Friday, February 23, 2018

WIRTW #495 (the “guns” edition)

I am not a gun person. If you want to dismiss what I am about to say because of my dislike of guns, that is your prerogative. Just skip down to the links, or come back on Monday, or don’t come back at all (although the latter is a bit closed-minded).

We have a major gun problem is this country. The solution starts with a conversation about universal background checks for all owners of firearms, mandatory waiting periods, and bans on assault weapons.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

When does telecommuting qualify as a reasonable accommodation?

I’m writing today’s post from the comfort of the kitchen island in my house. My son has the flu, and I’m working from home.

It’s been three years since the 6th Circuit decided EEOC v. Ford Motor Co., a groundbreaking decision in which the court issued its en banc decision declaring that telecommuting is not an appropriate reasonable accommodation, unless the employee can show that that regular attendance in the workplace, and face-to-face interaction with co-workers, are not essential elements of the employee’s job. 

Yesterday, the same court decided Mosby-Meachem v. Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division [pdf], which defined the parameters of when an employee’s job does qualify for remote work as a reasonable accommodation.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Two recent issues of confidentiality of harassment allegations

The confidentiality of harassment allegations has been a hot topic of debate in the #MeToo and #TimesUp era.

Consider, then, each of the following two pronouncements on the issue by two different branches of the federal government—one by the NLRB and one by Congress.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The FMLA does not cover dead pets (maybe)

‘E’s not pinin’! ‘E’s passed on! This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! ‘E’s expired and gone to meet ‘is maker! ‘E’s a stiff! Bereft of life, ‘e rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed ‘im to the perch ‘e’d be pushing up the daisies! ‘Is metabolic processes are now ‘istory! ‘E’s off the twig! ‘E’s kicked the bucket, ‘e’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-PARROT!!
In all seriousness, it sucks to lose a pet.

But, does it qualify an employee for FMLA leave?

Monday, February 19, 2018

NLRB dismisses James Damore charge against Google—complaints about too much diversity are not protected

It is lawful for an employer to fire an employee who complains that his workplace is too diverse

According to the NLRB, the answer, at least under federal labor law, is yes, the termination is legal.

Friday, February 16, 2018

WIRTW #494 (the “affirmative action” edition)

Today, I am pleased to announce that Meyers Roman has expanded our employment-law capabilities by adding Douglas B. Brown, LLC (DBB), a boutique national affirmative action law firm.

I’ll quote my firm’s official statement:
Focusing on management-side affirmative action compliance, DBB will significantly broaden, support and strengthen our Labor & Employment Group to assure our clients’ compliance with the increasingly complex affirmative action and Equal Employment Opportunity regulations for federal contractors and subcontractors. 
DBB has served a wide range of clients in the manufacturing, mining, construction, communications, financial, health care, social services and educational sectors. 
According to Seth Briskin, Managing Partner and Chair of our Labor & Employment Practice group, “the addition of the DBB firm is a real differentiator for Meyers Roman. It gives us the unique ability to offer affirmative action plans and related employment law consulting to our federal contractor clients and DBB’s established client base as well as a growing number of new clients both in Ohio and across the country.”

If you are a federal contractor or subcontractor and need an affirmative action plan drafted or retooled, are engaged in an OFCCP audit, or otherwise need affirmative-action related services, please let me know how we can leverage our new capabilities to help your business.

Here’s what I read this week:

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Can you pay your employees in Bitcoin?

“What is Bitcoin? I don’t understand how fake money works.”

These were the words of my 9-year-old last week.

Let me try to help him, and you, out.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Federal judge hands Grubhub a huge victory in groundbreaking gig economy trial

Raef Lawson worked as a restaurant delivery driver for Grubhub for four months in late 2015 and early 2016. He claimed that the company misclassified him as an independent contractor, and owed him overtime for hours he worked over 40 in any workweek.

Last week, in Lawson v. Grubhub [pdf], a California federal judge granted the gig-employer a huge victory by ruling that Lawson and all other similarly situated drivers are independent contractors, and not employees.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Love and work aren’t always peanut butter and chocolate

I listened with great interest to the latest episode of the Hostile Work Environment podcast, which featured as its guest my good friend, Dan Schwartz, talking about the pitfalls of Valentine’s Day at work.

Dan cited CareerBuilder’s annual V-Day survey, which offers some interesting stats about the current state of office romances:
  • 22 percent of workers have dated their boss (up 7 percent from last year)
  • 31 percent of workers who started dating at work ultimately married each other
  • Almost one in ten female workers whose work romance soured left their job
  • 41 percent of workers had to keep their romance a secret

Yet, love and work do not always go well together, especially on Valentine’s Day.

Monday, February 12, 2018

What does it mean to be religious?

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about religion. Or, rather, what it means to be religious.

I am not religious. Or at least not in the organized sense.

This does not mean that I am an atheist, or a pagan, or a heathen, or whatever other aspersion you’d like to cast upon me.

It just means that I do not believe I need a building and a structure upon which to ascribe my beliefs.