More eagerly anticipated that the premiere of Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, yesterday, the EEOC released its new proposed rules on wellness programs.

Although, based on the Paul Blart reviews, hemorrhoids too may be more eagerly anticipated. No strikethrough on the last sentence. Weird.

But, if you want to have an employee wellness program that complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act, here are five things the EEOC wants you to do…  Continue reading

Geez! What’s gotten into me this week? Even by The Employer Handbook editorial standards, which are lower than Title VII’s religious accommodation undue hardship test.

[I’ll be here all week. Sorry.]

First, a 1000+ word blog post on ADA telework, followed by two cheeky posts on bad interview questions and the FMLA. So, naturally, this builds up to a Thursday post about oral.

As I resist every urge to cheapen this further by resorting to silly puns and other double entendre, allow me to set the stage for you: Continue reading

This one goes out to all of you employees who are contemplating a claim against a former employer for violating the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Read this federal court opinion and make a mental note: when you voluntarily work from home, that’s not “leave” under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Yep, when you choose to work from home, and tell your employer that you are working from home that makes Ford Motor Company angry, you wouldn’t like it when Ford gets angry, your employer doesn’t need to offer you FMLA, or let you know that you qualify for FMLA. Continue reading

Kinda like this, but different.

According to a recent survey from CareerBuilder.com, 1 out of 5 employers failed to read my 2011 blog post about interview questions to avoid, have asked a question in a job interview only to find out later that it was illegal to ask.

Indeed, the poll indicates that only 1 in 3 hiring managers recognized that questions, such as the ones listed below, should be off-limits:

  • What is your religious affiliation?
  • Are you pregnant?
  • What is your race, color or ethnicity?
  • How old are you?
  • Are you disabled?

Whether you’re in the 20% listed above, the 1 in 3 below that, or just need a refresher on hiring inquiries that are off limits, check out my post, “What would Kenny Powers do? Interview questions to avoid.”

If you’re in a rush, I’ll hit you with the punchline and save you the trouble of reading 1,000+ words of blog post:

Telecommuting may be a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, except where regular attendance is an essential function of the job.

For those of you with a few minutes to spare, today’s post springs from a case, a saga really, involving the the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Ford Motor Company. And since I have a few good employer takeaways at the end — hey, don’t skip all the way through! — today’s post is worth the time. Continue reading

Exactly one month ago, I addressed what many consider to be the elephant in the room when it comes to transgender employees: bathroom use.

On Wednesday, EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum fired off a series of tweets (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) to lawyers representing employers and employees. Below (and here) is the one she sent to my side of the bar:

By extension, this tweet is intended for companies as well.

The tweet links to an article from Buzzfeed’s Chris Geidner. Mr. Geidner addresses a recent EEOC decision which underscores the risks employers face when they play bathroom police for transgender employees:

In a decision dated April 1, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found that Tamara Lusardi “was subjected to disparate treatment on the basis of sex” — a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — while working as a civilian employee at the Army’s Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Lusardi was forced to use a single-user restroom and not the women’s restroom after transitioning in 2010. On the occasions when she used the women’s restroom — when the single-user restroom was out of order or being cleaned — she was confronted by a supervisor. In addition, a supervisor repeatedly, and in front of other employees, referred to Lusardi by her former male name and with male pronouns.

While the EEOC’s decision involves a federal employer, and does not bind private employers, don’t think for a second that the EEOC would hesitate to pursue similar claims in the private sector. Indeed, it has. We’ve also seen a sex discrimination lawsuit by a former Sak’s transgender employee. That case settled.

As I noted in my prior transgender bathroom post, this issue is real. Employers need to educate their employees and train their managers that respect in the workplace extends to transgender employees too.

Let’s start this post off with a disclaimer:

People! I’m just a man; not a god.

I’m going to address travel time under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Many of you folks live in crazy states, like New York and its crappy basketball team, which is even worse than the Sixers. I didn’t know that was possible, that have more lenient state versions of the Act. I’m not giving any advice about state laws or local laws. Heck, I’m not giving any legal advice at all. The blog’s general disclaimer applies with equal force to this post.

Now, let’s get to it… Continue reading

Where do I find these cases, you ask? Well, I sold my soul, and a stack of Billy Ripken baseball cards, to the devil a long time ago. I ain’t telling.

But seriously, this case isn’t so much about the particular facts…

  • White employee tosses banana peels at work
  • Black employees complain of racism
  • Investigation ensues
  • White employee is forced to resign

…as it is about making sure that all involved know why an employee is being fired, and can articulate those reasons consistently. Continue reading

Oh, that collective sigh of relief of not receiving a daily email update yesterday from The Employer Handbook. (Yes, you can sign up to receive daily email alerts to my blog).

Folks, I’m sorry. Monday, I was a deadbeat; I didn’t pay my MailChimp bill. So, if you rely upon email to receive my daily blog posts, you missed out Monday on what was probably the post of the year definitely the post of the day.

But, today, I’m all paid up and back in MailChimp’s good graces. They even sent me a my own personal mailchimp. I named him Buddy.

Now where did I put my pills?

Ok, moving on… Continue reading

Happy Monday, everyone.

Glad to see I didn’t break some of your content filters on Friday with my filthy NLRB post. But, hey, just another day in the interesting life of an employment lawyer / HR professional, amirite?

Today, I bring you a very simple lesson, courtesy of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, from right here in my backyard. That lesson is this:

When you terminate an employee, do not write “Health Reasons” on the employee’s termination form. Continue reading