EMPLOYMENT LAW

Johns Hopkins provides model for lactation rooms

04/27/2015

The Affordable Care Act requires employers of 50 or more to provide lactation rooms so nursing women can feed their babies or express breast milk. The rooms must be clean and private—and importantly, they can’t be restrooms. Johns Hopkins University and Health System decided not only to meet the law’s requirements, but exceed them. The result is a model that other employers may want to copy.

EEOC loses case based on 'illegal' claims releases

04/27/2015
The EEOC has lost an important test of a novel theory that could have changed how some severance agreements are structured. It wanted to forbid requiring workers to waive the right to sue if they were converted from employees to independent contractors.

Telecommute not always ADA accommodation

04/24/2015
Employers won a major victory April 10 when that court ruled that telecommuting is not always a reasonable accommodation, even for jobs that can mostly be done from home.

Will nonnegotiable starting pay close the gender gap?

04/23/2015

New Reddit interim CEO Ellen Pao—fresh off losing a high-profile sex discrimination lawsuit against her former employer—has announced that on her watch, the user-generated Web news organization will no longer negotiate starting salaries with new hires. The reason: To make the workplace fairer for women.

What constitutes an essential job function?

04/21/2015
Q. I hand a brochure titled “Job Information and Requirements” to each new hire I bring on board to my construction company. With the addition of new positions, I need to draft new brochures with job descriptions, but am having trouble determining the essential job functions. Is there a specific method that I can use to decide whether a job function is essential?

Could we be liable for accidental bias against those or 'associated with' protected groups?

04/21/2015
Q. As a California employer, I realize that I cannot discriminate against employees who belong to protected groups. But what if I mistakenly think that an employee is or is not a member of one of these groups, and accidentally treat him or her in a way that is discriminatory?

Seven hot issues and best practices for California HR managers

04/21/2015
Here are seven hot-button topics that California HR leaders should stay on top of. Practical advice will help you comply with a shifting employment law landscape.

Lawsuit says Handy cleans up at its contractors' expense

04/21/2015
A lawsuit filed in California alleges that Handy, the sharing economy’s version of a cleaning service, is playing dirty with its workers. Like its brethren—Uber, Taskrabbits and others—the company uses independent contractors instead of employees.

No sexual harassment? Then no employer liability

04/21/2015
An appeals court has reversed a quarter-million-dollar punitive-damages award for sexual harassment. The problem: The employee couldn’t prove the alleged harassment was pervasive or frequent enough to constitute a hostile environment.

Piling on disciplinary charges can look like retaliation

04/21/2015
It’s easier for employees to prove retaliation for complaining about discrimination than it is to prove the underlying complaint. When disciplining someone who has complained, make sure each infraction is iron-clad—and don’t pile on additional dubious charges.

Temp assignments should be temporary: Keep looking for permanent accommodations

04/21/2015
Here’s an important reminder for managers handling workers returning from medical leave who may qualify as disabled: Placing workers in a temporary job may be part of an accommodation but that doesn’t end the process.

You don't have to evaluate motive when employee accuses co-workers of same-sex harassment

04/21/2015
Same-sex harassment claims are tough to prove under Title VII. It’s especially hard if the harassment seems more for the purpose of annoying the harassed worker. But that’s not how the California Fair Employment and Housing Act handles same sex harassment, as an employer recently found out.

ADA: Don't rush to scrap essential function

04/21/2015

It’s not always possible to accommodate an employee’s disability. Employers do have to consider possible accommodations that allow a disabled employee to retain his job. However, it is unreasonable to expect the employer to entirely eliminate an essential job function.

Proposed wellness rules balance ADA, HIPAA

04/21/2015
The EEOC has issued proposed rules explaining how employers can legally administer wellness programs under the ADA and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

House, Senate bills would short-circuit NLRB 'ambush' elections

04/20/2015
On the day new National Labor Relations Board rules took effect, dramatically speeding up the union election process, members of both houses of Congress introduced legislation to slow it back down.
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