Welcome Pennsylvania and New Jersey employers.

Settle in and read on for easy-to-navigate, clear and concise summaries of the employment-law landscape in PA and NJ. Plus, we highlight the latest legal trends and changes in the law. You can even improve the way you and your employees conduct business with our featured guest commentary and insights from other management-side employment lawyers and human resources professionals.

This isn't your average blog; this is The Employer Handbook. Read it cover to cover.

October 9, 2014

Federal appellate court foils the age discrimination claims of "Superman"

General Zod is not impressed

More on this case after the jump...

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Continue reading "Federal appellate court foils the age discrimination claims of "Superman"" »

October 8, 2014

EEOC, NLRB & Me: Mark your calendars for November 12, you guys

You're Invited.jpg

What if...

I'm just saying, what if you could attend an event -- a free event, with breakfast -- and you get to hear me speak for an hour and fifteen about social media in the workplace and other hot workplace issues, and then grill me during a Q&A?

That would suck, right? Because, apart from the breakfast, who wants to hear me speak for an hour and fifteen minutes?

So, how about something better -- couldn't be worse, amirite?

How about a panel discussion featuring, oh, I dunno...

Well, hey now! Direct access to three of the most influential workplace decisionmakers in our government. And I'm the moderator. (Oh, alright! You get the free breakfast too).

Is your heart racing? Your pulse quickening? That's not the morning coffee you're feeling. 

Geared to human resources professionals, business owners, and in-house counsel, this incredible collaboration will dish at an event entitled "Social Media @Work - The #BalancingAct Between Employer and Employee." We'll cover a variety of hot topics such as: 

  • Establishing social media policies that withstand legal scrutiny
  • Exploring the impact of social media on hiring decisions
  • Determining how far is too far when it comes to sharing workplace information online

Beyond social media, each speaker will address other emerging workplace issues at their respective agencies and take your questions. And, because I love you guys, this program has been approved for 1.25 HR/General recertification credit hours toward PHR, SPHR and GPHR recertification through the HR Certification Institute.

You want in on this? Yeah, you do...

Social Media @Work
The #BalancingAct Between Employer and Employee

Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Breakfast: 8 a.m.
Program: 8:45 a.m. - 10 a.m.
National Constitution Center
525 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Limited tickets available here.
.

littletwitter.pngBoth before and during the event, follow along and tweet using #BalancingActlittletwitter.png

October 7, 2014

Remember that a duty to accommodate may exist after childbirth

Seems one employer may not have received the memo. Now, the EEOC is taking aim. More on this and some tips for employers to avoid pregnancy-accommodation traps, after the jump...

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Continue reading "Remember that a duty to accommodate may exist after childbirth" »

October 6, 2014

The importance of having clear employment policies...and following them

Remember that Americans with Disabilities Act case involving Walgreens and the $1.39 bag of chips. In that one, the store appeared to really step in it by firing a diabetic who ate a bag of chips from the store without paying for it. The employee claimed that she needed the chips for her diabetes. The store defended its actions by arguing that the employee violated its no-grazing policy. $180,000 later, that case settled.

I don't know how much the chicken poppers sell for at Wal-Mart. And the case I read over the weekend involving the company's no-grazing policy didn't settle either...

Click for more...

Continue reading "The importance of having clear employment policies...and following them" »

October 3, 2014

The Supreme Court completes my religious discrimination superfecta

Have you noticed a theme here at the blog this week?

I mean, other than the crappy posts.

Well, that and the crotch grabbing.

It's been all about religious discrimination. Good ahead, scroll down the page, there they are.

And yesterday, the Supreme Court announced that it is going to decide EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., a case involving an employee who wore a headscarf (or "hijab") to work for religious reasons, but was told to remove because it conflicted with Abercrombie's clothing policy. The lower court granted summary judgment to the EEOC. The Tenth Circuit reversed and granted summary judgment for Abercrombie, concluding that the employee never informed Abercrombie that she needed a religious accommodation to wear the hijab at work.

Now, the Supreme Court will have to decide whether an employer can be liable under Title VII for refusing to hire an applicant or discharging an employee based on a "religious observance and practice" only if the employer has actual knowledge that a religious accommodation was required and the employer's actual knowledge resulted from direct, explicit notice from the applicant or employee.

Prediction: Abercrombie wins. I can't see how a majority of the Court concludes that anything less than actual notice of a particular individual's sincerely-held beliefs would create a duty to accommodate them.

October 2, 2014

Can crosses on holiday party invitations create a hostile work environment?

Remember yesterday, when I was talking about religious accommodations, I said, "Treat all religions equally."

That same rule applies to  casting out the evil devil of religious discrimination generally. Church!

After the jump, from my bloggerdome pulpit, I'm preaching my religion: employment law. All ye harassers, there is still time to repent! I will bring workplace salvation.

*** dodges lightning strike ***

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Continue reading "Can crosses on holiday party invitations create a hostile work environment?" »

October 1, 2014

A Monday Night Football lesson on workplace religious accommodations

After scoring a touchdown on Monday night, Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah dropped to his knees and prayed.

Kinda like this.

As Kevin Draper at Deadspin.com reports (here), a tweet from Abdullah's brother further confirmed that the player's post-TD celebration was a Muslim prayer.

Except the referees responded with a 15-yard penalty to the Chiefs for excessive celebration, for which the NFL later later accepted blame.

Oops.

What can employers learn from the NFL's mistake? A few lessons on accommodating prayer in the workplace after the jump...

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Continue reading "A Monday Night Football lesson on workplace religious accommodations" »

September 30, 2014

The religious bias case of the Jehovah's Witness officer who refused to use a gun

Ok, technically, he was a "parking services officer." But, he was working in a police department. And when you work in a police department as an officer, the odds are that you'll need some weapons training.

Well, cue the jump where we learn whether a police department has to accommodate the religious beliefs of a Jehovah's Witness who refuses weapons training....

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Continue reading "The religious bias case of the Jehovah's Witness officer who refused to use a gun" »

September 29, 2014

Court: It's ok to try to hit a co-worker with your car after grabbing her crotch (twice)

The opinion contains the words "fingered," "genital area," and "sexual assault," plus an allegation that the assailant tried to hit the plaintiff with her car in the mall parking lot. But, the court concluded that there was no sexual harassment, because none of these events "affected the conditions of her employment."

** napalms Washington-bound resume; shreds ashes **


September 26, 2014

The #EEOC makes history by filing its first ever transgender-discrimination lawsuits

Bending iPhone6's? Derek Jeter's last home game in Yankee pinstripes? Attorney General Eric Holder to resign?

Bah!

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was the one stealing the headlines yesterday -- err, doing something that I decided to be most blogworthy.

Details on two historic lawsuits after the jump...

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Continue reading "The #EEOC makes history by filing its first ever transgender-discrimination lawsuits" »

September 25, 2014

The Workplace Risks (and Rewards) of Social Media

Wouldn't it be great if two employment lawyers, one representing employees, another representing management, would discuss the employment-law implications of social media in the workplace on a Twitter chat? Then some other lawyers could chime in. And we'd have a moderator.

What's the word I'm looking for? Dorky? A little. But no dorkier than what the rest of you dorks discuss on Twitter.

Well, anyway, we did all this yesterday. If you missed it, keep one eye open tonight; I'm coming for you in your sleep here it is!

September 24, 2014

An orgasm on a treadmill explodes an employee's FMLA claim

Yep, that's what I said.

More on this after the jump...

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Continue reading "An orgasm on a treadmill explodes an employee's FMLA claim" »

September 23, 2014

Hitler jokes from supervisors of German descent are, oh, what's the word?

The German word is "dumm"

Or, as they say in Germ-lish: Hella-dumm.

More after the jump...

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Continue reading "Hitler jokes from supervisors of German descent are, oh, what's the word?" »

September 22, 2014

EEOC's attack on garden-variety severance agreements suffers a potentially MAJOR setback

Earlier this year, the EEOC filed a federal lawsuit against CVS in which it claimed that drugstore chain "conditioned the receipt of severance benefits for certain employees on an overly broad severance agreement set forth in five pages of small print." Specifically, the EEOC took issue with several common provisions that you guys probably use in your severance agreements:

  • a general release;
  • a non-disparagement obligation;
  • a confidentiality provision;
  • a covenant not to sue; or
  • a cooperation clause

But don't go throwing your severance agreements in the trash just yet.

More after the jump...

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Continue reading "EEOC's attack on garden-variety severance agreements suffers a potentially MAJOR setback" »

September 19, 2014

A company so concerned about an employee with cancer....it fired her?!?

That ain't legal, yo.

I'll tell you why after the jump...

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Continue reading "A company so concerned about an employee with cancer....it fired her?!?" »