Practical Questions for Employers Following the Bostock Decision, Part 2: Dress Codes and Grooming Standards

On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, holding that, pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, covered employers may not discriminate against applicants or employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. In part one of this series, we discussed the holding’s implications for sex-segregated facilities in the employment context. This article discusses the holding’s implications for dress codes and grooming standards.

‘But-For’ Causation Under Bostock

The recent Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia decision, in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that an employer that fires an individual for being gay or transgender violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, has received a tremendous amount of attention. The Court’s decision has broad implications for employers and their employment counsel. Justice Neil Gorsuch’s majority opinion devotes much space to a discussion of the “but-for” causation standard.

Retail FAQs During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Retail employers are facing challenges unique to their workforces due to the spread of COVID-19. Retailers must keep abreast of federal laws such as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, in addition to guidance from federal agencies on these new laws. Below are answers to the most frequently asked questions perplexing retailers confronting issues such as health and safety, unions and employee relations, and employee benefits.

Top 10 Employer Mistakes to Avoid During the COVID-19 Crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic has sent employers into a frenzy as they try to stay abreast of new developments and do everything they can to protect their employees. As a result, many employers are getting creative. While working with the best of intentions, these employers may be creating legal issues that can negatively impact their organizations and the employees they are trying to protect. Here is a top 10 list of employer mistakes to avoid during the COVID-19 crisis.

Federal Court in North Carolina Tackles Associational Discrimination Claim Brought by Teacher With Disabled Son

On February 26, 2020, in the case of Schmitz v. Alamance-Burlington Board of Education, the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss claims for associational discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), retaliation under the ADA, and wrongful termination in violation of public policy. In the opinion and order, the court paved the way for the plaintiff to pursue associational discrimination claims.

Federal Court in North Carolina Rules Regarding Reasonable Accommodations

On February 24, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina issued an opinion in Brown v. Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. regarding disability discrimination, reasonable accommodations, and retaliation involving an employee who was unable to return to work following expiration of Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave. The case offers employers some guidance regarding the undue hardship analysis at a micro and macro level, ensuring compliance with the interactive process, and the best practice for handling requests for finite leave when the possibility of additional future leave is evident.

A New Valentine’s Day Conundrum for Employers: Could Emoji Messages Amount to Harassment in the #MeToo Era?

It’s Valentine’s Day yet again, but this year the climate is different for employers. Between the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, and the near-daily collapse of famous and powerful men (and some women) due to allegations of sexual harassment, employers are on high alert for any sign that sexual misconduct could be going on underneath their noses. While the holiday season usually brings the most challenges for human resources professionals trying to ensure holiday parties do not get out of hand and religious accommodation issues are properly handled, another holiday causes heartburn for many: Valentine’s Day.

Keeping the Scrooge Out of Seasonal Hiring: 6 Tips for Retailers

November and December account for a substantial portion of retail sales—up to 30 percent of annual sales for some businesses. And while there are reports that this holiday shopping season has been delayed due to the presidential election, sales are still expected to top last year’s. A survey conducted by the National Retail Federation predicts that retailers will hire almost 700,000 seasonal workers to meet their needs this holiday season.

Transgender Issues in the Workplace: Navigating a Changing Legal Landscape

Legislation prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity is popping up all around the country. From California’s Senate Bill 703 prohibiting state agencies from entering into certain contracts with contractors that discriminate between employees on the basis of gender identity in the provision of benefits, to the proliferation of cities and counties with nondiscrimination ordinances that protect transgender employees, more employers may be facing gender identity issues in the near future.

Three Tips on Avoiding Summer Internship Headaches

Spring is here and retailers across the country are considering hiring summer interns in areas such as finance, communications, marketing, merchandising, production, and public relations.   Internships serve a valuable training role for students interested in retail careers, and they provide an important recruiting vehicle for retailers. According to the National Retail Federation, retailers in the United States hired approximately 9,400 college students for internships and filled more than 2,000 full-time jobs with 2014 graduates last summer.