Diversity and inclusion director gets a little inclusion

August 20, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by Michelle Lee Flores

The California Court of Appeal threw a solitary bone to Toyota’s director of diversity and inclusion when it reversed a trial court’s dismissal of his sexual orientation discrimination claim. The court of appeal held that the former employee had provided sufficient evidence that a senior manager’s perception that he was “too gay” was a substantial motivating factor for his termination. However, his evidence of sex or gender stereotyping didn’t support, and therefore didn’t save, his retaliation and wrongful discharge claims, both of which were dismissed by the trial court without going to the jury.  Justice is served

Diversity and inclusion director feels excluded

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Be careful what you say: Employee’s name-calling lands him in hot water

July 16, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by Franck G. Wobst

An Ohio Court of Appeals recently ruled that a city’s civil service commission acted within its rights when it suspended a city employee for 45 days for jokingly calling an African-American coworker “Black Buck” and “Big Black Buck.” Shhh!

Facts

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Disability bias verdict provides 4.5M reasons to check your policies

June 18, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by Jeffrey D. Slanker

A recent case from Central Florida highlights the importance of maintaining and properly implementing updated and compliant equal employment opportunity and antidiscrimination policies. The case involved disability discrimination claims, and a jury ultimately found in favor of the employee and rendered a $4.5 million verdict. The case is a reminder of the importance of complying with employment discrimination laws and the need to take extra caution when determining whether a termination is justified. Manager Giving Performance Review

Facts

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‘Man up’: Sex discrimination claim goes to trial based on supervisor’s comments

August 14, 2016 0 COMMENTS

by Stephen W. Jones

The 8th Circuit recently reversed an Arkansas federal district court’s decision to dismiss a store manager’s sex discrimination claims. The appellate court indicated that a trial must be held to determine whether a district manager who allegedly made certain sexist comments to the store manager was a decision maker and, if so, whether the district manager’s comments could be direct evidence of discriminatory animus.  Big boss yelling to her employee with megaphone on fire

Background

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

January 17, 2016 0 COMMENTS

by Emily Bensinger EdmundsProtest against racism

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 discrimination.

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Dealing with mental disabilities in the workplace

November 15, 2015 0 COMMENTS

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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Managing an injured employee

September 20, 2015 1 COMMENTS

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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Sign of the times: Jill Abramson, the New York Times, and pay equity

November 16, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Mark I. Schickman

The New York Times is the second largest newspaper in America, with about two million papers sold each day. It’s also the liberal beacon of American journalism, with solid-gold progressive credentials. Still, it took the paper 160 years to hire Jill Abramson as its first female executive editor in 2011.  Pay Inequality

In May, Abramson made the surprise announcement that she was leaving that post. Neither she nor the Times expanded on that announcement, except to say that she would be replaced by Dean Baquet, the first African American to take the position. Applying the usual termination formula, neither employer nor employee would discuss the matter, hoping the issue would pass with little comment. You would think the New York Times would be able to manage the news. Not so.

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Active duty military employees are on leave, not inactive

September 14, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Jane PfeifleMilitaryLeave

An employer’s failure to include a deployed servicemember on a list of employees when it sold its assets may be a violation of the benefit provisions of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).

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The perils of firing an older, long-tenured worker

July 20, 2014 1 COMMENTS

by Jonathan C. Sterling

Q We have an employee over age 65 who has been a manager for over 40 years and has excellent evaluations in his file. Recently we have learned that his department is possibly committing fraud in their documentation of paperwork.FiredOlderWorker He doesn’t abide by company policy, doesn’t meet deadlines, and has been written up one time for sexual harassment. Can we terminate him without fearing a wrongful termination lawsuit?

A The fact is, there is often nothing you can do to avoid a wrongful termination claim. The real question is whether the termination is defensible in a legal proceeding. It sounds like you have legitimate nondiscriminatory reasons that justify the employee’s termination. Make sure you have meaningfully investigated each of his transgressions and the results are well documented. It is equally important that you treat the employee the same way you treat other workers who engage in similar misconduct. If other employees in the department engaged in the same conduct, they should be subject to the same punishment. If you have done those things, you should have a solid defense to a lawsuit.

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