Tag Archive | harassment

Retail Giant Faces Tough Questions About Employee “Look Policy”

EmploymentLawNewsletterHeaderClick here to see the recent update from Wilson Worley PC on the EEOC case involving the extent of an employer’s ability to set dress codes or “physical appearance” policies. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule this summer.

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Text messages at work lol

I was in a court proceeding recently involving a termination. The proof consisted of numerous text messages between the employee and a manager. It struck me as we sorted through the electronic discussion just how much communication occurs in the job setting via text message.

It is a good idea to review your employment policies to make sure that they contemplate all the different types of electronic communication that are being used in your workplace.  Do you specify how an employee must give notice about attendance or request time off? Odds are, you have some employees requesting time off via text. If you require a more formal means, you’d best spell it out in your policy.  Do you have a communications tree for getting information disseminated? If so, it is likely that text messages will go to cell phones rather than phone calls to home land lines. Does your harassment policy make clear that harassment can occur via text messages (not to mention photos and videos sent via text)?

You get the picture. This is definitely an area of communications that has changed profoundly in the last decade. Make sure your policies have changed with the times.

Executive Order Protecting LBGT Federal Employees and Federal Contractor Workers

The White House announced some time ago that President Obama would sign an executive order that prohibits discrimination against gay and transgender workers who work for the federal government, its contracting agencies, and federal contractors. That order become official today.

Several state and local governments have already adopted similar protections. Estimates are that the federal changes will affect nearly twenty-five thousand companies and touch approximately twenty percent of all workers in the U.S.  The signing comes after the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, commonly referred to as ENDA, again failed to move forward in the U.S. House.

The signing served to amend prior executive orders that prohibited  discrimination against federal workers and federal contract workers on the basis of race, nationality, gender, and religion. The DOL is tasked with enforcement.

 

Civil Rights Act Anniversary

IMG_6162Restrictions against discrimination, both federal and state, have become an unquestioned part of the landscape for human resources. With very few exceptions, employers cannot discriminate on the basis of several protected classes.

This week we marked the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. While not the first civil rights legislation, the Act was sweeping in its scope and significance when President Johnson signed it into law on July 2, 1964. The Act made discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin illegal in the workplace and places of public accommodation.

What has become commonplace and expected for recent generations of workers was a landmark achievement in United States history.

ENDA Being Pursued Again

IMG_6162The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is proposed federal legislation to prohibit discrimination in hiring and employment decisions on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity by businesses with 15 or more employees.

The bill prohibits preferential treatment and quotas but does not permit disparate impact suits. It also exempts religious organizations and the military. ENDA has been introduced in the United States Congress on numerous occasions since 1994.

The Senate voted 64 to 32 to pass  the most recent version.  ENDA is unlikely to pass the House.

Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas

U.S. Supreme CourtIn 1954, the United States Supreme Court released its unanimous opinion that found laws in several states requiring separate but equal educational institutions for African-Americans and whites violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.  Chief Justice Earl Warren framed the question as “the constitutionality of segregation in public education,” saying, “[w]e have now announced that such segregation is a denial of the equal protection of the laws.”  The Court ruled on cases from four states but the practice occurred in many more.

While the opinion did not have an immediate impact on the workplace, it was a precursor to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.

Transgender protection and Retaliation through job offer

Wilson Worley employment attorney Sam Booher discusses two recent employment law developments:   (1) A recent EEOC release states that transgender individuals are protected from discrimination under Title VII; (2) A recent federal circuit court decision finds that making a job offer contingent on withdrawal of an EEOC charge of discrimination is unlawful retaliation.  For the complete discussion in the newsletter, follow this link to the Wilson Worley website.