Friday, February 17, 2017

WIRTW #449 (the “do-over” edition)

Whether you are left or right, blue or red, liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, it’s hard to argue that the first 28 days of POTUS 45 have been anything other than a dumpster fire. It culminated over the past 48 hours with Trump’s bizarre press conference, and withdrawal of his nominee for Labor Secretary, Andy Puzder.

And then Trump did something amazing. He nominated someone eminently qualified to run the Department of Labor. Alexander Acosta will become the next Secretary of Labor. What do you need to know about Secretary-to-be Acosta?

  • He served a well regarded term on the National Labor Relations Board from from 2002 to 2003.
  • He is a former Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, where, among other acts, he defended the civil rights of American Muslims.
  • He is a former Supreme Court clerk and former U.S. Attorney
  • He is currently a law school dean.
  • Once confirmed, he will become the first Hispanic-American member of Trump’s cabinet, bringing some much needed diversity to the table.

Mr. Acosta should sail through the confirmation process. 

Bravo, President Trump. You and I have had a rough four weeks. This decision, however, is exemplary. Can you please make more decisions like this one?

Here’s what I read this week:

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Andy Puzder, Trump’s pick for Secretary of Labor, withdraws

Late yesterday, news broke that Andy Puzder, Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of Labor, had withdrawn his name from consideration, just one day before his oft-postponed confirmation hearing was to take place.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The 4th nominee for the “worst employer of 2017” is … the callous non-accommodator

Originally from Ukraine, Michael was born without arms as a result of birth defects resulting from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. He rides a modified bike designed specifically for him and his disability. He is extraordinarily inspirational.

He is also now unemployed.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine’s Day at work

I am a Valentine’s Day scrooge. Yet, for someone who goes out of his way to avoid this forced and commercialized celebration of love, I’ve sure written about it a lot over the years. So, for today’s post, let’s take a jaunt back through the February 14(ish) archives, to examine the intersection of V-Day and the workplace.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Will new EEOC Chair usher in sweeping changes?

With a change in administrations comes a change at the head of various federal agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The agency’s new chairperson, Victoria Lipnic, an EEOC Commissioner since 2010, is a Trump appointed Chairperson. So, with an eventual Republican-majority EEOC, will she undo the pro-employee policies of the Obama Democratic majority EEOC of the past eight years?

Friday, February 10, 2017

WIRTW #448 (the “promo” edition)

On February 22, I will be co-presenting a free CLE-eligible webinar for LexisNexis, entitled, “Employment Law: Five Areas to Watch in 2017.” The webinar runs from 2 - 3:35 pm EST.

My topics are LGBT discrimination claims and NLRB for non-union companies. I will also chime in on the other three topics (wage-and-hour, FMLA, and cyber security). It promises be be an excellent event.

Did I mention it’s free? Registration is open and available here.

Here’s what I read this week:

Thursday, February 9, 2017

“It’s not fair”

Watch this, and then let’s talk about the word fair.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Is your company protected from insider cyber threats?

I’ve previously suggested that your employees are your company’s weakest link, and therefore, your greatest threat to suffering a cyber-attack and resulting data breach. While employee negligence (that is, employees not knowing or understanding how their actions risk your company’s data security) remains the biggest cyber risk, another is growing and also demands your attention—the malicious insider.

Dark Reading reports on a recent survey, entitled, “Monetizing the Insider: The Growing Symbiosis of Insiders and the Dark Web.”

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

How to defend *not* granting leave as a reasonable accommodation

Medical leaves of absence continue to confound employers. Under the ADA, an employer must consider an unpaid leave as a reasonable accommodation. An unpaid leave of some limited duration, however, will be reasonable in most cases.

When is an employer free to deny an employee’s request for a leave as an ADA accommodation? Let’s examine Williams v. AT&T Mobility Services (6th Cir. 1/27/17) for an answer.

Monday, February 6, 2017

The 3rd nominee for the “worst employer of 2017” is … the direct discriminator

Our next nominee for the Worst Employer of 2017 is the defendant in Mayes v. WinCo Holdings (9th Cir. 2/3/17) [pdf]—WinCo, a Bosie, Idaho, supermarket chain.

The plaintiff, Katie Mayes, a night-shift supervisor, was fired for taking a stale cake from the store bakery to share with fellow employees after management allegedly gave her permission to do so. That, however, is not what earned WinCo the nomination. Instead, it’s what the court found Mayes’s direct supervisor expressed about her (yes, her) belief about a woman running the night-shift:

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