Methinks thou doth protest too much! FYI, only ‘reasonable’ opposition is protected

October 24, 2017 - by: Marilyn Moran 0 COMMENTS
Marilyn Moran

It seems that every day the news is full of stories about employees (whether they are NFL players or Hollywood starlets) protesting unfair treatment. Usually, when an employee complains about discrimination, harassment, equal pay, or other work-related topics, he or she is protected from discipline or termination because the conduct is considered “protected activity” under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and a myriad of other federal and state employment laws.  Hand holding protest sign

Under limited circumstances, however, an employee’s protests may cross the line from protected opposition to unprotected disruption. Specifically, an employee who engages in loud, unreasonable, and disruptive protests at work, even though the action is borne out of an attempt to protest alleged unfair treatment or discrimination, isn’t protected by Title VII. Rather, only reasonable opposition and reasonable protests are considered protected activity. read more…

Harvey Weinstein: beauty and the beastly mogul

October 12, 2017 - by: Kristin Starnes Gray 0 COMMENTS
Kristin Starnes Gray

Over the last week, the fallout from a New York Times article regarding Harvey Weinstein has been swift and significant. On October 5, the Times published an explosive story about Hollywood producer and media mogul Weinstein’s alleged sexual harassment spanning decades. More and more women have been coming forward since the story broke to accuse Weinstein of unwelcome sexual advances and sexual assault during his time at Miramax and the Weinstein Company. The Times quoted Weinstein as stating, “I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it. Though I’m trying to do better, I know that I have a long way to go.”  Stop Sexual Harassment red stop sign held by a female

According to the Times, Weinstein has reached settlements with at least eight women over the years, and his former attorney, Lisa Bloom, has described him as “an old dinosaur learning new ways.” The growing list of allegations stands in stark contrast against Weinstein’s public image as a liberal, humanitarian, and champion of women. The Times quoted Ashley Judd as saying, “Women have been talking about Harvey amongst ourselves for a long time, and it’s simply beyond time to have the conversation publicly.”

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Terminating the walking dead employee: What would Negan do?

October 24, 2016 - by: Marilyn Moran 0 COMMENTS
Marilyn Moran

Like many of you, I am still reeling from last night’s brutal season opener of The WalkiBussiness batng Dead. Looking at the episode through the lens of an employment lawyer, a few thoughts came to mind: first, Negan’s managerial style is a tad harsh; second, he could really use some training on positive motivation techniques; and third, I think I can spin a blog post about how to discipline employees from this awful, gory episode! So here are four tips to help you navigate the risky waters of employee discipline, no Lucille required.

Communicate expectations

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#Fired: Post a tweet, lose your job

August 23, 2016 - by: Katie O'Shea 0 COMMENTS
Katie O'Shea

Many people enjoy spouting off what they view as 140-character tidbits of wisdom on the social media platform Twitter. But recently several individuals have found themselves in trouble with their employers (read: former employers) for their tweets or other social media posts.  Tweet

One recent example was a loan officer from Michigan who crafted a racist tweet, not worth repeating here, following First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention. Twitter users saw the tweet and tracked down the home loan company the woman worked for. The result was a flood of tweets directed to the company’s Twitter profile calling their attention to the tweet and asking if the employee’s views represented the company’s values.

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Headline news: Policies, procedures essential tools in fight against sexual harassment

July 12, 2016 - by: Ed Carlstedt 0 COMMENTS
Ed Carlstedt

Last week, former Fox News Anchor Gretchen Carlson slapped Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes with a wrongful termination and sexual harassment lawsuit in New Jersey Superior Court. The lawsuit alleges that Ailes made “sexually charged comments” to Carlson, including comments about her body and requests for what could be considered quid pro quo sex. According to the allegations, Ailes stated that Carlson and he “should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago . . . .”  Sexual harassment in the office

Carlson’s complaint also attributes numerous other sexually charged statements to Ailes, including comments about her legs and posterior and requests that she wear certain clothes to enhance her figure. Carlson claims that, following her rejection of Ailes’ advances, her contract with Fox News was terminated. Ailes claims that Carlson’s allegations are false and that her contract was terminated due to her television show’s poor ratings.

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ABC, Kelly Ripa, Michael Strahan, and lessons on parting ways with key employees

May 17, 2016 - by: Josh Sudbury 6 COMMENTS
Josh Sudbury

What Kelly Ripa lacks in size, she makes up for in attitude. At just 5’3″, the petit daytime talk show star measures but a fraction of the size of her former co-host, Michael Strahan, himself a former New York Giants defensive end and Super Bowl champion. But Ripa’s actions since news broke of Strahan’s planned departure from Live! for a permanent slot on ABC’s Good Morning America show the pint-size starlet is anything but meek. key room

Strahan, in classic defensive end style, reportedly blindsided Ripa and the Live‘s producers with news of his move shortly after the show on April 19. Ripa, who was reportedly shocked and furious with the announcement and its delivery, was conspicuously absent from the show the following few days, allegedly celebrating her and her husband’s wedding anniversary. Despite Ripa’s being all smiles when she returned to the show, guests commented that interactions between her and Strahan were noticeably tense. On air, Ripa also got in some passive aggressive digs at her soon-to-be ex-co-host, making it clear to the viewing public Strahan wasn’t the only one skilled in the art of the sneak attack.

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Exercise Aniston-esque restraint when analyzing offensive employee posts

February 22, 2016 - by: Ed Carlstedt 0 COMMENTS
Ed Carlstedt

by Ed Carlstedt

This week’s employment law lesson comes to us from the movie Horrible Bosses. In the movie, Julia (played by Jennifer Aniston) is a dentist who employs dental assistant Dale (played by Charlie Day). After Julia uses her boss status to torture and torment Dale for most of the movie, Dale finally records her improprieties and delivers to her the following long-overdue payback speech:

This is what’s gonna happen. I’m going to take a two-week-long, very expensive holiday with my fiancée. Let’s call it a honeymoon. And YOU’RE going to pay for it! Then I’m going to return to a nice, rape-free workplace from now on. Because if you so much as LOOK at my sexy little a**, Julia, I will have yours locked the f*** up you CRAZY B**** WH***! Man, that felt GOOD!

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3 tips on firing employees—Les Miles/Mark Richt “silly season” edition

December 01, 2015 - by: Josh Sudbury 0 COMMENTS
Josh Sudbury

With the college football regular season coming to a close, you may have noticed that a different kind of season has begun, a time referred to by authors and sports bloggers alike as “silly season.” The fun (and farce) is typically kicked off by the mid- to late-season rumors that a formerly promising coach of a prominent program will be shown the door as soon as the clock hits zero at the last game. Many times their replacementthe one who will certainly be able to finally take us all the way!is an unproven coordinator from a rival school, an up-and-coming head coach from a lesser conference or division, or even more hilariously, a head coach recently given the boot by another program. Laid off-Head in hand

This year, the biggest rumors surrounded LSU head coach Les Miles, a man with a career winning percentage above 75% at LSU, a national championship, an SEC championship, multiple SEC West division championships, and seven seasons with 10 wins or more. And let’s not forget Les also had a buyout provision in his contract worth a reported $15 million, which allegedly was “not an issue” for the LSU booster club, despite the fact that the university itself is on the verge of bankruptcy. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed after the Tigers took down Texas A&M in Baton Rouge 19-7.

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Haunted by work

November 16, 2015 - by: Matt Gilley 0 COMMENTS
Matt Gilley

This blog’s mission is to be witty, entertaining, and informative. That mission is difficult when the headlines are as sobering as what we’ve seen since last Friday in Paris. Before I launch into this week’s EntertainHR installment, I want to extend my sympathies to and express my solidarity with the people of Paris and, in particular, the lawyers and staff of Capstan Avocats, our French affiliate through Ius Laboris. My thoughts and prayers are with you.   Ghosts at the Office

I have a mindless indulgence—ghost-hunting shows. Maybe it goes back to my childhood days in the Ozarks listening to my family tell stories that had come down from across the generations but, whatever it is, I just can’t get enough of these things. I love watching a group of people wrap themselves in electronic gear, stumble through a purportedly haunted house in the dark, and scare themselves senseless. I eat it up when they manage to catch something—a voice, an image—that actually defies explanation. I once got myself so wrapped up and spooked watching one of these shows that I screamed bloody murder when my wife simply walked in the room. (No, not one of my better moments.)

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Alcoholism and how USC may have violated ADA by firing Steve Sarkisian

October 19, 2015 - by: David Kim 8 COMMENTS
David Kim

On October 12, 2015, Steve Sarkisian was fired as  head coach of the University of Southern California (USC) football team. While USC contends Sarkisian was fired for “cause,” there is no question that his alcohol-related behavior led to his termination. Whether the termination was or was not properly for “cause” is relevant, in part, because it would likely determine whether USC would have to pay the remaining three years of his five-year contract. Whether the termination was lawful under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), or analogous state law statutes alcoholismprohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability, is another question. And due to the high public profiles of the institution and the individual involved, this may be a question that is never entirely answered.

Back in August, video emerged of a clearly intoxicated Sarkisian at a USC pep rally, slurring during his speech and using profanity. The coach publicly apologized, contending that his behavior was the result of mixing alcohol and certain undisclosed medication. While Sarkisian denied having a drinking problem, he contended he would go to “treatment” to seek help. It appears Sarkisian neither sought help nor ceased his alcohol consumption. Reports last week emerged from sources that the coach “showed up lit to meetings again” and was told to leave the premises on Sunday. That same day, it was announced by USC Athletic Director Pat Haden that Sarkisian was asked and had agreed to take an indefinite leave of absence for his condition. On the next day, he was officially fired.

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