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Employment Law

Stamp out racially hostile environment

It can be difficult for HR to keep track of every liability threat. You might never learn that a rogue supervisor is harassing subordinates. Without constant vigilance, it’s easy for a racially hostile work environment to fester.

Beware diversity goals that cause reverse bias

Employers are eager to recruit talent from every background, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion or other protected characteristics. And they’re launching organization-wide initiatives to achieve their diversity goals. But sometimes, diversity initiatives can backfire, triggering lawsuits that allege reverse discrimination against majority-group members who perceive they’re missing out on opportunities for which they are qualified.

3 federal agencies team up to stop retaliation

The U.S. Department of Labor, the EEOC and the National Labor Relations Board are responsible for enforcing most federal anti-discrimination laws affecting workers and the workplace. Concerned with an increase in the number of employee lawsuits accusing employers of retaliation, those three agencies have joined forces to raise awareness about the problem.

Heed FMLA rules during weeks before Christmas, New Year’s Day

Dec. 24 and 31, while usually not official work holidays, fall on Fridays this year. To stretch it to a long holiday weekend and in recognition of employees’ hard work during trying times, many employers will close on these days. Other employers traditionally close during the holiday week. The Department of Labor warns that such closures can complicate your calculations of employees’ FMLA leave entitlements.

EEOC casts a skeptical eye on the use of AI in hiring

Employers considering adding or expanding use of artificial intelligence programs to screen job applicants, take note: The EEOC has announced a new initiative to examine the use of AI in hiring.

Train executives on FLSA classification rules

Plaintiffs’ lawyers love to file lawsuits alleging an employee was improperly classified as a manager under the Fair Labor Standards Act. That’s because just one misclassification mistake can force employers to pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars in back pay and penalties. Avoid that fate by training everyone with the authority to set job duties, schedules and pay how to properly classify workers as either exempt or hourly.

EEOC: Customer preference irrelevant in hiring

When the Supreme Court ruled in 2020 that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the EEOC began filing a series of lawsuits, like this one.

Survey: Most employers conduct pay equity reviews

Nearly three in five employers—58%—voluntarily conduct pay equity reviews to identify possible pay differences between employees performing similar work, according to new research by the Society for Human Resource Management.

Firing during FMLA leave? Prove FMLA wasn’t reason

Employees cannot be fired for taking FMLA leave. If you must terminate someone who has taken FMLA leave, be prepared to show it had nothing to do with their leave-taking. Do that by contemporaneously documenting what led to the termination and when you made the decision to fire.

Document ADA requests to prove good faith

The ADA requires a disabled employee and her employer to have an interactive conversation to determine whether it’s possible to accommodate the disability and, if so, how. If the employee doesn’t participate in the interactive process, she won’t be able to sue successfully over a denied accommodation. That’s why it’s essential to document every interaction once you suspect an employee might be disabled.