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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Dealing with mental disabilities in the workplace

by Jonathan Mook

These days, the news is filled with stories of returning veterans who suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other mental impairments and have problems adjusting to civilian life at home and in the workplace. The issues employers face when dealing with veterans and other employees with mental disorders were put on display by a Virginia case in which an Army veteran who suffers from PTSD sued his employer after he was fired for threatening to harm or kill other employees. The court’s decision provides helpful lessons about handling employees with mental disorders, especially when employees have legal protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)PTSD word cloud with abstract background

Background

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Policing the profiler: Ageist stereotypes exposed

by Robert Kaiser

There is a common belief in the marketplace that it’s harder to find a job if you are over 50. However, it’s difficult to establish whether that’s true, and there are many advantages to hiring a mature employee. But a recent case decided by the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota employers) highlights that certain stereotypes about older workers may persist.  Dont be ageist

Hiring process looks a little shady

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Managing an injured employee

by Al Vreeland

Few things create more headaches in the HR suite than an employee who is injured on the job and then resists returning to work. HR’s headaches are usually centered at the intersection of state workers’ compensation laws, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). A federal judge in Birmingham dispensed a little relief for one employer’s headache, finding it had done all it could to help an injured employee return to workor at least all it was required to do.  Help! I Fell at Work

The basics

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Interactions with Asperger’s: Discrimination, wrongful discharge claims go to trial

Soon after an employee provided his employer with information about his Asperger’s syndrome, it informed him that his contract wouldn’t be renewed because “Your Asperger’s got in the way of your ability to interact with your boss, and we are tired of it.” Afterward, the employee brought claims of wrongful termination and discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The employer attempted to persuade the court that even if all the evidence he presented was true, the employee would still be unable to prevail at trial. Let’s see how things turned out.  You Are Fired

Background

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Nonreligious observance may require religious accommodation

by Maggie LeBato and H. Mark Adams

Both federal and state laws prohibit employers from discriminating against employees because of their religion. The courts have further ruled that the prohibition against religious discrimination requires you to accommodate your employees’ sincerely held religious beliefs unless it would cause undue hardship to your business. You might assume, then, that for an employee to prove religious discrimination, she would have to demonstrate both the sincerity of her belief and that the belief is actually “religious” in nature. According to a recent decision from the 5th Circuit in New Orleans, however, that isn’t necessarily the case. Church

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Supreme Court rules against Abercrombie & Fitch in headscarf lawsuit

by Charles S. Plumb

On Monday, June 1, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and against Abercrombie & Fitch Stores Inc. in a religious discrimination lawsuit involving a Muslim job applicant at its Tulsa store. In some ways, the Supreme Court’s decision may have the unintended result of causing some employers to ask applicants and employees about their religious beliefs or trigger unfortunate workplace stereotyping.  middle eastern college girl

Religious discrimination

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Adverse employment action because of accent is illegal

by Joseph Cooper

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids discrimination on the basis of national origin in any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, and job assignments. Because an employee’s accent or language skills are often associated with her national origin, employment decisions based on those characteristics are scrutinized closely by courts and administrative tribunals. A recent decision from the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights (RICHR) illustrates that point.  Time for a conversation

Teacher wants to take English classes

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