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horseshoes and hand grenades And here I thought close only counted in the first two…

Who knew that close enough is good enough under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) when meeting the 1,250-hour eligibility requirement? Apparently, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in this recent decision. I’ll break it down and provide some related FMLA best practices after the jump…

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In Mann v. Staples, Inc., a female employee received unwelcome comments about her appearance and physique, was kissed and groped, and called a “skank ass bitch.” The New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, described this as a “pattern of systemic sexual harassment” — one in which the alleged harasser appeared to have never received any anti-harassment training.

So, what did the court do? It affirmed summary judgment for the employer and dismissed the plaintiff’s Complaint.

What?!?

Find out why, after the jump…

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I just re-read yesterday’s blog drivel. What the hell was that?!? As much as I do love the two great tastes that taste great together, that was an utter FAIL and I vow never to incorporate Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups into a blog post again. Unless, of course: (a) a makeshift Peanut Butter Cup bra is prominently featured in a reported sexual harassment case; or (b) Hershey’s wants to discuss some strategic product placement on The Employer Handbook. What can I say? YOLO and even this blogger has his price.

[Editor’s note: I was determined to work YOLO into this blog post. Be nice. Although, my blogging chops are generally sharp, I’m about three months behind on the lingo.]

Focus, Eric. Short blog post. You can handle haiku.

Arrgh! I cannot believe that Haiku-themed blog post, 17 syllables, would require readers to click through past the jump. Ah, whatever. Click through and someone call my editor…

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Reese's!After seeing Fatboy Slim perform in a bubble at the Olympics Closing Ceremony, I had trouble falling asleep last night. 

I tossed. I turned. But, I eventually drifted off into a deep sleep; a wonderful slumber. I dreamt that the Third Circuit Court of Appeals decided two cases under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and then I blogged about them in a single blog post. Like peanut butter and chocolate, it was the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup of blog posts.

What a sweet, decadent dream. Or was it a dream? Find out after the jump… 

[Hint: no dream, no chocolate, just two FLSA decisions (one of which I’ll blog about tomorrow, because I ramble a bit after the jump, much like I’m droning on now). Maybe this is all just an excuse to play Katy Perry. Yeah, this all makes sense. About as much as having Russell Brand sing “I am the Walrus” from on top of a psychedelic VW bus in front of a worldwide audience of millions. Just jump.]

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Yesterday, I came across this article from Meghan Casserly on Forbes.com, which discusses the benefits that Google provides its employees and their families. One of my favorite bloggers in the HR/employment-law space, Mark Toth, lives by the mantra that companies that really love their employees are the best places to work. Well, then, look out Disney World, because Google must be the happiest place on earth!!!

Find out just how great it is after the jump…

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Weird School BusTammy Rosebrough was born without a left hand. In September 2007, she applied for a cook position at Buckeye Valley North High School. However, due to a shortage of bus drivers, the school encouraged Rosebrough to become a bus driver. Rosebrough accepted.

Rosebrough claimed that, during her training, her trainer made discriminatory comments to her about her disability on two separate occasions. Rosebrough reported the comments and was informed that her concerns would be addressed.

Later, during her training, Rosebrough was informed that she would need a commerical driver’s license (CDL). She scheduled a CDL test with the State, but later cancelled when her trainer was unavailable to take her to the test. Over the next several months, Rosebrough contacted several other testing centers and school districts but learned she could only be trained by the school district that ultimately hired her. Rosebrough never contacted Buckeye Valley again to return and finish her training.

A federal court described Charles “Chuck” Wolfe, a crew superintendent in of an all-male construction crew, as a “world-class trash talker” and a “master of vulgarity.” One of the members of Wolfe’s crew was Kerry Woods, a straight male. Woods claimed that his supervisor, Wolfe another straight man, had engaged in unlawful “same sex” harassment, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, by referring to him in “raw homophobic epithets and lewd gestures.”

A jury heard Woods’s claims and awarded him nearly $500,000. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard the employer’s appeal, threw out the jury award, and dismissed the complaint (in this opinion).

 

 

Why? Find out after the jump…

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As you know from this post, an employee who wants leave from work under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), does not need to use the word, “FMLA.” Instead, the employee need only provide enough information for the employer to understand that the employee needs FMLA leave.

So what about the words, “Emergency Room”? That is, if an employee calls her supervisor and says:

“I am currently in the emergency room. My mother has been brought into the hospital via ambulance, and I am unable to work today.”

Can that trigger an FMLA request? Find out after the jump…

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Inconsistent discipline is bad. But, when an employee’s request for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act precedes the inconsistent discipline by only 48 hours,  damn, that’s not just a lawsuit, that’s jury-verdict material.

The details on this bloodbath and a few lessons for my employer-readers after the jump…

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“Doing What’s Right – Not Just What’s Legal”