• The HR Specialist - Print Newsletter
  • HR Specialist: Employment Law
  • The HR Weekly


Retaliation case equals $22 million price tag

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration ruled that Wells Fargo violated the whistleblower protection provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act for improperly terminating a Chicago area-based senior manager in the company’s commercial banking segment.

DOL awards back pay to hotel employee fired for reporting tip-related allegation

When a hotel employee complained about the franchise operator’s pay practices, she was fired two days later. But the story didn’t end there.

Here’s what happens when your managers don’t follow your written call-out policies

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, an employer can insist that employees comply with the company’s “usual and customary” absentee notice procedures. Often those call-out procedures are part of written leave and attendance policies. But, as one company found out the hard way, “usual and customary” absentee notice can transcend formal policies and procedures when managers bend the rules.

SHRM lawsuit puts spotlight on evaluations

The best way to defend against a surprise discrimination lawsuit is to conduct accurate, regular reviews that assess a worker’s performance using as many objective standards as possible. Those evaluations then serve to back up any disciplinary action you take, even if the employee files an internal bias complaint and follows up with a lawsuit claiming subsequent discipline amounted to retaliation.

Warn bosses about adverse action after bias complaint

Once an employee’s discrimination lawsuit gets to court, anything can happen. In fact, it’s common for employees to lose on their initial discrimination or harassment claims but still win an associated retaliation claim. That’s why you must train managers that any adverse action—even as minor as a schedule change—can be interpreted as retaliation if it comes after an employee has complained about bias or harassment

NLRB flexes muscle with reinstatement order

The National Labor Relations Board, which enforces the National Labor Relations Act, is aggressively pursuing reinstatement as a remedy when it finds an employer has committed an unfair labor practice. That means more employers these days may have to take back workers they already fired. Ordering an employee’s reinstatement is an unusual step, but it could become more common.

Snapshot: Retaliation nation

The number of EEOC complaints alleging retaliation has increased by almost 20 percentage points in 10 years.

Abide by all OSHA rules regarding sick, tired drivers

OSHA enforces the whistleblower protections written into the Surface Transportation Assistance Act. The law says drivers who file OSHA complaints alleging employer violations of safety rules may be entitled to damages. Recently, OSHA ordered damages for drivers who reported being forced to drive while sick or tired.

EEOC charges drop again, sink to 24-year low

EEOC discrimination charges fell again in fiscal year 2021, continuing a 10-year decline. With 61,331 charges filed, FY 2021 saw about 6,000 fewer complaints alleging some form of bias, retaliation or harassment than in FY 2020.

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.”