Friday, April 29, 2016

WIRTW #410 (the “odd jobs” edition)


What is the oddest job in America? It might be the folks who blur to the naughty bits on Discovery Channel’s Naked and Afraid. From The Seattle Times:

“This is a totally weird work environment,” said Shaun O’Steen, the 45-year-old leader of the team, which calls itself the Blur Man Group. “I mean, what job can you say, ‘Oh, my God, look at that penis,’ and not have to worry about HR?” …  For O’Steen, the task is slightly complicated by one more fact: His desk is opposite that of a 27-year-old who is the only woman and, by far, the youngest member of the blurring group. She is also his wife.

No matter how weird you think your job is, I’m going to bet it’s not this weird.

Here’s what else I read this week:

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Let’s not forget about damages when litigating our cases


When employers are sued, they do not put enough thought into damages. The typical response is, “We didn’t discriminate; we aren't liable.” But, the reality is, unless you win a case on summary judgment (sadly, an unlikely result), you need to think about what a case is potentially worth and how much a plaintiff can potentially cover. For starters, it will drive settlement discussions. Moreover, and more importantly, if a case does not settle, you will want to whittle that number down as low as possible to limit the potential exposure at (gasp) trial.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Ohio tries again to add LGBT rights to employment discrimination law


As I’ve said more times than I can count, I think it’s repulsive that, in 2016, it is lawful under Title VII and the employment-discrimination laws of most states to discriminate because of one’s LGBT status.


S.B. 318 [pdf], introduced in late April, looks to change this aberration in Ohio.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

DOL publishes new employer FMLA guide


Since I recently cut a check to the IRS for the balance due on my taxes, I thought I’d take today’s space to review how the federal government spends our tax dollars. Today’s examination? The Department of Labor’s newest publication, The Employer’s Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act [pdf].

Monday, April 25, 2016

Ohio introduces employee background check legislation


It’s been a busy couple of months for employers, keeping up with the employment-related legislation popping up in Columbus. First, we had the Employment Law Uniformity Act, then the Pregnancy Reasonable Accommodation Act, next the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Benefits Act, and finally the Medical Marijuana Act.

Next on the docket? Legislation to regulate how employers compile and use certain background information in the hiring process.

Friday, April 22, 2016

WIRTW #409 (the “thank you” edition)


This morning I want to say a brief thank you to two organization, each of which hosted me to speak yesterday.

Yesterday morning, I presented Everything You Need to Know About Cyber Security (in 30 minutes). Thank you to local accounting firm Ciuni & Panichi for hosting me at its breakfast session, and a special thanks to Mike Klein for the invite and arranging the event.

Then, last evening I presenting Hot Employment Law Issues for 2016 to a group of HR professionals for ConnectedHR. Thank you to Mark D’Agostino, Connected’s President, for arranging the event and inviting me. It was the first time I’ve ever presented in a wine bar, and, moving forward, it should be the only venue in which I present.



Before we get to this week’s list of links, one more thank you to Walter Olson, who featured me in one of his posts at Overlawyered this week.

Here’s what I read this week.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Eye rolls might be passive-aggressive b.s., but they are not actionable harassment


Me: “Clean your room.”
Daughter: (rolls eyes)

Me: “Pick your clothes up off the bathroom floor.”
Daughter: (rolls eyes)

Me: “If you don’t like what I pack you for lunch, pack your own.”
Daughter: (rolls eyes)

Me: I’m not a huge fan of the age of almost 10. The pre-teen, I-know-everything, don’t-bother-me. Yes, I know it gets better, and, yes, I’m sure I was just as bad, if not worse (no comments from the Mom and Dad peanut gallery, please).

Eye rolls are annoying, passive-aggressive bulls---. But, are they actionable as sexual harassment?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

No, you can’t make offensive videos about your co-workers, even with Legos


Since we’ve gone serious the last two days, I thought we’d go with the less-serious today. Watch this video, and then let’s talk.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Is it time for a new NLRB rule on handbook policies?


Last week, in William Beaumont Hosp. [pdf], the NLRB issued yet another decision holding that an employer’s work rules unreasonably infringed on employees’ rights to engage in protected concerted activity. Not newsworthy, right?

What is newsworthy, however, is that the lone Republican currently serving on the NLRB, Philip Miscimarra, used the decision as an opportunity to publish a scathing dissent calling for a complete re-write of the NLRB’s rules on employer policies and protected concerted activity.

The 18-page takedown is a must read for any employer frustrated with its inability to draft facially neutral, reasonably based work rules.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Are you ready for medical marijuana?


Sooner rather than later, medical marijuana will be a reality in Ohio. Currently, there are three separate efforts to enact this law: two ballot initiatives and one piece of legislation.

What does this mean for Ohio employers? Let’s start with the legislation, H.B. 523.

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