Posts from October 2014.

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"What's good for the goose . . ."

When I do harassment training, I ask my audiences whether they think employers should ban the "N" word even when it's used by African-Americans among themselves. In my experience, the African-Americans in the audience have been the most vocal advocates for treating everyone equally in this regard. In other words, they argue, the word should be banned for ...

Laura Jones was offered a sales job at the Wal-Mart store in Cockeysville, Maryland, and was told that she would have to take a drug test. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Ms. Jones told an assistant store manager that she had end stage renal cancer, which prevented her from taking a urine test. The EEOC says that Jones then went to the drug testing collection ...

UPDATED 10/29/14 and 11/7/14 (see below). Thanks to Kate Bischoff of The Employment Law Navigator for bringing this to our attention.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a petition yesterday in federal court in Minnesota to stop Honeywell International, Inc., from requiring that employees (and spouses, if the employees have family health insurance coverage ...

When it comes to Halloween in the workplace, just call me Scrooge.

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Halloween costumes at work? Bah! Humbug!

A reader writes,

Hi, Robin. I dread the prospect of employees coming to work in inappropriate Halloween costumes. I've seen costumes that are sexually provocative, or that reflect racial or ethnic stereotypes. Some people even say that employers shouldn't have Halloween ...

Chai Feldblum, a Commissioner of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, recently presented an update on the EEOC's handling of charges alleging sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination.

At the meeting, reported this week in Bloomberg BNA, Commissioner Feldblum said that the EEOC is now tracking the intake and resolution of these charges, which I'll refer ...

I'd like to thank Sarah Phaff of our Macon, Georgia, office, who wrote this post with me.

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Fully clothed selfie: Kate Upton, eat your heart out!

As one who presumably has no nude selfies, you may not be too concerned about a “hack” like the one that continues to afflict celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still plenty of technology ...

Eggs Fried
Yum!

No, not that kind of egg.

This kind of egg:

Ovum Human

 

Eggs - human eggs, aka ova - have been in the news this week. First, it was announced that Facebook and Apple will begin offering insurance coverage for female employees to freeze their eggs for later fertilization and implantation, a procedure that can cost as much as $20,000. There are mixed feelings about this - on the one hand, some women ...

Last week, I wrote about the two situations in which an employer should ask an applicant about a disability or a religious belief or practice that might require reasonable accommodation. (As I emphasized last week, 99 percent of the time, you should stay away from these topics in job interviews.) My post prompted one reader to ask some follow-up questions that I think are worthy of another ...

Everybody knows that an employer should never, ever, ever ask an applicant about religion or disability until after a conditional offer of employment has been made. And maybe not even then. Right?

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Well, mostly right. But, as a couple of EEOC lawsuits show, there may be times when you have to make an exception to this rule. (Otherwise, it would be too easy for employers to stay out of ...

Brandon Coats was partially paralyzed in a car crash as a teenager, using a wheelchair, and has been a medical marijuana patient since 2010 when he discovered that using pot helped calm violent seizures and muscle spasms. Coats was a telephone call-center operator with Dish Network for three years before he failed a cheek-swab random drug test in 2010Marijuana_joint and was fired. Dish Network has a ...

Our condolences to Phyllis Walton and the rest of the family of Dick Walton, our colleague, friend, and former head of Constangy's Birmingham (Alabama) Office, who died on September 19, 2014. The following is a tribute from Rick Brown, current head of the Birmingham office:

J. Richard (Dick) Walton was born in LaFayette, Alabama, on December 13, 1931, the son of William Ora Walton and ...

Robin Shea has more than 20 years' experience in employment litigation, including Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (including the Amendments Act). 
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