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Discrimination / Harassment

Employers beware: Supreme Court could make it easier to sue for discrimination

The U.S. Supreme Court recently held oral arguments in an employment law case that may make it much easier for employees to sue their employers. If a majority of the justices agree with an employee who claims her transfer was motivated by her employer’s discriminatory policies, the decision may also open the way for more lawsuits contesting employers’ diversity, equity and inclusion programs.

Think creatively about how to comply with PUMP Act milk-expression requirements

Many employers still struggle with how to provide the required breast-milk expression breaks required by the year-old Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act. PUMP Act compliance is especially challenging in unusual work environments. However, a recent lawsuit settlement involving an airline addresses best practices employers can adopt even in difficult circumstances.

Use blind résumé screening process to reduce liability for discrimination in hiring

Every applicant you ever rejected could decide to sue for some form of discrimination. Make that less likely by using a blind screening process to sort through applications and résumés.

Post-Groff, a perfect illustration of religious accommodation

If you’re going to claim an undue hardship to deny an employees’ religious accommodation request, you best have your Groff v. DeJoy ducks in a row … and by ducks, I mean empirical evidence of actual costs that substantially and negatively affect your entire business.

Holiday party triggers sexual hijinks? Beware harassment afterward

Workplace romances or plain old carnal excess can have an adverse effect on the morale of other employees. For example, what happens when co-workers report out-of-control holiday hijinks to management? And what if the co-workers caught in flagrante delicto exact revenge on the tattletales? It just might amount to illegal retaliation.

When high-level harassment erupts, act fast to prevent even worse legal trouble

Here’s a cautionary tale that offers an inevitable lesson: When a supervisor’s harassment spills out into the greater workplace, the claims will grow exponentially.

Avoid repeating Apple’s surprising $25 million discrimination mistake

The EEOC handled 5,500 complaints about national-origin discrimination in fiscal year 2022, the lowest number on record. Take that as a sign that employers have largely succeeded in stamping out bias based on where an applicant or employee comes from. But the federal government is still vigorously litigating national-origin claims it does uncover, going after employers that treat applicants or employees unfavorably because they are from a particular country or part of the world.

Psst, have you heard…? The answer should probably be ‘no’

What is it about confidentiality that rubs some employers the wrong way? Earlier this year, we were treated to the story of an employer-provided “priest” brought in to hear employees’ “confessions.” Now we have the case of an employer using its employee assistance program to violate an employee’s privacy.

Holiday scheduling: How to keep the peace

Federal law says you must make a reasonable effort to accommodate employees’ “sincere” religious beliefs, including trying to give them time off for religious observances. The best way to minimize scheduling disputes, especially around religious holidays, and avoid legal trouble is through a few smart preventative measures.

Be more alert than ever for anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim bias

The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas has brought the Israeli-Palestinian conflict front and center into our lives and, as a result, also into our workplaces. You can’t stop employees from talking about current events, especially when those events are so horrific and so impactful on so many of us. The key for employers is to make sure those discussions remain calm and respectful.