On my speaking boondoggles around the country, what’s the biggest issue I hear from HR professionals involving transgender employees?

Yep, it’s the use of the bathroom.

Folks, it’s not that complicated. But, I’ll get to that in a sec. First, with a tip of the hat to Joshua Block (@JoshACLU), over the weekend, I read this tweet, which links to this story from Jessica Shepherd (@JessShepSaginaw), about a Planet Fitness location in Michigan that received a complaint from a female gym member. This woman complained to the gym about a transgender woman (assigned male at birth; identifies as female) in the woman’s locker room. She then told other gym members that “a man” was using the woman’s locker room.

So Planet Fitness responded. Continue reading

My new blogging platform and email newsletter have their advantages, especially the newsletter.

For example, when a daily post goes out to my blog email subscribers (and, if you haven’t subscribed yet, you can do that here), one of the analytics I can track is the most-clicked hyperlinks. Welp, in last week’s “Heil Hitler” post, the most popular links were the two that were marked NSFW. That means NOT SAFE FOR WORK. To put this into better perspective, there were three times as many clicks on the NSFW links as there were to the link to the Fifth Circuit opinion I address. Although my analytics don’t literally say it, I will: you guys are hella-twisted.

But, hella-twisted or not, you’re still the best readers on the planet.

Hey, maybe we can just blame those clicks on the plaintiffs’ lawyers who read this blog. (Don’t worry. I love you too. Just not nearly as much). But, I’ll tell you what. One of ’em came through big time by forwarding me a copy of this opinion, which is a great juxtaposition *** Googles “juxtaposition” — nailed it! *** to what I wrote last week about how no reasonable person would construe a single “Heil Hitler” comment from a manager as creating a hostile work environment. Continue reading

“I see your ‘two free slurs’ rule, Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and I raise you one shout out to the Third Reich, alright Hoss?”

Ok, you got me.

The Fifth Circuit, which covers Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, didn’t actually use those words, exactly. But, what the Court did say in this opinion, was that an employee who complained to Human Resources about a Deputy Director, one who allegedly said “Heil Hitler,” could not reasonably believe that this single comment created a hostile work environment. Got that? When a manager allegedly praises the Nazis one time, that’s not against the law:

Continue reading

guestblogger.jpgToday we have a guest blogger at The Employer Handbook. It’s Amy Klimek.

Amy is an experienced HR recruiter and VP of Human Resources for ZipRecruiter, a company that simplifies the hiring process for small to medium size businesses. Prior to that Amy has held similar roles at Rent.com, eBay and US Interactive. For Amy, corporate culture isn’t about dogs and free lunches, it’s about empowering employees and creating an enriching environment for people to excel.

(Want to guest blog on an employment-law topic at The Employer Handbook? Email me).

Continue reading

Last week it was #thedress. Before that, Kim Kardashian broke the internet.  But, first, there was the Jimmy John’s non-competition agreement kerfuffle that dominated my Twitter. Probably not yours though, because you have a life. Then again, here you are reading this post, pot.

Or shall I call you kettle?

Continue reading

I know what some of you are thinking, “Seems more like a Tuesday topic to me.” To you folks I say, “Get the hell out of here! YOU’RE NUTS!!!”

Ok, you’re right, let’s start over.

One of the exotic dancers at a Georgia gentlemen’s club got preggers. Wait. Do the kids still say preggers? Yeah, let’s try and be mature about the serious Monday post. A woman who gyrates on stage for dollars, and maybe on customers’ laps too — I don’t know for sure — got pregnant. Hey, look, I’m not judging.

Two months later, she lost her job.

The woman claimed that her employment was terminated due to her pregnancy in violation of Title VII. Continue reading

Yesterday, with my good buddies Casey Sipe and Jessica Miller-Merrell from Blogging4Jobs.com, I presented a webinar on the interplay between the Family and Medical Leave Act, state workers’ compensation laws, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The key word in the last sentence being “interplay.”

(By the way, if you want to snag a copy of that webinar, drop me a line, and I’ll see what I can do about getting you a copy).

One point we emphasized during the webinar is that, for employees taking FMLA leave for their own serious health condition, companies need to have a plan to address the FMLA implications and the potential interplay — there’s that word again — with the ADA. Because, remember, leave may be a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. Continue reading

Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. In Abercrombie, the company did not hire a woman who wore a headscarf at her interview, because she did not conform to the company’s Look Policy.

The issue before the Supreme Court was 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. Continue reading

In a world, where an employee cannot prove age discrimination after getting fired for playing golf during his medical leave, comes the story of a pharmacist *** dramatic pause *** who wouldn’t give flu shots. While we wait for Hollywood to greenlight this movie — I’m thinking Gary Oldman as the pharmacist and Blossom‘s Jenna von Oy as the customer — you’ll just have to settle for a short blog post about the age discrimination lawsuit that ensued after the pharmacist was fired.

As detailed in this recent Pennsylvania federal court opinion, a drug store decided to require that its pharmacists immunize customers upon request. The plaintiff, a pharmacist, was morally opposed to administering the flu vaccine because a close friend of his had contracted Guillain-Barre Syndrome after receiving a flu vaccine. The drug store didn’t doubt the sincerity of the plaintiff’s beliefs. Nonetheless, it fired him because he refused to immunize customers, which was an essential part of his job. Continue reading

If you follow me on Twitter (@Eric_B_Meyer), you saw I broke the news last Friday that the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (here) joined the Sixth Circuit (here), in excluding expert testimony from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on how certain background checks may have a disparate impact on certain protected classes.

Yesterday, at the Ohio Employer’s Law Blog, Jon Hyman quoted the money shot from the recent Fourth Circuit opinion. Ultimately, the Fourth Circuit found the EEOC’s expert testimony to be “fatally flawed in multiple respects.”

While two circuit courts have thrown shade at the EEOC for its background check crusade — #THEREWILLBEHATERS — this does not mean that employers are in the clear. Consider first, that the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan lists Eliminating Barriers in Recruitment and Hiring as its number one priority. And the word I hear is that the EEOC, which, too runs background checks, is going to continue its war on criminal and credit checks until the Supreme Court weighs in.