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Employment Law

War puts national origin bias in the spotlight

After 9/11, workplace harassment of Muslims increased in the United States. During COVID, the EEOC reported a spike in discrimination against workers of Asian descent. Now legal experts are warning that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is causing some Russian-American employees in this country—and even simply employees with Eastern European accents—to be harassed and discriminated against based on their national origin.

Workers can’t sign away their rights to overtime

A California home care agency was ordered last month to pay $315,000 in unpaid overtime to 158 workers. The owner unlawfully required hourly workers to sign an agreement to be paid straight time for each pay period.

Jury finds discrimination, but awards no damages

It always pays to document poor performance in detail and contemporaneously. If you ultimately need to terminate the employee, you will have the backup you need to justify your decision, even if the employee claims that you somehow discriminated against him.

Disabled new hire? Prepare to grant time off

If a new employee reveals what may be a disability and asks for time off, you have to consider that request as you would any other request for a reasonable accommodation. That’s true even if the request comes shortly after you make the job offer.

Accommodate covid-related disabilities

Now that the pandemic seems to be loosening its grip and something resembling pre-covid life begins to take shape, your organization may be considering bringing more workers back into an office setting. Some employees will welcome the move. Others, however, may seek disability accommodations for the first time. Here’s how to handle covid-related requests for reasonable accommodations.

House votes down federal protection for ethnic hairstyles

The House of Representatives failed to pass a bill that would have made it unlawful to discharge or fail to hire someone “based on the individual’s hair texture or hairstyle, if that hair texture or that hairstyle is commonly associated with a particular race or national origin.”

DOL issues resources to arm whistleblowers alleging retaliation

The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has launched a series of online publications designed to “uphold the rights of workers to identify violations of the law without fear of termination or other threats to their reputation, safety or livelihood.”

Beware hybrid bias suits citing 2 protected statuses

The EEOC doesn’t just rely on following Title VII’s enumerated protected classes. It’s increasingly filing lawsuits that combine allegations of discrimination on the basis of more than one protected class.

Yes, covid-19 may qualify as an ADA disability

Generally, a short-lived illness isn’t considered an ADA disability.  But now a federal court has ruled that an employee with covid-19 rather than the common flu may be covered by the ADA. That means firing him for missing work instead of reasonably accommodating the absence violates the ADA.

Biden signs bill banning forced arbitration of harassment claims

The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021 is now the law of the land. The bill, which took effect immediately when President Biden signed it March 3, makes it illegal to require employees to arbitrate sexual harassment claims.