Stress at work: defining the line between motivation and an abusive workplace

July 17, 2016 - by: Celeste Duke 0 COMMENTS

by Celeste Duke

In the movie Glengarry Glen Ross, Blake is a trainer sent by corporate to motivate a sales team. In addition to offering helpful gems like the acronym ABC to remind the salesmen that they should “always be closing,” he repeatedly berates them and calls them names while bragging about his own success. He tells the team about a new sales competition that week: First place gets a Cadillac, second place gets a set of steak knives, and third place gets fired.  Woman overloaded with stuff at work

We hope you have never had a boss like Blake, but it’s likely that you recognize shades of his character in past managers, coworkers, or even a current manager in your organization. You want managers to push employees to do good work and get the best results for the company, but it can be hard to know how far is too far. During his “motivational” speech, Blake asks one salesman, “You think this is abuse?” As it turns out, it just might be, and this could be a new frontier in employee claims.

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EEOC issues new guidance on leave of absence and ADA accommodations

by Paige Hoster Good

On May 9, 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a new guidance document addressing the intersection of employer-provided leave of absence and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This document doesn’t create any new EEOC agency policy or propose any new law. Rather, it consolidates current guidance on the ADA, employer leave policies, reasonable accommodations, the interactive process, undue hardship, and other relevant subtopics.  EEOC-jpg

It appears the motivation behind this document stems from the overall rise in disability-related charges of discrimination filed with the EEOC, which increased over six percent from fiscal year 2014 to 2015. Moreover, recent charges received by the EEOC indicate employers may not know they should consider modification of leave policies as a reasonable accommodation of an employee’s disability.

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EEOC issues bathroom guidelines for transgender employees

At the epicenter of life, death, and work: 4 tough questions for employers after Dallas

by Michael P. Maslanka

Dallas has been my home for 32 years. Currently, I live and work downtown. The murders of the five Dallas police officers took place just a few blocks from my home. Neighbors in my building heard the firefight as it unfolded. I am a law professor, and three of my students are police officers. I have thought of them a lot lately.  Dallas at dusk

The public-policy issues on race, guns, and violence are being debated and discussed everywhere from the dinner table to the classroom to legislative arenas. Those issues permeate our workplaces as well. Like the Venn diagrams we learned in high school, which use overlapping circles to show relations between different items, the issues overlap—not by a little, but by a lot. Here are some questions HR, company leaders, and anyone else who is grappling with these issues should ask.

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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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Need workers? First lady touts talents of veterans and military spouses

June 19, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

As July 4 approaches, many employers are anxious to declare a holiday so their employees can enjoy the nation’s birthday festivities. But when the fireworks are over, they may be looking to hire the kind of talent so often celebrated on Independence Dayveterans and military spouses.  Smiling young businessman shaking hands with a soldier

Many employers have come to appreciate the diversity of experience that people with military ties can bring to a business. And first lady Michelle Obama, along with Dr. Jill Biden, Vice President Joe Biden’s wife, hope their Joining Forces initiative helps even more employers bring on veterans and military spouses.

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Biased bias: when protected classifications intersect

by Connor Beatty

If your company regularly interviews and hires qualified female applicants for all available positions, you may think the company is in a strong position to defend against gender discrimination lawsuits filed by rejected applicants. Similarly, if your company refrains from asking applicants about their age and interviews and hires applicants who happen to be older, you should be able to defend against an age discrimination claim, right? Not so fast.  Bias

Two recent studies found that older female applicants are less likely to be offered a job than older male applicants. What are the legal ramifications of the studies’ findings for employers? If an employee cannot prove that she was discriminated against because of her membership in a protected class, can she nevertheless argue that she was discriminated against because of her membership in a set of protected classes?

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When worlds collide: religious freedom laws and LGBT protections

by Brent E. Siler

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Constitution prohibits states from banning gay marriage last year, many people who oppose same-sex marriage for religious reasons began worrying that the newly recognized constitutional right to gay marriage would conflict with their right to religious freedom. As a result, several state legislatures have enacted “religious freedom laws,” which generally provide statutory protections for people who refuse to act contrary to their deeply held religious beliefs. Religious freedom laws in North Carolina, Georgia, Indiana, and Mississippi have caused controversy in recent months, with proponents of these laws arguing that they are necessary to protect religious freedom and opponents arguing that these laws are legalized discrimination. Unfortunately, the conflict between religious freedom laws and the ever-expanding recognition of gay rights is far from over and will almost certainly spill into the workplace and create difficulties for employers.  Editing Erasing the First Amendment to U.S. Constitution

Tenets of religious freedom laws

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U.S. women’s soccer team’s EEOC charge spotlights wage discrimination issues

by Amy Steketee Fox

Pay equity issues have attracted significant attention recently in political debates, state legislatures, and courtrooms. The latest venue for the conversation: the fields dominated by the U.S. women’s soccer team. In late March, five prominent members of the team filed a wage discrimination complaint against their employer, the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF), with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The women are seeking to be paid the same wages as their male counterparts.   Women during a soccer match at sunset

In the complaint, the women allege that the USSF pays male players nearly four times more despite the fact that the women’s team generated nearly $20 million more in revenue than the men’s team in 2015. The allegations can proceed under two separate laws: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act (EPA). Both laws prohibit wage discrimination based on sex. Although the USSF will likely provide non-sex-based explanations for the wage differential (including the fact that players’ pay is collectively bargained), it is too early to make a reasonable projection about either side’s chances of success.

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EEOC aids national strategy to protect workers with HIV/AIDS

by Natalie B. Virden

In 2010, the White House issued a National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States (NHAS). One step identified in the NHAS is to reduce stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been utilizing its enforcement and litigation functions in recent years in an attempt to eradicate employment discrimination based on HIV status. In fiscal year 2014, the EEOC resolved almost 200 charges of discrimination based on HIV status and obtained more than $825,000 for job applicants and employees with HIV/AIDS who were unlawfully denied employment and reasonable accommodations. AIDS Awareness Ribbon

For example, in one recent case, the EEOC alleged that an employer withdrew a conditional employment offer after the applicant submitted a health status certification that revealed he is HIV-positive but also stated that he was cleared to work. In settling the case, the EEOC received $75,000 for the rejected applicant. In another case, the EEOC sued an employer for terminating an employee after he disclosed that he is HIV-positive. To settle the case, the employer agreed to pay the employee $125,000 and admit that his continued employment after he became HIV-positive was not a health threat.

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