Friday, June 23, 2017

WIRTW #466 (the “solo” edition)

I gotta give my girl credit. She’s got cohones (especially at the age of 11). Through a casual exam-chair conversation with her orthodontist, he learned that she plays music and she learned that he’s involved with an annual summer solstice music festival. From that, she booked herself her first ever solo gig. She spent the next day working up and running through six songs, and played to a mid-afternoon crowd outside our favorite French restaurant. And, like always, she was aces. Here a few highlights strung together medley-style.

And, if you’re local and crave the full band experience, the Major Minors play a full set from 1-3 tomorrow, during the Coventry Village Sidewalk Sale & Carnival Games Party (one of’s “Top things to do in Cleveland this weekend.” They will rock the courtyard outside of the Grog Shop, 2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., Cleveland Heights (coincidentally, a mere block from my law school apartment).

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Reporting harassment down is no trigger for employer action, says 6th Circuit

Employers have a legal obligation to investigate known sexual and other unlawful harassment, and exercise reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct any unlawfully harassing behavior. When in harassment “known” by an employer such that it triggers this obligation? EEOC v. AutoZone (6th Cir. 6/9/17) offers some key guidance when an employee fails to report harassment up the chain of command per her employer’s written harassment policy.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

6th Circuit grants EEOC broad subpoena powers

The Witch: I’m not a witch! I’m not a witch!
Sir Bedevere: But you are dressed as one
The Witch: *They* dressed me up like this!
Crowd: We didn’t! We didn’t…
The Witch: And this isn’t my nose. It’s a false one.
Sir Bedevere: [lifts up her false nose] Well?
Peasant 1: Well, we did do the nose.
Sir Bedevere: The nose?
Peasant 1: And the hat, but she is a witch!
Crowd: Yeah! Burn her! Burn her! 
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
How wide of a net is the EEOC entitled to cast when issuing a subpoena for documents during an investigation? According to EEOC v. United Parcel Service, decided earlier this month by the 6th Circuit, the answer is a lot wider than you’d like.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The 12th nominee for the “worst employer of 2017” is … the parental stereotyper

Last week, Derek Rotondo, a dad of two young children, filed a sex discrimination charge with the EEOC against his employer of seven years, J.P. Morgan. Why? I’ll let Derek explain, in a blog he wrote for the ACLU. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

The 11th nominee for the “worst employer of 2017” is … the pregnant pause

The EEOC has taken a judgment of $118,483 against a New jersey debt collection firm in a pregnancy discrimination case. Why? Because the firm rescinded a job offer to a female employee after it learned that she was pregnant. 

That alone, however, will not earn one an employer a nomination for “Worst Employer of 2017.” I’ll let the EEOC explain further:

Friday, June 9, 2017

WIRTW #465 (the “gimme a break” edition)

Next week, I am taking a much needed break, as I will be out of the office. I’ll see everyone back on June 19. Of course, now that I’ve committed not to blog next week, the employment-law poop will certainly hit the fan next week, in which case my blogger OCD will compel me to break my pledge, interrupt my trip, and bring you all the news that’s fit to blog. Either way.

Here’s what I read this week:

Thursday, June 8, 2017

DOL pulls Obama-era guidance on joint employment and independent contractors

The past two years have been busy for the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. One can directly track a large part of its busy workload to its enlargement of who qualifies as an “employer” under the Fair Labor Standards Act. In 2015, the DOL issued guidance re-defining, and broadening the definition of, who qualifies as an “independent contractor”. And, the following year, the DOL did the same with its definition of “joint employer”.

Alex Acosta, the newly appointed Secretary of Labor, looks to roll back the clock on these interpretations.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Next up on the EEOC’s radar: age discrimination

This year, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act turns 50. Which means the law itself has been protected from age discrimination for a decade (rim shot).

To mark the law’s golden anniversary, the EEOC next week will hold a public meeting, “The ADEA @ 50 - More Relevant Than Ever.” According to the EEOC, “The meeting will explore the state of age discrimination in America today and the challenges it poses for the future.”

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

R-E-S-P-E-C-T (just a little bit)

I ain’t gonna do you wrong while you’re gone
Ain’t gonna do you wrong ‘cause I don’t wanna
All I’m askin’
Is for a little respect
– Aretha Franklin, “Respect”
Yesterday, my friend and fellow blogger (with whom I tend to agree most of the time), Suzanne Lucas (aka Evil HR Lady), posted an article about which I could not agree more, Why You Should Rarely Fight an Unemployment Claim.

Monday, June 5, 2017

A contrary (and common sense) appellate view on rude employees and the NLRA

It’s been six weeks since I reported on NLRB v. Pier Sixty, in which the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals held that the National Labor Relations Act protected the profanity-laced Facebook rant of a disgruntled employee. I have hoped that Pier Sixty is an aberration. Thankfully, last week the 1st Circuit came along with a well reasoned contrarian view in a case in which the alleged employee misconduct was much less severe.

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