use and, frankly, abuse of Training Repayment Agreement Provisions (TRAP – oooooh, good acronym!), also known as stay-or-pay provisions. Under a TRAP, if an employee leaves their job before a certain specific amount of time has passed, they are required to pay back monies ostensibly tied to the costs of training, or finding a replacement, or even lost profits. The use of TRAPs appears to have significantly increased in recent years, and the Biden Administration is paying attention – and it is not happy.Continue Reading “Stay-or-Pay”? A Potential TRAP for Employers!

‘Tis the season for holiday parties – and possible employer liability. But don’t be a Scrooge. The Three Wise men employers should keep some things in mind in planning holiday events for their employees.Continue Reading Employers – Be Merry and Bright … And Thoughtful About Those Holiday Parties!

As most employers (hopefully) know, the Americans with Disabilities Act sets forth strict guidelines for when employers can require employees or applicants to undergo medical examinations or when they can ask questions that might reveal a disability. And the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act restricts what employers can ask about the applicant/employee’s family medical conditions. Getting this wrong can cost the employer, as a recent Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the federal agency that enforces the ADA and other federal anti-discrimination laws) press release made clear. The EEOC gleefully announced that Dollar General agreed to settle an ADA and GINA lawsuit for $1,000,000 (!!!), based in part on illegal post-offer/pre-employment questions that were asked of applicants.Continue Reading An Applicant’s Family Medical History? Apparently, That’s the Million Dollar Question!

Once upon a time, employees in all states but Montana (always bucking the establishment!) were presumed to be employed at-will, absent some sort of employment agreement (e.g. individual contract for a term, a collective bargaining agreement, policies that contemplate termination for cause, etc.). That means that either the employer or the employee may terminate the employment relationship at any time, for any or even no reason (as long as it’s not illegal – like, say, discrimination or retaliation). And so our well-meaning but foolish Employer is terribly excited by that principle because they want to get rid of an Employee. But … as with all good fairy tales, there is a dark side.Continue Reading At-Will Employment Is a Fairy Tale…

Well I think we all recognize that Artificial Intelligence (AI) has created some seismic shifts in the way things can be done, including in the workplace (and I covered many of the risks and concerns of generative AI for employers in our June 2023 E-Update). Governments at all levels are taking action to try to put guardrails on the use of AI. And now, President Biden has signed an Executive Order on “Safe, Secure and Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence,” as summarized in a Fact Sheet. This is a wide-ranging EO, but one of the areas it specifically addresses is the impact on workers. Continue Reading What Impact Will President Biden’s AI Executive Order Have in the Workplace?