Sleep deprivation: Know whether it’s a performance problem or a disability

January 14, 2018 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Employers striving for a diverse workforce take care not to discriminate against employees with a disability, but hidden disabilities can be tricky. Supervisors might think they’re dealing with performance problems when they really should be considering whether an employee has a disability protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Tired woman in the office

Sleep deprivationwhich the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) deems a public health problemcan pose such a dilemma. Workers in every field can suffer from a lack of sleep for any number of reasons, but shift workers are particularly susceptible. The summary of a study the CDC published in March 2017 says the duration and quality of sleep has “a direct effect on worker health and safety.”

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Is there harm in asking? Questioning employees about their plans to retire

Can they do that? Firing employees for off-duty conduct

by T. Harold Pinkley

Participating in last year’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia—an event that involved several groups usually identified as the “alt-right,” along with groups protesting the marchers—has proven to have unforeseen and unintended consequences, including job loss, for some of the people involved. This article examines how you can or should respond when you learn your employees have been involved in controversial public conduct.  protest design - lots of furious people (demonstrations)

Employees feel the backlash

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DOJ reverses course on Title VII protections for transgender persons

by Angela N. Johnson

On October 4, 2017, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memorandum announcing the U.S. Justice Department’s (DOJ) new stance that transgender employees aren’t protected from discrimination under federal law. The announcement reflects a reversal from the Obama administration’s interpretation of the law and runs counter to federal court decisions and other federal agencies’ interpretations.  Vector modern transgender flag background

Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination

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Discrimination against breastfeeding employee leads to jury verdict

by Rozlyn Fulgoni-Britton

With the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), federal law required employers with more than 50 employees to provide breastfeeding employees a private location, other than a toilet stall, where they can express breastmilk in privacya. And, of course, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) has prohibited discrimination “on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions” since 1978. Despite those laws, court cases explaining employers’ duties to accommodate breastfeeding employees have been few and far between. In Hicks v. City of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals provided guidance about employers’ responsibilities to breastfeeding employees.   ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Facts

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HR’s work not over when harassment investigation ends

December 17, 2017 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

As more and more people are coming forward with claims of sexual harassment in the workplace, employers have rightly focused on making internal investigations thorough and effective. But the work doesn’t end when the investigation is wrapped up. In fact, it may be just beginning, according to an attorney and a human resources expert who urge employers to dig deep into any lingering issues that may harm the work environment.  Person's Hand Stopping Dominos Falling On Desk

It’s not enough to just determine what, if any, harassment has taken place and who’s responsible, since technical violations or nonviolations of an employer’s antiharassment policy don’t tell the whole story, attorney Mary L. Topliff and HR consultant Marianne Jones say. The two conducted a Business and Legal Resources webinar in 2012 titled “After the Investigation: HR’s Action Plan for Workforce Recovery and Refocus” that teaches lessons for today’s employers who find themselves working to undo damage left in the wake of allegations and investigations.

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Cure and punishment

by Mark I. Schickman

In all of the attention recently given to Harvey Weinstein and his ilk, the focus has been on personalities and far too little of it on the systemic problem of ubiquitous sexual harassment. The discussion has been centered on punishment, with far too little said about the cure.  Stop Sexual Harassment red stop sign held by a female

Weinstein himself presents a plain and straightforward case of sexual harassment—a double dose of quid pro quo and hostile environment harassment directed against people who work for him. Miramax claims “shock and . . . utter surprise” at the sexual harassment allegations against him—hard enough to believe. But the legal test is whether Miramax knew or should have known of sexual harassment in its workplace, and it loses under that test. As serious an individual issue as this is for Weinstein, it’s also a bigger failing for the corporate employer that let it happen.

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Language, inclusion, and diversity in the workplace

by Lauren E.M. Russell

Employees’ use of a language other than English in the workplace presents many considerations in the employment law context. An individual’s language is tightly tied with race and national origin, which are protected categories under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and many states’ anti-discrimination laws. On the other hand, customers and other employees may feel unwelcome when they are excluded from conversations. And even worse, they may overhear unprofessional comments when your employees wrongly assume that customers don’t understand the language being spoken.  Hello speech bubbles.

Balancing these considerations can be difficult, but when discussions in a language other than English are legitimately disruptive to the workplace, they should be addressed.

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What EEOC’s recent lawsuit over parental leave means for employers

by Jessica A.H. Howell

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a federal agency that administers and enforces civil rights laws when individuals claim workplace discrimination. Recently, the EEOC filed suit against a cosmetics company for implementing and administering parental leave benefits in a discriminatory manner based on sex. The lawsuit is the first of its kind, but it likely won’t be the last. To ensure compliance with federal law and avoid legal challenges, review your parental leave policies and tread carefully when implementing new policies.  Parents want to spend time with baby

EEOC sues Estée Lauder

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Oklahoma jury awards transgender worker $1.165 million in bias suit

by Charlie Plumb

The courts, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) hold differing views on whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or sexual identity. Nevertheless, on November 20, an Oklahoma City federal court jury awarded a transgender employee $1,165,000 on her discrimination and retaliation claims.    Vector modern transgender flag background

Professor Tudor’s claims

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