Posts tagged Appearance Discrimination.

*For employment law advice.

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Neither a lawyer nor an HR professional. Caveat emptor!

Amy Dickson of the syndicated advice column "Ask Amy" is someone I read daily and agree with maybe 50 percent of the time. On most of the matters on which we disagree, she is probably right and I am probably wrong.

But she really blew it today when she tried to venture into the area of employment law.

A letter ...

How much can you do - and not do - about your employees' personal appearance and grooming? Take this quiz and find out! As usual, I'll have the answers at the end, so if you get one wrong, no one but you will know.

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"Don't hate me because I'm ugly."

QUESTION 1: If I operate in a jurisdiction that doesn't have a law against appearance discrimination, I can make any rules about appearance and grooming that I want. 

TRUE

FALSE

QUESTION 2: My employees are required by OSHA to wear masks on the job. The masks are no good unless there is a proper seal around the employee's mouth and nose. Since facial hair prevents a good seal from forming, we have a no-beard policy. I have one employee who is Sikh and wears a beard for religious reasons. What should I do?

A. Let him keep his beard and pray that the mask will work without the proper seal.

B. Tell him he has to shave the beard off or lose his job.

C. Meet with him and explain that the mask is required by OSHA and the safety rationale for the rule. Talk with him about reasonable accommodations, which might include use of a different type of mask that works with a beard, or transfer to another position that doesn't require use of a mask. After you've talked and perhaps consulted with vendors or safety experts, make a determination of what to do that won't violate the law or endanger his safety while accommodating his beliefs as much as you can.

For a guy who doesn't tweet, Jim Coleman - head of Constangy's Metro Washington D.C. Office and co-chair of our Wage and Hour Practice Group - has suddenly become an awfully big Twitter celeb.

(Or anyway, as big a Twitter celeb as employment lawyers ever become.)

It all started last weekend, when I got a tweet from Suzanne Lucas, the Evil HR Lady:

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As I told Suzanne, I really wasn't sure, so ...

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 ...

The U.S. Department of Labor yesterday issued its Final Rule on the Family and Medical Leave Act. This will replace the rule issued by the Bush Administration that became effective in 2009 and is primarily intended to address amendments to the FMLA that were enacted by Congress after the the 2009 rule took effect. However, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the newest version, issued ...

It's a well-known fact that good-looking people have a better chance of being hired and promoted, and make more money, than less good-looking people. At least, as long as you're not too hot. Generally, there isn't much you can do about it if your opportunities are limited by male pattern baldness, that extra 25 pounds you've been meaning to lose, your acne scars from high school, or your ...

Here are some steaming hot employment law news items for this sweltering mid-July:

EEOC does nothing to protect actor wrongfully terminated because of arrest record. (NOTE: I'm being tongue-in-cheek here.) You have probably heard by now about the arrest of actor Fred Willard for alleged "lewd conduct" in an adult movie theater. Willard denies behaving lewdly apart from being in theFredWillardApr08.jpg

OK, I admit it. This was not a "frequently asked question" until recently, after the New York Times ran a piece by a University of Texas economist who argued that the anti-discrimination laws should protect ugly people.

Since that time, this ridiculous highly creative suggestion has been blogged and tweeted about everywhere, so I would say that it now qualifies as a true "FAQ." In any ...

Robin Shea has 30 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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