September 2011 Archives

September 30, 2011

Good grief! Hallmark launches line of unemployment cards

hallmark.jpgMach·i·a·vel·li·an   [mak-ee-uh-vel-ee-uhn] adjective

  1. of, like, or befitting Machiavelli.

  2. characterized by subtle or unscrupulous cunning. He resorted to Machiavellian tactics in order to get ahead.

  3. The quality associated with marketing a line of greeting cards to capitalize on the 9.1% unemployment rate in the United States. Hallmark's decision to sell unemployment sympathy cards is hella-Machiavellian.

September 29, 2011

Got chutzpah? Try scheduling a deposition on Rosh Hashanah.

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Today is Rosh Hashanah (ראש השנה), the Jewish New Year. I'm Jewish. So, I'm not taking a deposition today. And if you are involved in a case with Jewish parties or attorneys, you shouldn't be either.

However, according to this article, these plaintiff's attorneys didn't get the memo. So, defense counsel filed this motion. And the Court entered this Order, rescheduling the deposition and sanctioning the plaintiff's attorneys "in an amount to be determined."

Oy vey and L'shanah tovah.

Image Credit: torahmusings.com

h/t Above the Law and South Florida Lawyers

September 28, 2011

Hot Dog! EEOC accuses eatery of same-sex sexual harassment

nuway.jpgFrankly, Anthony Weiner ain't got nothin' on this Weiner.

The EEOC announced on Monday that it had sued Nu-Way Weiners, one of the oldest hot dog restaurants in the country, on behalf of two female employees. More after the jump...

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Continue reading "Hot Dog! EEOC accuses eatery of same-sex sexual harassment" »

September 27, 2011

Say what?!? Not returning employee calls may be FMLA retaliation

Thumbnail image for fmla.jpegAn eligible employee may take up to 12 workweeks of leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act in a 12-month period. If an employee exhausts all of her FMLA leave and fails to return to work after the 12 weeks are up, can't the company simply fire the employee? Well, it may not be that easy, as you'll find out after the jump...

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Continue reading "Say what?!? Not returning employee calls may be FMLA retaliation" »

September 26, 2011

The National Labor Relations Board has disbanded!

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That headline will be reality if this bill, currently pending in the U.S. House of Representatives, passes. More on its chances of success *** cough -- none -- cough *** here at the Washington DC Employment Law Update.

But while rumors of the Board's demise may be premature, the number of Board members is expected to drop by 1 -- from 3 to 2 -- once Member Craig Becker's recess appointment ends when the Senate adjourns at the end of this year. Why is that significant? Because, last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in New Process Steel, L.P. v. NLRB that the Board may not issue decisions with just two members. So, expect the flurry of Board decisions to continue through the end of the year, and gridlock thereafter.

Image Credit: staffingtalk.com

September 23, 2011

American businesses fight back against union-rights notice rule

nlrbattack.jpgReaders of this blog know from this post that the National Labor Relations Board is forcing most private-sector employers to post this notice to inform employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act, which includes the right to form a union. 

Now, some employer-groups are fighting back. Find out how and, more importantly, whether your business may get a reprieve from the posting requirement, after the jump.
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Continue reading "American businesses fight back against union-rights notice rule" »

September 22, 2011

Your [trade] secrets are safe with NJ...almost.

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Raise your hand if your state has adopted a Uniform Trade Secrets Act -- a law that affords companies an additional layer of protection by providing for civil remedies in cases of trade-secret theft by employees and others.

Not so fast, New Jersey.

Well, all that may be about to change. Details after the jump...

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Continue reading "Your [trade] secrets are safe with NJ...almost." »

September 21, 2011

What's the tax treatment on a Georgia lap dance anyway?

After the jump, you'll meet Karenza Clincy. She, along with other "nude, female exotic dancers," sued The Onyx (safe for work), an Atlanta Nightclub, for wage and hour violations. The club claims that the dancers are independent contractors. The plaintiff-dancers claim that they are employees -- and employees get minimum wage and time-and-a-half for overtime.

Who wins? We all do. Hit the jump for a trip down to the A-T-L (feat. Ludacris) and -- what the heck were we talking about -- oh yeah, the answer to some legal question...

Continue reading "What's the tax treatment on a Georgia lap dance anyway?" »

September 20, 2011

Fact or Fiction: Some U.S. discrimination laws extend worldwide

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That's right folks. It's time for another edition of "Fact or Fiction" a/k/a "Quick Answers to Quick Questions" a/k/a QATQQ f/k/a "I don't feel like writing a long blog post".

The answer to today's question is fact.

In 1991, the Supreme Court decided, in the companion cases of EEOC v. Arabian American Oil Co. and Boureslan v. Arabian American Oil Co., that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the federal statute which makes it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin, did not apply extraterritorially to regulate the employment practices of United States employers that discriminate against United States citizens abroad.

However, as the The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission notes in this Enforcement Guidance memorandum, Congress subsequently amended both Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1993 to permit American citizens employed outside of the United States by an American employer or a foreign corporation controlled by an American employer to pursue legal claims. Note, however, that the 1993 amendment provides a defense for violations of Title VII or the ADA if compliance with those statutes, "with respect to an employee in a workplace in a foreign country," would "cause" a covered entity to "violate the law of the foreign country in which such workplace is located."

h/t ContractorPerspective.com

September 19, 2011

Like, wow! We're on Facebook.

The Employer Handbook is now on Facebook. Check us out at Facebook.com/TheEmployerHandbook. And be sure to give it a "like".

September 16, 2011

An employer's response to a social-media nightmare. Thoughts?

munroe.jpgEarlier this year, a local teacher was suspended after her school learned about nasty comments on her personal blog concerning her students. And that story became national news. More on the history here, here, and here.

Now, word has it that the school is considering a social-media policy. Well, it's about time! What's in the policy and does it go too far? Find out after the jump.

Continue reading "An employer's response to a social-media nightmare. Thoughts?" »

September 15, 2011

Feds issue mandatory union rights poster. Funny video follows...

Back on August 26, in this post, I gave the heads up that the National Labor Relations Board would require most private-sector employers to post a notice, in a conspicuous location, informing employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act, which includes the right to form a union.

That poster is now available for download. You can find a copy of it here. Copies also are available from any of the NLRB's regional offices

My law firm has an e-Alert that went out yesterday about the poster. You can read that here. Or, you can check out the NLRB's frequently asked questions about the posting requirement here. For even more information on how this posting requirement could affect your business, contact a labor-and-employment attorney. (Hey, I'm a labor-and-employment attorney!)

While we can bicker over whether this posting requirement is necessary, all of us -- on both sides of the bargaining table -- can agree that the video below is hellalarious.

September 14, 2011

Businesses rejoice! NJ adopts new overtime regulations.

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Look what arrived in my inbox from the good folks at the Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey:

On September 6, 2011 the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development adopted new regulations on overtime payments to employees. The new regulations will make New Jersey's overtime standards consistent with federal regulations. The Chamber supports this regulatory change, as it clarifies the rules governing overtime pay for employees, making it easier for businesses to comply and avoiding confusion in the compensation of employees. This rule change also makes it easier for companies that do business in multiple states by creating consistency in the treatment of overtime requirements. The new regulations are effective as of September 6, 2011.
Click here to view a copy of the rule change.

For more information on the federal rules governing minimum wage and overtime pay, check out my "15 Handy-Dandy, Hella-Good Wage and Hour Resources for Employers"

Image credit: theobelisk.net

September 13, 2011

This old mother****** may just have an age discrimination claim

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You know what's not a good business practice for a car dealership? Referring to an older male employee as "old man," "pops," and "old mother******" and then steering car sales away from him to younger employees. Age discrimination is serious business, yo.

Details on this gem after the jump...

Continue reading "This old mother****** may just have an age discrimination claim" »

September 12, 2011

By The Numbers: Employment laws by total employees

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With so many employment laws out there, it's not easy to keep track of what those laws say -- let alone under which of them your business may be covered. 

Well, who loves ya! After the jump, it's employment laws by the numbers -- number of employees that is -- that your business must employ to be covered under certain specific federal employment laws. (I'll even throw in a few extra state statutes for my PA/NJ/DE readers).

GREAT BIG DISCLAIMER: What you'll find after the jump are the numerosity requirements for various federal laws. There are a slew of other legal hoops through which your business may need to jump. Be smart. Discuss them with an attorney. 

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Continue reading "By The Numbers: Employment laws by total employees" »

September 9, 2011

Uneven discipline can lead to big headaches and bigger lawsuits

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A longtime employee of the Secretary of State's office in Illinois claimed that two white managers targeted him for termination because he is black, and two white employees, one of whom was his supervisor, received lesser discipline even though they had engaged in the same alleged misconduct.

Is that right? Can a black employee claiming that he was treated differently because of his race compare himself to a white supervisor for purposes of proving his discrimination claim? Find out, after the jump.

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Continue reading "Uneven discipline can lead to big headaches and bigger lawsuits" »

September 8, 2011

The Scooter Store ... yadda, yadda, yadda ... disability bias?

i·ro·ny (noun) [ahy-ruh-nee]: an outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected.

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sued The Scooter Store, a purveyor of power chairs for the disabled, for disability discrimination.

Here is a copy of the Complaint. And here is a copy of the EEOC press release.

Now, read that second paragraph again. Let it sink in. Then watch the video on the left.

*** Do you smell sulfur? And are those flames coming through my floorboards? Co-stan-za!***

Hey, is this a great blog, or what?

September 7, 2011

Labor board slams NY non-union business for Facebook firings

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Earlier this year, reports of a Connecticut ambulance company firing an employee who had complained about her supervisor on Facebook, grabbed the headlines. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) complained that the firing was illegal. And although the company contended that it did nothing wrong, free speech advocates spewed hellfire and brimstone. Ultimately, the bloodlust subsided when that case settled.

Several months later, the NLRB is at it again. However, this time, for the first time, an NLRB Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) has found, after a full hearing, that an employer unlawfully fired employees for Facebook postings. Oh, by the way, the employer involved is non-union. More on this important decision and what it means for private employers after the jump.

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Continue reading "Labor board slams NY non-union business for Facebook firings" »

September 6, 2011

Happy Employer Day: 140 employment-law characters to follow

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Yesterday was Labor Day. And on Labor Day we honor the working men and women who are the lifeblood of American industry. 

Most of us spent the day with family or friends, barbecuing or just taking it easy with a cold beer. Not me. 

I spent the day making a special gift for employers. The way I figure it, no one gets honored on the day after Labor Day...until now.


[Cue the music...]

Sure, this blog kicks out some great labor-and-employment-law news and insight. Still, I'm but one man. With one blog. So, what I have for you is this link to 140 employment lawyers, HR folks, and other great resources on Twitter who constantly push out awesome information that will keep you compliant and way ahead of the curve. (If you're not the list, sorry, your post-dated two-party check didn't clear, deadbeat. Email me and I'll look into adding you).

Happy Day After Labor Day (a/k/a Employer Day).

September 2, 2011

Fantasy football: Good or bad for the workplace?

ffg.jpgI've said it before and I'll say it again: the most underrated aspect of the NFL lockout ending is that we get Fantasy Football in 2011. 

What else would I have done with my Sunday afternoons? 

Now, I can dominate with my 60" flatscreen TV (Eagles), one iPad (DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket app tuned to the Red Zone channel), one laptop (multitasking between ESPN.com fantasy football live scoring and Tweetdeck for streaming scoring, news and injury updates), and one iPhone (in case I miss anything else) setup.

Don't judge. Your employees are doing it too. And here are some great blog posts about Fantasy Football and the workplace:

Don't forget, you can still sign up for The Employer Handbook NFL Survivor Pool. It's free, you don't need to know anything about football to participate, the winner gets a prize, and did I mention it's free? Click here to sign up.

September 1, 2011

Fact or Fiction: Pregnancy is a disability under federal employment law

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That's right folks. It's time for another edition of "Fact or Fiction" a/k/a "Quick Answers to Quick Questions" a/k/a QATQQ f/k/a "I don't feel like writing a long blog post".

The answer to today's question is fiction. Pregnancy is not a "disability" for purposes of the Americans with Disabilities Act. To be considered a disability under the ADA, covered persons must actually have physical or mental impairments that substantially limit one or more major life activities. Pregnancy is not considered an impairment under the law.

However, when it comes to pregnant employees, keep three things in mind:

  1. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits pregnancy-related discrimination. It requires that employers treat pregnant employees in the same manner as male and non-pregnant female employees in determining their ability to work.
  2. If an employer offers temporary or short-term disability leave, Title VII requires the employer to treat pregnancy and related conditions the same as non-pregnancy conditions.
  3. Last week, a federal appeals court ruled, for the first time, that pregnancy-related health complications can render an employee "disabled" under the ADA.