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Employment Discrimination Report Discussions on Recent Legislation, Noteworthy Cases & Trends in Enforcement

Category Archives: Employee Termination

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Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, But Firing Someone For It Is Illegal To Do

Posted in Employee Termination, General Employment Discrimination

Marriage is tough.  And with the divorce rate in the United States hovering around fifty percent, unless you work in a monastery, there are likely divorced individuals in your workplace.  This week, the New Jersey Supreme Court clarified that the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination’s protections for marital status protect those who are separated, in… Continue Reading

For Whom The FMLA Tolls: Second Circuit Holds HR Director May Be Individually Liable Under The FMLA

Posted in Employee Termination, Family Medical Leave Act, Leave Laws

My colleagues will often joke of my mildly-paranoid nature when giving legal advice.  Although not an untrue assessment, such paranoia is not unfounded, and decisions such as the Second Circuit’s decision several days ago in Graziadio v. Culinary Institute of America, No. 15-888-cv (2d Cir. Mar. 17, 2016) reaffirm for me that a healthy level of… Continue Reading

Trial by Fire: Trial Periods for Prospective Employees

Posted in Employee Hiring, Employee Termination

As most employers are acutely aware, additional employee protections, prohibitions, and, most importantly, costs continue to pile on to the employer community every year, particularly in New York City (among other jurisdictions).  In addition, this trend shows no sign of abating given the current legislative environment.  As a consequence, thoroughly vetting prospective employees has become more critical than ever… Continue Reading

Flu Shot Refusal Issues Flare Up as Flu Season Beckons

Posted in Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Employee Termination

Last week, the calendar officially turned to winter.  While the weather has been uncharacteristically balmy in the Northeast, soon temperatures will plunge and cold and flu season will arrive.  In New Jersey, two employees who were terminated from their jobs after declining work-issued immunizations have brought suit claiming that the termination was nothing more than… Continue Reading

Employees Under The Influence: Disabled But Not Unfireable [UPDATED WITH NEW DEVELOPMENTS]

Posted in Disability Discrimination, Employee Termination

Update:  Back in October, we brought you the story of Former USC Football Coach Steve Sarkisian and how the USC Administration handled alleged instances of  Sarkisian drinking on the job.  Sarkisian has filed suit in California State Court, claiming that, inter alia, he was terminated on the basis of his disability (alcoholism) .  He further… Continue Reading

NLRB’s “Refined” Joint-Employer Test: Beware the Outsourced Employee

Posted in Employee Hiring, Employee Termination

In a highly anticipated decision, the NLRB today departed from three decades of an accepted standard for joint employment status and issued a new test that makes it far more likely that, even if a company does not directly employ an individual, it may be liable for employment torts and other encumbrances. (See Browning-Ferris Industries, 362… Continue Reading

Come Join Me for the Webinar “Drafting Severance and Confidentiality Agreements Amid New EEOC, NLRB and Now SEC Scrutiny”

Posted in Employee Termination, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

I am pleased to be a co-presenter at this webinar on September 9, 2015.  The EEOC and NLRB have been challenging severance provisions that they feel may stop an employee or former employee from cooperating with a charge filed with the agency.  The SEC also has recently been asking companies to provide copies of their… Continue Reading

Potential Liability From Your Long Forgotten Vacation/PTO Policy

Posted in Employee Termination, General Employment Matters, Sick Leave

Often employers will neglect or overlook revising their vacation and/or paid time off (PTO) policies, which are buried in the employee handbook that was last revised a half-dozen years ago. For many, this is a big mistake. Depending on your jurisdiction, a poorly drafted vacation/PTO policy can carry significant potential liability. If a company’s vacation/PTO… Continue Reading

How Much Money Do You Make?

Posted in Employee Termination, Equal Pay, General Employment Discrimination

This will soon be a question Connecticut employees may ask each other without repercussions.  Connecticut legislators have passed H.B. 6850 which makes it illegal for employees to prohibit their employees from discussing their wages.  The bill will be signed by the Governor as he was the one who urged lawmakers to pass the bill in… Continue Reading

No Workplace Relief for Keyboard Tough Guys in USSC Decision

Posted in Employee Hiring, Employee Termination, Harassment

Did you ever have an employee in your workplace defend inappropriate remarks by becoming an armchair constitutional scholar and citing the First Amendment to justify the right to make  comments?  Next time that happens, kindly remind your John Marshall In Residence that the First Amendment only protects them from government action, not discipline in the… Continue Reading

Be Careful of Not So Random Random Drug Tests

Posted in Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Employee Hiring, Employee Termination, General Employment Matters

A judge in California has ruled that a fired black supervisor can proceed with claims of racial discrimination based solely on a comment that he was driving a “pimpmobile” and the fact that he was randomly selected for drug testing three times in a nine-month period while a white supervisor was never selected for drug… Continue Reading

Hey Boss, Stop Harassing Me

Posted in Employee Termination, Sexual Harassment, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Generally, if an employee is going to complain of harassment by a supervisor, in my experience, the complaint is raised to another person, such as another manager or Human Resources.  A lot of employees simply do not feel comfortable having that conversation with their bosses. Of course, if an employee does have that conversation with his… Continue Reading

Faruqi Sexual Harassment Case Is Still a Cautionary Tale

Posted in Employee Termination, Harassment, New York City Human Rights Law, Sexual Harassment

Lawyers, and I suspect a good deal of employers, watched the Marchuk v. Faruqi & Faruqi case with a great deal of interest.  The allegations after all were quite scandalous — namely that Juan Monteverde, one of Faruqi’s high profile partners, had sexually harassed Marchuk and raped her.  Some of the interest may have been… Continue Reading

$185 Million Punitive Damages Against AutoZone: How Did They Get There?

Posted in Employee Termination, Gender Discrimination, Retaliation

Whew. Let’s just take a moment for that to sink in.  As we reported on Monday, $185 Million in punitive damages were awarded Monday against AutoZone.  This was after the jury awarded $872,000 in compensatory damages on Friday. You are probably asking yourselves how in the world this happened.  I have to say, based on some… Continue Reading

Do Accused Harassers Have a Right to Be Heard?

Posted in Employee Termination, Harassment

Today, I read an interesting opinion piece in The Boston Globe about how a sexual harassment policy nearly ruined Patrick Witt’s (the former quarterback for Yale University) life. Witt, who is now a law student at Harvard University wrote an op-ed criticizing Harvard University Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment Policy. The article raises interesting questions about… Continue Reading

Fired Pregnant Employee Offered Job Back After Our Blog Post!

Posted in Employee Termination, Pregnancy Discrimination

Boy, do we have clout or do we have clout! Just two days after we posted about a NYT article which reported that an employee with a high-risk pregnancy was fired because her doctor refused to let her work overtime, the NYT reports today that the employer said it was all just an “unfortunate misunderstanding” — and that… Continue Reading

Onionhead Religion at Root of EEOC’s Latest Complaint

Posted in Employee Termination, Religious Discrimination, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

The online news is abuzz with discussions about the EEOC’s latest lawsuit against United Health Program Services based in Syosset, New York.  According to the complaint, United Health forced its employees to engage in various activities such as holding hands, praying, burning candles and telling co-workers “I love you.” I must admit that I had never… Continue Reading

Here’s Your Check, Now Don’t Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out

Posted in Employee Termination

We received some interesting reader comments from our April 15th post Tired of That Unmotivated Employee?  Pay Them to Quit. Most people who wrote back thought the idea was a good one: Rod Brown, Employer Advocate at AskRodBrown.HR noted “Hard costs and benefits aside, what I like about the strategy is that employees must decide whether… Continue Reading

EEOC Settles Retaliation Suit filed On Behalf of Plant Manager who Terminated Harasser for $75,000

Posted in Employee Termination, Retaliation, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

The EEOC has announced that it has reached a settlement with Winfield Rubber of Alabama to resolve claims filed by a manager who responded to a complaint of harassment.  Now, admittedly, we only have the press release to go on, but if these facts are true, we hope even the greenest of HR professionals would… Continue Reading

Loose Lips Sink Ships — and Settlements

Posted in Age Discrimination, Employee Termination, Employment Litigation

A man in Florida is learning the hard way that this old adage is true.  Patrick Snay, the ex-headmaster of Gulliver Schools Inc. settled an age discrimination and retaliation suit he brought when his contract was not renewed.  The settlement agreement contained a rather standard confidentiality agreement that prohibited the disclosure of the existence or… Continue Reading