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.

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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September 18, 2014

House Democrats seek to breathe new life into ENDA

And here I just got finished telling an audience yesterday at the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act was dead.

Guess I was wrong.

More on this after the jump...

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Continue reading "House Democrats seek to breathe new life into ENDA" »

September 17, 2014

Some Senate Republicans seek to reinvent the National Labor Relations Board

So, yesterday, it was all about some House Republicans introducing legislation to constrain the enforcement efforts of the EEOC. Then, I read this story from Ramsey Cox at TheHill.com. It seems some Senate Republicans are taking aim at the National Labor Relations Board.

More after the jump...

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September 16, 2014

New House bills seek to slow the EEOC's roll

Halftime of the Eagles-Colts game. So, I only have 15 minutes to crank this one out. Here we go...

Two new bills in the House to watch.

1. The Litigation Oversight Act of 2014: This bill would amend Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to require the EEOC Commissions to decide by "majority vote whether the Commission shall commence or intervene in litigation involving multiple plaintiffs, or an allegation of systemic discrimination or a pattern or practice of discrimination."

I give this somewhere between between a snowball's chance in hell and hell freezes over chance of passing.

2. The Certainty in Enforcement Act of 2014 would also amend Title VII to allow employers "to engage in an employment practice that is required by Federal, State, or local law, in an area such as, but not limited to, health care, childcare, in-home services, policing, security, education, finance, employee benefits, and fiduciary duties." The intent here is to hamstring the EEOC from scrutinizing background checks of current and potential employees.

Like my daughter in a bumper car, this too shouldn't get far.

Continue reading "New House bills seek to slow the EEOC's roll" »

September 15, 2014

What employers need to know about "subtle bias" before it becomes an in-your-face lawsuit

Over the weekend, I read this CareerBuilder poll, which found that the majority of workers don't aspire to leadership roles. Here are the numbers:

One in 5 workers (20 percent) feel his or her organization has a glass ceiling - an unseen barrier preventing women and minorities from reaching higher job levels.
However, when looking only at workers who aspire to management and senior management positions, the percentage increases to 24 percent and is even higher among females (33 percent), Hispanics (34 percent), African Americans (50 percent) and workers with disabilities (59 percent).

The kicker is that only 9% of white men think there is a glass ceiling for women and minorities at their organization. The disparity in perception is startling. The actual numbers aren't any easier to swallow. According to this 2013 Forbes article, "only 1% of the nation's Fortune 500 CEOs are black. Only 4% are women. And not a single one is openly gay."

Does overt discrimination have something to do with it? I can't point to a particular study, but I'd be foolish to say no. But, this more recent article from Jonathan Segal, highlights the effect of subtle bias on the relative lack of female and minority business leaders.

More after the jump...

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Continue reading "What employers need to know about "subtle bias" before it becomes an in-your-face lawsuit" »

September 12, 2014

How swift response to racial slurs and graffiti defused a discrimination claim

You have an employee handbook, an anti-harassment policy, training, the whole nine.

But, sometimes, notwithstanding your best efforts to create a positive, respectful workplace, you receive a complaint from an employee who claims to be the victim of harassment based on [insert protected class].

All the prophylactic measures you've already installed mean nothing unless you respond to that complaint appropriately.

See how one company did it right, after the jump...

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Continue reading "How swift response to racial slurs and graffiti defused a discrimination claim" »

September 11, 2014

The sleepy, old man with old ideas may have an age discrimination claim

Psst.

Want the secret to spotting a potential age discrimination claim a mile away?

I've got it for you after the jump.

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Continue reading "The sleepy, old man with old ideas may have an age discrimination claim" »

September 10, 2014

EEOC takes on fitness-for-duty medical releases; how to avoid the crosshairs.

Congratulations!

Your fitness-for-duty employee medical examinations are job-related or consistent with business necessity. So, they pass muster under the Americans with Disabilities Act. But, what about the medical information you request from employees in connection with those exams? 

Oh yeah, there's that too...

Ask for too much info and you might you be violating not only the ADA, but also the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act.

Rut roh! More after the jump...

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Continue reading "EEOC takes on fitness-for-duty medical releases; how to avoid the crosshairs." »

September 9, 2014

A restaurant posted LeSean McCoy's receipt on its Facebook page

My mind...blown!

Yesterday, the local internet feeds were flooding us with news that Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy allegedly left a 20-cent tip at a local restaurant at which he and some friends had lunch on Monday. The "smoking gun" was a copy of what is purported to be McCoy's lunch receipt from the restaurant.

I read "Eagles Player LeSean McCoy Just Left a 20-Cent Tip at PYT" on PhillyMag.com, and "LeSean McCoy tips 20 cents at PYT. The restaurant, PYT, even posted about it on its own Facebook page, complete with a copy of the supposed McCoy receipt.

I get that internet stories about a low-tipping professional athlete equal reader clicks. But how about a different angle; namely, that the person who posted a customer's receipt on social media still has his job to return to today. Or that the restaurant itself is glorifying a practice of shaming customers -- famous or not. (Remember the story of the employee who posted the Denver QB Peyton Manning's huge tip on a dinner receipt? He lost his job). Fortunately, many of the Facebook users who commented on the PYT Facebook page get that posting meal receipts, large or small, is hella-stupid...

So, what do you think, folks? Take this poll and this poll and let me know what you think in the comments...

Was PYT right to post the receipt?
 
pollcode.com free polls
What should happen to the PYT employee who posted the receipt?
 
pollcode.com free polls


UPDATE (9/9/14 4:52 pm): About an hour ago, on PYT's Facebook page, PYT's owner addressed the kerfuffle that posting the receipt created.

UPDATE (9/10/14 2:52 PM): This.

September 8, 2014

Apparently, the ADA requires accommodating an employee's anger issues with a Shih Tzu named "Sugar Bear"

Hey, I don't make this stuff up. I just blog about it.

More after the jump...

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September 5, 2014

Final Score: HIPAA 1 - Retaliation 0

See how a federal appellate court shut out a plaintiff's claims of retaliation after she was fired for forwarding confidential documents to herself, purportedly to preserve evidence for an age-discrimination lawsuit filed by a former coworker.

What I did there, you see that?

After the jump...

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Continue reading "Final Score: HIPAA 1 - Retaliation 0" »

September 4, 2014

Philadelphia now requires breastfeeding protections for local employees

Heads up, Philly employers! This new law takes effect right away!

Read all about it after the jump...

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Continue reading "Philadelphia now requires breastfeeding protections for local employees" »

September 3, 2014

Court won't let jury see plaintiff's trial-victory prediction on Facebook

Oh, come on! What fun is that?

What did the plaintiff say and why won't the court allow the defendants to present it as evidence at trial? Find out after the jump...

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Continue reading "Court won't let jury see plaintiff's trial-victory prediction on Facebook" »

September 2, 2014

How to curse out your boss on Facebook ... and get away with it!

It's easier than you think. Indeed, a recent decision from the National Labor Relations Board bears this out.

Details after the jump...

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Continue reading "How to curse out your boss on Facebook ... and get away with it!" »

August 29, 2014

Same-sex training. Ok or discrimination?

According to the EEOC, if men can only train men, and women only women, that may be discrimination. 

But, let's see what a federal court has to say about that after the jump...

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Continue reading "Same-sex training. Ok or discrimination?" »