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Discrimination is just plain wrong. It is shocking that there is still anywhere in America where it is legal to fire someone for their sexual orientation or gender identity. Americans understand that it’s time to make sure our LGBT friends and family are treated fairly and have the same opportunities as all Americans. Now it’s time for our laws to catch up. People should be judged at work on their ability to do the job, period.

Last week, Senator Merkley together with Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), reintroduced the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). (The same version of ENDA has bipartisan sponsorship in the House as well).

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act currently makes it unlawful for employers to engage in sexual stereotyping. ENDA, which has been introduced in every session of Congress save one since 1994, would expressly prohibit employers from firing, refusing to hire, or discriminating against those employed or seeking employment, on the basis of their perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity.

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Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar. In this case, the Court is being asked to determine what a plaintiff’s burden of proof is for a Title VII retaliation claim.

Is it mixed motive? In other words, is it enough that retaliation motivates an adverse employment action?

Or does a plaintiff have to prove that retaliation was the reason that adverse employment action was taken?

House of RepresentativesLast week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, better known as CISPA. CISPA provides for the sharing of certain cyber threat intelligence and cyber threat information between the intelligence community and cybersecurity entities, and for other purposes.

However, the majority vote was not without a speed bump, according to this report from Josh Wolford at WebProNews:

Colorado Democrat Ed Perlmutter attempted to tack on a provision to CISPA that would make it illegal for employers to require prospective employees to hand over their social media passwords as a condition of acquiring or keeping a job.

Perlmutter’s amendment was voted down 224-189.

Today we have a guest blogger at The Employer Handbook. It’s Noah Kovacs. Noah has over ten years experience in the legal field. He has since retired early and enjoys blogging about small-business law, legal marketing, and everything in between. He recently purchased his first cabin and spends his free time remodeling its kitchen for his family. Twitter: @NoahKovacs

(Want to guest blog at The Employer Handbook? Email me).

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When I first began drafting social media policies and offering social media training for clients, I preached that friending the boss was a bad idea. The lawyer in me was concerned for two reasons: (1) Facebook’s informality would facilitate behavior from a supervisor that a company would not otherwise tolerate in the workplace; (2) if a supervisor knew about, but failed to report, employee actions on Facebook that would violate an anti-harassment policy, the company could lose a valuable discrimination defense.

What do non-lawyers have to say about friending the boss on Facebook? Find out after the jump…

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No way, Heisenberg is gonna be cool with this. Not a chance.

Earlier this month, New Mexico joined Maryland, Illinois, California, Michigan, and Utah, by becoming the sixth state to pass a law, which makes it unlawful for an employer to request or require that a prospective employee fork over a social media password as a condition of gaining employment. However, this New Mexico’s law is unique in that it only covers prospective employees, and not the existing workforce.

Lest anyone get the wrong idea, I am not in favor of employers asking candidates or current employees for social media passwords. Instead, as I’ve noted before, there is no empirical evidence that employers asking for social media passwords is a common practice. Therefore, these laws seek to regulate a “problem” that rarely, if ever, exists.

** picks up phone dorks out in his bluetooth VOIP-compatible headset **

The Employer Handbook: “Nyello.”

Two Weeks Ago: “Hi Handbook. This is “Two Weeks Ago” calling. I wanted to let you know that Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter vetoed the “Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces” Bill, also known as the paid sick leave legislation. I read about that legislation on your blog back in February, and I was wondering when you were going to get around to updating your readers.”

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