What Supreme Court’s split decision on immigration reform means for employers

by Jacob M. Monty

President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration were not upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. Some of your employees are probably disappointed and unsure of how to move forward. The disappointment they are experiencing and displaying doesn’t mean they are undocumented workers, and you shouldn’t assume they are. Here are some insights for employers in the wake of the Court’s recent decision.  Supreme Court

Background on DACA+ and DAPA

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ADA and USERRA: Duty owed to employees who fight for country

by Brinton M. Wilkins

Society has long understood that war can exact a heavy psychological toll on the soldiers, marines, sailors, airmen, and coast guardsmen who serve in the military. During WWI, servicemembers came home with shell shock. The psychological difficulties military men and women face have been diagnosed as “combat stress reaction,” “combat fatigue,” and “battle neurosis.” Since the 1980s, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been the prevalent diagnosis.  Soldiers in the Field

The psychological handicaps suffered by servicemembers are real, and given the sacrifices they have made, federal law protects veterans who enter the civilian workforce. Some of those protections, such as confidentiality for medical information, apply to all employees, whether or not they have served in the military. But others, such as those set forth in the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), are unique. Read on to see how one employee, if nothing else, reminded his employer of the unique duties owed to the employees who fight for our country.

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4th Circuit ruling favors transgender student

by Rachael Luzietti

After the Norfolk federal district court refused to order the Gloucester County School Board to grant the student’s request, he appealed to the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Virginia employers). Recently, the appeals court reversed the district court’s decision and issued a ruling favorable to the student.  Transgender Sign

A recap of the lawsuit

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The wrong way to diversify a workforce

by Lynn M. Mueller

According to the 8th Circuit, three officials of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department who were seeking a diverse workforce violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when they rejected a white male sergeant in favor of a black female sergeant for a transfer to an equivalent position with materially different working conditions.  Discrimination underlined with red marker

Assistant academy director job opens up

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Muslim teacher may proceed with national origin harassment claim

by Emily Hobbs-Wright

A Turkish-born Muslim teacher claimed that her school had a culture of racial and ethnic hostility. The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose decisions apply to Colorado employers) recently ruled that her complaints of national origin discrimination may move forward. This case offers several lessons on how to handle cultural differences in the workplace.  Cute lovely school children at classroom having education activi

Principal made and allowed insensitive comments

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Not funny: mocking coworker’s spouse’s religion

by Zachary D. Morahan

The New York Supreme Court Appellate Division, 2nd Department, recently issued an important decision in which it held that an employer faced liability under the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) for allowing employees to mock the religious beliefs of a coworker’s spouse. This case has important ramifications for both public and private-sector employers.  Not Amused

Background

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Handling harassment: What constitutes a hostile work environment?

by Joanna Vilos

Employees sometimes complain about undesired or harassing conduct that does not rise to the level of a hostile work environment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. A decision from a Wyoming federal court reveals which steps employers can take to avoid liability and how employers can defend themselves from an employee’s allegations.  Manager putting his hand on the shoulder of his secretary

Hostile work environment claims

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Employees who posed for photo as KKK members lose race bias case

by Emily Bensinger Edmunds

It should go without saying that dressing up as a Ku Klux Klan (KKK) member in modified work clothing at work is unacceptable conduct in the eyes of any employer. As this case from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania shows, three employees who were fired after being photographed dressed in KKK garb couldn’t prevail on a theory of reverse race discriminationProtest against racism

Background

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Passing on disabled candidates for safety reasons is risky business

by Erica E. Flores

Election season can bring out the best and worst in our nation. The important issues that should be the focus sometimes take a backseat to headline-grabbing one-liners. But true leaders emerge at some point in nearly every campaign. It remains to be seen which of this cycle’s large group of presidential contenders will have such a moment, but we can learn a lot from leaders of the past as we wait for it.  Caution Fork-lift trucks operating sign

On March 4, 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated as the 32nd president of the United States. After taking the oath of office, he delivered his inaugural address. Speaking to a nation in the grip of the Great Depression, he famously told the American people that the only thing they had to fear was fear itself—”nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” Eighty-two years later, Roosevelt’s words still ring true in many contexts, including the modern workplace.

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Policies designed to protect employees may do more harm than good

by Jeremy M. Brenner

The law prohibits discrimination against employees and applicants based on a number of protected statuses. Employers often implement policies that are intended to benefit workers but actually cause illegal systemic discrimination. Unfortunately, no matter how genuine an employer’s good intentions are, they typically do not excuse it from discriminatory conduct. Read on to learn some of the pitfalls employers face when implementing seemingly neutral — or even beneficial — workplace policies.   Folder with the label Policies

Facts

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