Archive | Employment Law

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

By on April 24, 2019

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits covered employers from discriminating against workers on the basis of sex. These days, everyone understands that.  A critical question for several years has been whether discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity is a form of sex discrimination prohibited under Title VII. […]

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Duty of Care to Family and Third Parties

By on December 19, 2018

The Virginia Supreme Court significantly extended the duty of care an employer owes beyond employees to any family members, or even third parties, who may be affected by the employer’s action.  The issue in this case involved asbestos, but the ruling easily could apply to other situations as well.  In a 4 to 3 decision, […]

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Verification of FMLA Leave

By on November 20, 2018

When an employee takes medical leave, treatment by a healthcare provider is often assumed, and the frequency of doctor’s visits is rarely scrutinized.  However, in evaluating FMLA leave entitlements, verifying the dates of medical treatment can be worth the trouble.  Here is a good example. The employee in question was a military veteran who suffered […]

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Individualized Hiring Assessments and the EEOC

By on October 18, 2018

In a well-publicized enforcement agreement, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has reaffirmed its belief in the importance of following its enforcement guidance on the use of applicant criminal background checks.  The EEOC announced a substantial settlement agreement with a large retailer resolving allegations of race discrimination.  According to the allegations, applicants had job applications […]

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A New Issue With Cannabis and Drug Testing

By on October 3, 2018

A federal court in Connecticut held that the refusal to hire a medical marijuana user because she tested positive on a pre-employment drug test violated state law.  Before you wonder why should you care about Connecticut state law, read on. The plaintiff had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.  She took one capsule of a […]

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A Second Reason for Performance Evaluations

By on September 19, 2018

Performance evaluations provide feedback to employees and identify opportunities for improvement. However, the importance of those reviews does not end at a termination. If the employment relationship has soured, performance reviews may serve an additional, important purpose. After a termination, it is not uncommon for an employee to claim that the termination was unlawful. This […]

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DOL Issues Sextet of Opinion Letters

By on August 29, 2018

On August 28, 2018, the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the Department of Labor (DOL) issued six opinion letters on a variety of topics under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). While three of those letters deal with more esoteric topics, here are summaries of the three […]

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Troubles with Smartphones

By on August 15, 2018

With the frequent presence of smartphones in the workplace, a new problem for employers is on the rise:  employees recording conversations with managers.  This can be powerful evidence in a subsequent charge or lawsuit. Most states on the East Coast and in the South are “one-party” states, meaning only one party needs to know of […]

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Termination Upon Return From Protected Leave

On July 31, 2018

A federal appeals court recently found that an employer’s decision to terminate an employee the day she returned from maternity leave was not discriminatory.  During her leave, the employer discovered both substantive deficiencies in the employee’s performance and falsifications in her employment application to the company.  The appeals court concluded that the timing of the […]

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