Friday, May 17, 2024

WIRTW #717: the ‘donut' edition

I love donuts. At 51 years old, however, I try not to eat them too often anymore. The weight just doesn't come off quite the way it used to. But it doesn't mean I won't indulge every now and again, including on a recent episode of The Triple D Podcast: Donuts, Disability and Discourse.

I sat down with local disability rights attorney Michael Liner to discuss my work as a labor & employment lawyer and craft beer lawyer, the types of clients I work with, my roll managing marketing and business development at my law firm, and the challenges and opportunities of working in a post-Covid world. I also shared my review of the outstanding craft-beer-based donut I sampled at Brewnuts, our host for the episode. 

You can watch the entire discussion here.

Finally, there are still some tickets left for the Rhett Miller/norah marie show at the Music Box Supper Club this Sunday, May 19, 🎟️ here. Doors are at 5, and Norah's opening set starts at 7.

Here's what I read this week that you should read, too.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

This is why you should never give a pass to any employee misconduct

A law firm fires its HR Manager a mere days before she is set to return to work from maternity leave. It says it fired her for "cause," citing numerous performance related examples, including her alleged mismanagement of the firm's health-benefits enrollment.

The problem for the law firm, however, is that it allegedly discovered those performance issues months before the termination and sat on them until the employee was ready to return from her maternity leave.

That timing was enough for the court to deny the law firm's motion for summary judgment on her pregnancy discrimination claim.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

This should constitute a racially hostile work environment; the court says it didn't

15 different Black employees complain that their health-care employer maintains a racially hostile work environment. The allegations include several being exposed to the N-word at work, patients refusing treatment by Black employees and calling them "colored" and other slurs, and other race-based incidents.

Nevertheless, in EEOC v. Village at Hamilton Pointe, the 7th Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the agency's racial harassment lawsuit. "In sum," the court wrote, "the evidence of record does not support, under established principles of law, a case for racial harassment that was so severe or pervasive as to alter the conditions of employment for any of these claimants."

I disagree.

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

For Ohio employers, it doesn't matter what the DEA says about marijuana

News recently broke that the DEA intends to reclassify cannabis from a Scheule I drug to a Schedule III drug. That reclassification would permit health care providers to legally prescribe cannabis for medicinal uses.

As a result of this reclassification, employers would likely inherit a legal obligation under the ADA to reasonably accommodate an employee's use of legally prescribed marijuana. It would no different that the use of any other Schedule III drug (e.g., ketamine or codeine) — you have to accommodate its use off duty but not employees' impairments on duty.

BUT … check your state law. 

Friday, May 3, 2024

WIRTW #716: the ‘new kid' edition

On June 5, 2014, Rhett Miller, founder, front person, and lead singer of Old 97's, promised my daughter (then a mere 9 days past her 8th birthday) that once she was playing her own paid gigs, he'd have her open for him. That conversation took place in the green room of the Beachland Ballroom, and the adjacent photo was taken just after that conversation.

A decade later, Norah is an established, working musician, and Rhett is making good on his promise. He's coming back to town to play a solo gig at the Music Box Supper Club. To make a long story short, when the club announced the gig, Norah reached out to Rhett to ask about opening for him; on May 19 she'll be doing just that.

To hear the longer version of this story, tune in to the most recent episode of The Norah and Dad Show, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Overcast, the web, and everywhere else you get your podcasts. 

As for me, I'll be front and center at Music Box on May 19, singing along to Norah's and Rhett's songs. It's gonna be a great night! If you're interested in joining us the Music Box still has some tickets available here. (You'll find a running list of all of Norah's gigs here; click "Follow" for notifications of new gigs as they're announced.)

Here's what I read this week that should read, too.

Thursday, May 2, 2024

DOL cautions employers on the use of AI

"When used responsibly, AI has the potential to help improve compliance with the law. Without proper human supervision, however, these technologies can pose potential risks to workers … and may result in violations of the law…." 

Those are the words of the Department of Labor in its just published Field Assistance Bulletin, Artificial Intelligence and Automated Systems in the Workplace under the Fair Labor Standards Act and Other Federal Labor Standards.

The DOL highlights many potential legal pitfalls for employers that rely on AI to manage how their employees are paid and to track their attendance and leaves of absence.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Does a prank involving adult diapers and a wheelchair = age discrimination? It depends.

An attorney celebrates a paralegal's 50th birthday by decorating her office party with a wheelchair, fake pill bottles, and adult diapers. (Get it? She's "old.")

The paralegal does not appreciate the joke, and lets the lawyer know as much. In response, the lawyer simply moves the decorations adjacent to the paralegal's workstation. Around the same time, the lawyer also starts asking when the paralegal intends to retire.