A few years ago, I posed the question: Is a workplace “English-only” rule legal? 

Yadda, yadda, yadda, sometimes.

That is, in this Compliance Manual, the EEOC confirms that employers may adopt English-only rules under certain circumstances, insofar as it is adopted for nondiscriminatory reasons (e.g., safety, business necessity) and not to discriminate on the basis of national origin. Continue reading

This “invasion of privacy” question is the lynchpin of a new lawsuit from two former employees of one of the largest beer companies in the world. The complaint (available here), which began in state court, has been removed to federal court in New Jersey.

David Gialanella, reporting for the New Jersey Law Journal (full article here), summarizes the facts of the case:

A year ago, five company employees, including Nascimento and Yule, exchanged a series of text messages, apparently disparaging fellow employee Alex Davis. The messages were transmitted using their personal mobile phones, and on their own time, but Nascimento’s personal phone was linked to his company iPad through the iMessaging application, causing the messages to be stored on the iPad, according to the complaint.

Afterward, Nascimento was issued a new iPad, while the old one—with his text messages and credit card information still stored on it—was loaned to Davis. Davis discovered the text messages and complained, after which Nascimento, Yule and the others were questioned by investigators hired by Anheuser-Busch, according to the complaint.

Nascimento, Yule and a third employee involved in the messaging were terminated last September for “‘violation of corporate policy regarding use of company equipment,’” while a fourth was reprimanded, according to the complaint.

Continue reading

I’ve gotta hand it to the company in this recent federal appellate court opinion. The company almost — soooooo close — avoided several claims for unpaid overtime.

Let me set the stage for you. So, there I was wearing nothing but feathers and a coy smile. Back in 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor began investigating a complaint that a marketing company had misclassified some employees and failed to pay overtime. During the DOL investigation, the company sent the employees checks for back wages. Each check bore the following note in fine print:

“full payment from Actinlink [sic] or [sic] wages earned, including minimum wage and overtime, up to the date of the check.”

A bunch of employees deposited these checks. So, the marketing company claimed that, voila, those employees had agreed to waive their right to any additional back pay. Continue reading

Got a busted bracket in your HR Department’s NCAA Men’s Tournament bracket pool?

Oh, riiiiiiiiiight. What bracket pool? I must be talking about that other company, the one with low-flow poop-stained toilets and the non-conforming employee handbook. #realtalk

Well, according to this CareerBuilder.com survey, 1 in 7 US workers planned to fill out a bracket in an NCAA Tourney office pool. Most likely to participate would be the folks in IT (40%), with senior management 50% more likely to participate than entry-level employees. Continue reading

Before I get to a 1752-word blog post about the National Labor Relations Board going wee-wee all over your workplace Cheerios with this March 18 report from General Counsel Griffin, replete with examples of how your employee handbook is overly broad and violates the National Labor Relations Act, let me do two things:

  1. Shout out to employment lawyer and blogger Robin Shea and her fantastic job with the April Fools Edition of the Employment Law Blog Carnival. Word!
  2. The follow-up podcast I recorded with Casey Sipe and Jessica Miller-Merrell from Blogging4Jobs.com on the FMLA/ADA/WC questions we couldn’t get to during out hour-long webinar is now available. Email me if you’d like a copy.

So, about that report… Continue reading

Well, I think we can all agree that, when an employee’s protected class motivates a company to transfer him to a less desirable position, it’s time to call the lawyers and break out the checkbook.

But, what makes a transfer position less desirable?

Yesterday, I was reading this Sixth Circuit opinion about a hospital employee, who was undoubtedly suffering from a “disability” under the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, for several years, despite what the court described as “significant cognitive and physical impairments,” this plaintiff performed well as a housekeeper. Eventually, however, the hospital transferred the plaintiff to a different housekeeping role, one which he had trouble performing. Indeed, it was his poor performance in this new position that led the hospital to terminate his employment. Continue reading

And the Czech judge scored my lede a 4.3. Well, the second she starts paying my legal bills, maybe, I’ll give a damn. Until then…

What was I talking about? Oh yes, religious discrimination.

Over the weekend, I read this PA federal court opinion about an atheist who claimed that his boss proselytized to him about religion, even forcing him to wear a badge, which bore the company’s mission statement: “This company is not only a business, it is a ministry. It is set on standards that are higher than man’s own. Our goal is to run this company in a way most pleasing to the lord [sic]….”  The atheist claims that he covered up the mission statement with duct tape and, when he refused to remove the tape, the company fired him.

The Court, which initially put the kibosh on the plaintiff’s religious bias, reconsidered and allowed the plaintiff’s claims to survive a motion to dismiss. Continue reading

So…how many of you slept well after last night’s The Walking Dead? Don’t worry, no spoilers here.

Instead, what I do have is this link to a great post from my blogging buddy, Sharlyn Lauby a/k/a the HR Bartender. With a little help from this dude, Sharlyn’s post hits on, well, you read the lede: HR mistakes and how to address them.

Head on over to HRBartender.com and check it out.

So did you hear the one about the prison guard who, for four years, didn’t tell his employer about his other job? The one where he served as a biker gang “enforcer.” And his biker gang nickname? Hit Man. The biker gang enforcer, who was also guarding prisoners, was known as Hit Man.

How do you think that went over at the old hoosegow? Not so good.

David Stephanides at Wolters Kluwer’s Employment Law Daily has the full scoop here. Apparently, Hit Man’s grievance didn’t go over so well either.


I’m a bit late to the party with this one. But, for those who haven’t read about it elsewhere. Voila!

The plaintiff originally taught at the high school, during which she informed her employer about her pedophobia, a debilitating fear of young children. Some time later, the plaintiff was transferred to the middle school, which was ok because she only feared elementary school kids, and not middle schoolers. The plaintiff taught middle school for six months, but, then she asked for a transfer back to the high school, saying that her talents were “underutilized” at the middle school and that another year there would be bad for her health. The school district informed the plaintiff that there were no openings, but would keep her request on file. Shortly thereafter, the plaintiff retired.

She then sued the school district for age discrimination, disability discrimination, hostile work environment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and breach of contract. Continue reading