In the latest entry in our series on extraordinary workplace misconduct, we must come to terms with the fact that not everyone loves birthdays or surprises. And, when an employee tells you that they don’t want a surprise birthday party, you’d best oblige them or you could face a discrimination suit and a nearly half a million-dollar jury verdict!

As the Washington Post, New York Times, and our Twitter scrolling reported, a Kentucky-based medical laboratory, Gravity Diagnostics, was found liable by a jury for disability discrimination when it fired an employee who suffered from an anxiety disorder that caused panic attacks. As a result, the jury awarded $450,000 in damages for lost wages and emotional distress. However, it’s the series of events that prompted the employer’s actions that are truly extraordinary.

Continue Reading Extraordinary Workplace Misconduct: Celebrating you is a piece of cake…

Here’s another entry in our occasional series of really bad behavior in the workplace – police officers who decided to continue playing Pokémon Go rather than respond to a robbery in progress! And then had the chutzpah to challenge their firing despite the fact that their gaming activity – and astonishing decision not to respond to the call for assistance with the robbery – was recorded by their in-car video-system!

Continue Reading Extraordinary Workplace Misconduct: No Pokémon Go While Policing!!

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?

Is it in effect or not? Do employers have to comply or not? Yes, everyone is confused. So here’s a quick overview of the very messy situation.

As you all undoubtedly know by now, on November 4, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued the promised/threatened Emergency Temporary Standard compelling employers with 100+ employees to require employees to be either (1) vaccinated or (2) subject to weekly testing and face covering mandates. (We wrote about the ETS in detail here).  The ETS took effect on November 5, although it set a December 6, 2021 compliance deadline for everything but the testing requirement, which has a January 4, 2022 deadline.
Continue Reading Wait – What Is Going On With the Vax-or-Test ETS?!!

Throughout the past decade, there have been efforts across the nation, at both the state and federal level, to ban the display of Confederate flags, a symbol associated with promoting hate, specifically racism.  In fact, some states have adopted laws that prohibit public displays of the Confederate flag, while other states, including Maryland, have phased out license plates that display the Confederate flag.  Private company giants,  such as Amazon, Walmart and NASCAR, have also banned the display of the Confederate flag.

Continue Reading Employers – Do Not Ignore Confederate Flag Sightings in the Workplace!

It’s not surprising that employers don’t approve of employees “shredding the gnar”* when they’re supposedly unable to work because of a serious medical condition. And that’s exactly what happened in Botelho v. Mayorkas, where a former Behavior Detection Officer for the TSA who worked at the Honolulu International Airport was fired for Family and Medical Leave Act abuse after his employer discovered that he was making snowboarding movies while apparently using FMLA to take an extended vacation.
Continue Reading Extraordinary Employee Misconduct: Making Snowboarding Movies While on FMLA?

Here’s another installment in our occasional series on the I-can’t-believe-they-did-that actions of employees. Now, I know that there’s a more common term for these types of pictures of a guy’s personal junk, but one of my law partners (let’s call her “Lulu,” shall we?) insisted that I not use it. Even with asterisks. So … let’s see what lessons we can draw from this situation, shall we? Beyond the obvious, of course.

Continue Reading Extraordinary Employee Misconduct: No Pics of Your Privates at Work!

Some readers may know that I have an adorable dog. A lifelong dog-hater, we got the dog as a bribe for my son (long story), and now I love the darned thing. There are days that he is the only one in the family that I love. And it’s been great, in this year+ of WFH, to have him nearby at all times.  Many people agree – and some would like to take their fur babies to the office when they return. But, as one court recently explained, that’s only required if the dog is, in fact, a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act – and there must be medical support for such an accommodation.

Continue Reading Love Me, Love My Dog? Maybe Not at Work…

A workplace rumor, especially a salacious one involving a high echelon employee, can take on a life of its own and reverberate throughout the workplace in unforeseen ways that can result in potential liability to an employer and result in expensive litigation.  The Parker v. Reema Consulting Services, Inc. case provides guidance for employers on the issue of workplace rumors and gossip.

Continue Reading Why Employers Shouldn’t Dismiss Workplace Rumors and Gossip—Courts Aren’t