“Presents” of Mind for the Holidays: Six Q&As on Sensible Workplace Gift Giving

’Tis the season of generosity, random acts of kindness, and selfless gifts. But not all gifts are well received—or positively perceived. In the employment law context, where compliance and best practice remain the watchwords, presents exchanged by colleagues, however well-intentioned, must still pass muster under law and corporate policy.

1 More Hour of Sleep but 4 More Wage and Hour Problems as Daylight Saving Time Ends

On Sunday, November 4, 2018, at 2:00 a.m., daylight saving time will end. This World War I–era practice of turning back the clock one hour in the fall became a federal law in the United States when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Uniform Time Act in 1966. The jury is still out on whether “falling back” is beneficial. Claims that it helps to conserve energy are dubious. Most people probably don’t get an extra hour of sleep that night. And, the time change doesn’t actually increase the number of hours of sunlight per day. However, it does present a good opportunity for employers to examine their timekeeping practices with regard to nonexempt employees.

Sharing an Employee’s EEOC Charge With Other Employees May Violate the ADA

The right to communicate with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is protected by federal law. In fact, the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan identifies “preserving access to the legal system” as one of its six enforcement priorities. Recently, one employer learned that a letter from its in-house attorney to its workforce may be viewed as violating federal law by chilling employees’ willingness to file discrimination claims.

Company’s Reaction to Claim of Unequal Pay Provides Lessons for Employers

Complaints of unequal pay should not be taken lightly, and certainly should not be met with an immediate adverse employment action. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently reinstated a female office worker’s equal pay retaliation claim that had been dismissed by a federal district court, and is allowing that case to move forward to a jury.

What the DOJ/FTC’s Recent “Antitrust Guidance for Human Resource Professionals” Means for Employers

On October 20, 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) jointly issued a publication entitled “Antitrust Guidance for Human Resource Professionals” which, according to the opening paragraphs, is “intended to alert human resource (HR) professionals and others involved in hiring and compensation decisions to potential violations of the antitrust laws.”

September Surprise? Two Federal Lawsuits Attack the Validity of the New FLSA Overtime Rule

The effective date for the revisions to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) overtime regulations is less than 80 days away, and employers continue to struggle with the challenges created by changes to the existing rule. On September 20, 2016, two disparate groups filed two federal court lawsuits, both attempting to put off or halt the implementation of the revisions. 

B.U.G. O.F.F.! Six Tips for Dealing With Zika Questions and Concerns

As of August 24, 2016, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there were 2,517 cases of Zika virus in the United States, 29 of which were “[l]ocally acquired mosquito-borne cases” (all 29 of those were in Florida), and the remainder of which are travel associated. The CDC also reported 9,011 cases of the virus in U.S. Territories; of those, 8,968 were locally acquired, and the remaining 43 were labeled as travel associated.

Is Proposed Legislation Likely To Slow Implementation of The New Overtime Regulations? Probably Not.

On May 18, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced the publication of its final rule updating its existing overtime regulations. The updated regulations are scheduled to become effective on December 1 of this year and are predicted to extend overtime pay protections to over 4 million workers within the first year of implementation.

EEOC has Defined “Ability to Interact With Others” as a Major Life Activity, Making Social Anxiety Disorder a Disability Under the ADA

An employee who was fired after asking to be reassigned to a role with less direct personal interaction as an accommodation for her social anxiety disorder has been allowed by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to take her case to a jury. Jacobs v. N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts, No. 13-2212 (March 12, 2015).

Ebola Outbreak Prompts HHS Bulletin on Application of HIPAA During Emergencies

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the HIPAA Privacy Rule establishes nationwide standards “to protect individuals’ medical records and other personal health information and applies…..

Ebola in Retail Establishments? How to Prepare

News sources recently reported that one of the Dallas nurses infected with the Ebola virus visited a retail establishment before boarding a plane from Cleveland to Dallas. Since then, retailers and customers have been concerned about Ebola in the retail environment. In addition to issues concerning customers’ fears of contraction, Ebola…..

Fifth Circuit Finds Restriction of Job Responsibilities May Constitute Adverse Employment Action Under Title VII

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it unlawful for an employer to fail to hire or to discharge an individual or otherwise discriminate against such individual “with respect to his [or her] compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment” because of a protected characteristic, including race. To…..

When Titans Clash: California Whistleblower Protections Trump Law on Review of Internal Hospital Staff Privilege Procedures

Health care employers face myriad challenges in complying with numerous laws—with physician hospital staff privileges and whistleblower issues not least among them. On the privileges side, a well-developed body of law provides rigid requirements on both sides of the employer-hospital relationship. On the whistleblower side, claims continue to expand and…..

Light Duty Policy Limited to Work-Related Injuries Could Support Claim for Pregnancy Discrimination

In an unpublished opinion, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently sided with an employee in a pregnancy discrimination case. In Latowski v. Northwoods Nursing Center, No. 12-2408 (December 23, 2013), the court reversing the lower court’s dismissal of the claim, found that the employer’s “no accommodation for non-work-related injuries”…..

Should Employers Test Applicants’ Integrity? The EEOC Discusses “Integrity Testing”

Employers often associate a lack of integrity with counterproductive workplace behaviors, including theft and workplace violence. As a result, employers may be tempted to subject employees and applicants to so-called integrity tests. According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, “integrity testing” is a “specific type of personality test designed…..