Tuesday, February 7, 2023

What does an employer have to do to lose $366 million?!

$366 million dollars. That's how much a jury awarded Jennifer Harris, a Black sales manager targeted and then fired by FedEx after she complained to human resources that her boss discriminatorily demoted her. 

That's $1.16 million in compensatory damages and $365 million in punitive damages. 

The trial judge recently rejected FedEx's motion to reduce the punitive verdict as excessive and a violation of its due process rights.

Monday, February 6, 2023

The problem isn’t “fake” managers, it’s the poorly named “administrative” exemption

"Would you rather be a front-desk clerk or 'Director of First Impressions'? A barber or a 'Grooming Manager'?" CBS News posed this question, and concluded that employers use these fancy, inflated titles to avoid paying employees in full for their overtime work. 

"Title inflation," the article argues, is being used to deny overtime and steal wages from otherwise deserving employees.

Friday, February 3, 2023

WIRTW #659: the “99 problems” edition

I got 99 problems, but being a podcast guest ain't one.

I love the People Problems Podcast so much. And they must love me, too, since this is my third appearance as a guest.

This week's episode is all about dating at work. The conversation goes all over the place, including to a mafia bar in Chicago. You'll have to listen to the episode to hear all about the craziest experience of my legal career.

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

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

“Entitlement to FMLA leave” is not a prerequisite to an FMLA retaliation claim

The 6th Circuit revived the FMLA retaliation claim of an attorney fired immediately after she requested unpaid leave to care for her two-year old child at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In mid-March 2020, Polina Milman, an attorney working at Fieger & Fieger PC, requested permission first for unpaid time off, and then to work remotely, to care for her two-year-old son who was exhibiting Covid symptoms and was already vulnerable because of a previous bout of RSV. The firm initially granted her WFH request. On her second remote workday, however, she received a termination letter, stating that she had refused to work because her "child had a cold" and "it was clear [she] had quit."

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Union avoidance vs. union busting

"A company that opposes a union organizing and presents both sides of this complex issue is 'union busting.'" This is what one commenter wrote in response to my recent post about union organizing at Creature Comforts Brewing Co.

I could not disagree more. 

There is vast, substantive, and significant difference between union avoidance and union busting.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Lessons from coaching high school mock trial

When you try a case, there’s not much within your control. You can’t control the judge. You can’t control the jury. You can’t control your opposing counsel. Sometimes you can’t even control your own witnesses. But the one thing you can control is how well prepared you are, and you are so well prepared.

For the past four months I’ve been volunteering as one of the legal advisors for the Lake Ridge Academy Mock Trial team. That’s what I told my team the evening before their opening round of competition last Friday.

Friday, January 27, 2023

WIRTW #658: the “Toad Jesus” edition

On the latest edition of The Norah and Dad Show, we discuss Freckles, Norah's newly rescued-from-the-backyard pet toad, who may be sleeping or may be dead. Welcome to the first cliffhanger in the history of our podcast. Find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Overcast, your old-fashioned browser, and everywhere else podcasts are available.

Here's a small taste.

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