Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Forced religion and work do not mix

I believe that everyone's relationship with God (whether you call that deity God, Yahweh, Jesus, Allah, Vishnu, Buddha, something else, or nothing at all) is personal. I have no opinion on your spiritual relationship, as should you have none on mine. Thus, I get mad whenever someone tries to shove their religious beliefs down my throat. Not only do I not care, but I can guarantee that you will not change my mind. Proselytism is one small step removed from fanaticism, and rarely, if ever, has anything good come from religious fanaticism.

I share the above as prologue to today's discussion, which focuses on a Title VII lawsuit the EEOC recently filed against Aurora Pro Services, a North Carolina residential home service and repair company, alleged to have required employees to participate in religious prayer sessions as a condition of employment.

Friday, July 1, 2022

WIRTW #632: the “it's been a week” edition

From the Supreme Court's opinion terminating the constitutional right to abortion … to other Supreme Court opinions allowing and endorsing the open carry of firearmsprayer in public schools, the public funding of religious schools, and global warming … to the grim details of the near end of our republic laid bare by the brave Congressional testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, it's been one hell of an exhausting, sad, and enraging week.

Weeks like this one demand a breather. So today, no law (other than the below list of links to read). Just music. 

Enjoy my daughter's cover of Alanis Morissette's "Hand in My Pocket", recorded live at her gig last weekend at Akronym Brewing. (She's quite the busy musician this summer; you'll find all of her upcoming gigs listed on her website, including upstate New York, on July 15.)

Everyone please have safe, relaxing, and peaceful holiday weekend, full of family, food, and frivolity. I'm not feeling particularly patriotic these days, but I'll nonetheless find a way enjoy my burgers, beer, and breather. 🍔 🍺 😌

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

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Court dismisses employees’ race discrimination claims against Whole Foods based on prohibition of BLM masks

A group of Black and non-Black Whole Foods employees claimed that their employer unlawfully discriminated against them because of their race and their association with people because of their race based on their employer's prohibition of the wearing of "Black Lives Matter" face masks starting in June 2020 following the death of George Floyd.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

“Abortion discrimination” = illegal pregnancy discrimination … even after Dobbs

Is it legal to fire an employee who has an abortion? This is question that a lot of employers and employees will now be asking in light of the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that that there is no constitutional right to abortion.

As controversial and divisive of an issue as abortion is (perhaps now more than ever), the law is clear that an employer cannot fire an employee for having one. Nothing the Supreme Court did in Dobbs changes this.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Federal appeals court rejects reliability of electronic signatures on employment agreements

During a webinar I recently conducted on employee handbooks, someone asked me a question about the best practice between wet signatures vs. e-signatures on handbook receipts. I answered that either was fine, but at least with the digital footprint of an e-signature you avoid the disingenuous "that's not my signature," or the "I don't ever remember signing that" we sometimes hear from plaintiffs in deposition. 

Then I read Barrows v. Brinker Restaurant Corp.

Monday, June 27, 2022

The best response to the end of Roe v. Wade came from a company called DICK’S

Within hours of the Supreme Court announcing its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Lauren Horbart, the President and CEO of DICK'S Sporting Goods, posted the following on LinkedIn.
At DICK’S, our teammates are the heart of our business, and we are committed to protecting their health and well-being.… 
In response to today's ruling, we are announcing that if a state one of our teammates lives in restricts access to abortion, DICK'S Sporting Goods will provide up to $4,000 in travel expense reimbursement to travel to the nearest location where that care is legally available. This benefit will be provided to any teammate, spouse or dependent enrolled in our medical plan, along with one support person.

We recognize people feel passionately about this topic -- and that there are teammates and athletes who will not agree with this decision. However, we also recognize that decisions involving health and families are deeply personal and made with thoughtful consideration. We are making this decision so our teammates can access the same health care options, regardless of where they live, and choose what is best for them.

Friday, June 24, 2022

WIRTW #631: the “(not so) Good Ship BrewDog” edition

Job interview: "Are you planning on having kids? Do kids feature in your five-year plan? Because we want someone in this role for a minimum of five years."

Answer: "I've never wanted kids. Never have; never will. I've been told I probably can't have kids anyway."

Follow-up phone call: "You're the best candidate for the job. You're everything that we've been looking for. You'd be absolutely perfect for the role. But we need to clear things up with this whole 'kids' thing."

Answer: "I don't want them, it's not part of my plan, and I can't anyway."

Final conversation: "We can't hire you because of the whole 'marriage and babies' thing."

That what Alice Hayward claims happened to her at BrewDog when she applied for a promotion from bar work into a sales position, as reported by the BBC in the Good Ship BrewDog podcast. I've absolutely devoured this six-episode podcast over the past several days. (Bonus points for the narrator's lovely Scottish brogue.)

If you're curious about the damage that a toxic work culture can cause, I cannot more highly recommend this podcast. While the entire show is a master class in how not to manage employees, I thought episode 5 — which focuses on BrewDog's expansion into the U.S. — was the standout.

Good Ship BrewDog also underscores why I decided to become a beer lawyer. Our industry is cool, fun, and full of great people. Yet, there is still so much work to do.

Before I get to this week's list of links, I'll leave you with this thought I found on Instagram.
Regardless of how "hype" or "good" the beer is, stop supporting breweries … who perpetuate problem behavior.
Businesses have little financial incentive to cease misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, racist, and other problematic behavior if we who stand against it and believe it's dangerous and wrong keep supporting them with our wallets. 

Or, to put it another way (quoting Jim Vorel in Paste Magazine, from a recent story on another brewery, Tired Hands — more on their story next week): "If we look away, the beer world's sexism will always return to the status quo."

Here's what I read this past week that I think you should be reading, too.