Posts from August 2017.

I’m reading the decision as we speak, and we’ll be back soon with analysis from our Wage and Hour gurus, Jim 

Coleman and Ellen Kearns. But meanwhile, here is the Opinion and Order from U.S. District Court Judge Amos Mazzant, and here is the Judgment.

The judge granted a motion for summary judgment filed by the business plaintiffs, a group led by the Plano (TX) Chamber of Commerce.

You may recall that Judge Mazzant’s preliminary injunction, issued last November, is on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Image Credit: From flickr, Creative Commons license, by State Farm Insurance.

"Don't hate me because I'm cute!"

In New York, if you’re fired for being too cute, your boss may be guilty of gender discrimination.

In a case where it sounds like we are hearing only half of the story, a yoga and massage therapist claimed that her chiropractor boss and his wife (who was the COO of the practice) fired her solely because of the wife’s unjustified suspicions that the ...

Louise Davies is an Affirmative Action Paralegal in Constangy’s Winston-Salem, North Carolina, office. For more than 15 years, she has helped employers develop affirmative action plans and respond to audits and on-site investigations by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. She also conducts diversity training for employers. Louise is a graduate of Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia.

In February 2016, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs filed an administrative complaint against B&H Foto, the largest non-chain photo and video equipment store in the United States. The Complaint alleged that B&H had discriminated against female, black, and Asian jobseekers by hiring only Hispanic men for entry-level positions.  The OFCCP also alleged that Hispanic employees were harassed, paid less than similarly situated workers, and denied promotions because of their ethnicity.

The agency and the company recently entered into a consent decree, in which B&H agreed to pay $3.22 million in back wages to more than 1,300 affected class members. The company has also agreed to hire a workplace consultant to address its employment practices and workplace conduct. In addition, the company must provide its managers with annual training on EEO principles and on workplace harassment.

By agreeing to the consent decree, the company did not admit any guilt or wrongdoing. The company released a statement denying all of the allegations, but recognizing that litigation would be costly and resolution would allow it to return to business “as usual” with the government.

NOTE FROM ROBIN: Last night, I posted briefly that the EEOC’s requirement, starting next March 31, that employers include compensation data in their annual EEO-1 reports had been suspended. We now have more information, and I have drafted a client bulletin that will go out this afternoon. Because the blog subscription and bulletin subscription lists are not identical, I’m ...

This just in, from Randel Johnson, Vice President of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:

Members of the Chamber’s Labor Relations and Employee Benefits Committees:

We have just learned that the deadline for compliance with the new EEO-1 form reporting requirement for data on hours and compensation will be stayed indefinitely. According to our sources, [the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of the Office of Management and Budget] based their decision on two grounds, one of which was the appeal submitted by the Chamber that highlighted the new form’s problems with cost, utility, and confidentiality. [The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] will be publishing further details about what actions they will be taking and any future deadlines and timelines in the Federal Register.

This is a victory, not just for the business community, but for common sense in the world of regulations and information collection. As you know, the Chamber was at the forefront throughout the development of the revised form in crafting arguments opposing EEOC’s gross overreach in expanding the existing EEO-1 form to unmanageable proportions without any discernable benefit. . . .

We will provide more details on this important development as they become available.

Hopefully you’ll find this good news as the summer comes to an end!

I was not a fan of this new EEO-1 reporting requirement, so I am happy as a clam.

This will be a long slog.

(You've been warned.)

As I reported Tuesday, a federal judge has ruled that the wellness regulations issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are invalid. Judge John D. Bates of the District of Columbia did not vacate the rules but remanded them to the EEOC to address the rules' "failings." Now that I've had a chance to read the decision, I ...

No more AC for you!

Is it national origin discrimination for your employer to remove you from a work assignment because your name is the same as that of a long-deceased Anglo-American who is currently out of favor?

Robert Lee, sports announcer for ESPN, is Asian-American and has no known ties to Gen. Robert E. Lee of Virginia. But it was "mutually agreed" that sports announcer Lee would be ...

Patrick White, an attorney in the Cook County (Illinois) Public Defender’s Office, lost his claim that the county’s promotion process had an adverse impact on male attorneys. This judicial finding follows a jury verdict against the lawyer on his claims of disparate treatment discrimination.

Mr. White was a Grade III public defender, seeking a promotion to Grade IV. He contends ...

Bloomberg BNA reported last night that President Trump plans to nominate management-side labor attorney Peter Robb to become General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board, replacing Richard Griffin, whose term expires this fall.

Mr. Robb is a partner with the Vermont law firm Downs Rachlin Martin, PLLC. (I don't know Mr. Robb, but another (now former) Downs Rachlin attorney ...

I've written about the AARP's challenge to the wellness rules issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission here, here, and here.

Today, the court granted the AARP's motion for summary judgment and denied the EEOC's motion. I have not had a chance to read the opinion, but here it is. I'll be back soon with some real analysis.

Although the court has declared that the rules ...

If you're a private sector employer, you can generally fire an at-will employee for his or her political beliefs or expression. The First Amendment, as we discussed last week, does not limit you. Depending on where you are, there may be state or local laws protecting employees from discrimination based on their political beliefs or activities, but those jurisdictions are the ...

The state of Oregon is the first in the Union to have a statewide "scheduling law." The new law will take effect (for the most part) on July 1, 2018, and will apply to retail, hospitality, and food services employers with operations in Oregon, as long as they have at least 500 employees worldwide. Bob Ortbals, who has been following and covering municipal scheduling laws, has an ...

On August 11, Gov. Roy Cooper signed into law the North Carolina Employee Fair Classification Act. The portion of the legislation that deals with worker classifications will take effect December 31.

The legislation does not change existing definitions of “employee” and “independent contractor” under state law but creates an Employee Classification Section of the North ...

On the recent uproar involving a major, major employer and its recently-terminated employee:

No. 1. Is it a good idea to provide an "open forum" to employees if there are certain topics that are off limits? No. If you want to provide a forum for employees to speak up, but only "within reason," then it's a good idea to establish and communicate your limits in advance. That way, if ...

President Trump endorses the RAISE Act, which would clamp down on legal immigration. The RAISE Act legislation, among other things, would give immigration priority according to a skills-based "points" system and to individuals who speak English. If enacted in its current form, it would be expected to reduce legal immigration to the United States by about 50 percent. Will ...

Since the beginning of the Trump Administration, business owners, employers, and employees alike have been waiting to see what the effects on social policy will be. Of particular interest to employers, and especially federal contractors, is whether the Administration will bring about a more conservative approach to enforcement in the employment arena, including equal ...

Yesterday, I posted about a disability discrimination case that the employer did not really screw up. Even so, a few less-than-optimal moves resulted in an adverse jury verdict that was upheld on appeal.

In Chapter 2 of our series on "employers who didn't really screw up but still lost" is a sexual harassment case that bothers me, involving the Idaho Department of Corrections ...

Just a quick reminder to employers to PRESERVE THEIR RECORDS when litigation is not only pending but also threatened.

If you wait until the sheriff serves you with a summons and complaint, you may have waited too long. "Threatened" includes getting a demand letter from an attorney, or receiving an administrative charge or complaint, or any reasonably objective indication that legal ...

*sob!*

Bloomberg BNA reported last night that Philip Miscimarra, Chairman of the National Labor Relations Board and a voice of reason, will be leaving when his term expires on December 16 of this year.

Chairman Miscimarra said that he had been asked to stay for another term but decided not to because he had three kids going to college. Reading between the lines (not very difficult in this ...

Two court decisions came out last week that ought to scare the heck out of employers.

Both involved employers who seem to have been aware of their legal obligations and tried to comply. The employers lost their cases because they either didn't go far enough, or didn't pay enough attention to "optics."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPwrodxghrw

I'd like to talk about each of these ...

Would you believe we have another ConstangyTV Close-Up on Workplace Law? We do! In our August show, host Leigh Tyson talks with Heather Owen of our Jacksonville Office (esteemed proprietor of FOCUS, our women's leadership blog) about coordinating reasonable accommodation obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act and leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act ...

Last week, I had a short post about the position taken by the U.S. Department of Justice in the Zarda v. Altitude Express "gay skydiver" case.

The DOJ has directly opposed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which had also filed a brief in the case. The EEOC says that sexual orientation discrimination is prohibited by Title VII. The DOJ says it isn't.

(As I noted last week, the ...

The U.S. Senate yesterday confirmed Marvin Kaplan's appointment to the National Labor Relations Board, which means that there is now an equal number of Republicans and Democrats on the Board.

William Emanuel, a management-side attorney from Littler Mendelsohn, is the last Trump nominee to the Board. His confirmation vote will not take place until after the Senate's August ...

As we have reported previously, the EEO-1 filing process is changing. The EEO-1 reports that would have been required by September 30, 2017, now do not have to be filed until March 31, 2018. The “catch” is that the new EEO-1 reports will require compensation data from a workforce “snapshot” taken between October 1 and December 31, 2017.

(The compensation data reporting ...

President Trump has nominated Daniel M. Gade to the last vacant slot on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Dr. Gade, who has a Master's and Ph.D. in Public Administration and Public Policy, is a veteran of the second Iraq War, and lost his right leg in 2005 after an explosion that occurred while he was carrying out a routine patrol.

After spending about a year in recovery, Dr ...

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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