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Discrimination / Harassment

FLSA, religious bias cases on docket this fall

The U.S. Supreme Court returns for its new term in October and already has scheduled two cases affecting employers. One will address whether employers can ever pay a daily rate to an employee classified as exempt. The other will clarify whether an employer’s religious views can exempt it from state and federal nondiscrimination laws.

Don’t make this $10 million vaccine mistake

First, the bad news: An employer recently agreed to pay $10 million to a group of employees who refused to be vaccinated against covid-19 for religious reasons. The good news: The same fate won’t befall your organization if you follow some simple steps that balance religious objections against business and organizational needs.

Monkeypox could lead to bias, harassment complaints

While virologists and the general public are quickly learning how the monkeypox virus is transmitted, some employment lawyers are gearing up for the possibility of discrimination and harassment claims stemming from the virus’s link to sexual activity between gay and bisexual men.

Accommodating religion: 6 commandments for managers

The increasing religious diversity in the workforce is causing more managers to make legal mistakes. And a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision may cause confusion about where managers can draw the line on religion and prayer in the workplace.

Don’t fly solo on settlements! Call your lawyer

It may be tempting to offer a disgruntled employee a quick cash settlement in exchange for her signature on a liability release. But beware: If the release isn’t properly executed, the employee might be able to sue anyway.

Accommodate teenage workers’ disabilities, too

One of the EEOC’s primary enforcement priorities is protecting teen workers from harassment and discrimination. Employers that tolerate abuse of younger employees can expect an EEOC lawsuit that is likely to result in an expensive judgment or settlement.

Investigate all harassment complaints ASAP

Act fast as soon as you learn an employee has complained about harassment. If you don’t, you may lose the only defense your organization has.

Abortion discrimination is still illegal pregnancy bias

As controversial and divisive of an issue as abortion is (perhaps now more than ever), the law is clear that an employer cannot fire an employee for having one. Nothing the Supreme Court did in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization changes this.

You can’t discriminate based on type of citizenship

Employers cannot discriminate against citizens, legal immigrants and others with valid work visas on the basis of their national origin. The EEOC has made it clear that the type of citizenship an applicant holds can’t be used as a reason not to hire. That, too, would amount to national-origin discrimination.

Court: Faith allows skipping preferred pronouns

A worker whose gender identity differs from that assigned at birth can insist on being addressed by his or her preferred pronouns. At the same time, a co-worker whose sincerely held religious beliefs reject the concept of transgenderism might object on religious grounds to having to use those preferred pronouns.