Friday, December 8, 2023

WIRTW #698: the “heads will roll” edition

It's not every day that John Oliver happens to feature one of your Worst Employer nominees the very same week that you open the polls to vote for said Worst Employer. 

The video:

* The John Oliver story is not an endorsement of this employer as the Worst Employer of 2023. 

If you want to have your say on who should win, make sure to vote prior to Wed., 12/13 at 11:59 pm eastern time.

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

Thursday, December 7, 2023

A lesson in how NOT to testify

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik: Ms. Magill at Penn, does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Penn's rules or code of conduct? Yes or no?

UPenn President Liz Magill: If the speech turns into conduct, it can be harassment. Yes.

Stefanik: I am asking, specifically calling for the genocide of Jews, does that constitute bullying or harassment?

Magill: If it is directed, and severe, pervasive, it is harassment.

Stefanik: So the answer is yes.

Magill: It is a context dependent decision, Congresswoman.

Stefanik: It's a context dependent decision. That's your testimony today, calling for the genocide of Jews is depending upon the context, that is not bullying or harassment. This is the easiest question to answer. Yes, Ms. Magill. So is your testimony that you will not answer yes? Yes or no?

Magill: If the speech becomes conduct. It can be harassment, yes.

Stefanik: Conduct meaning committing the act of genocide. The speech is not harassment. This is unacceptable. Ms. Magill, I'm gonna give you one more opportunity for the world to see your answer. Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Penn's Code of Conduct when it comes to bullying and harassment? Yes or no?

Magill: It can be harassment.

Stefanik: The answer is yes.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

It’s illegal for gay people to discriminate against straight people … just not on these facts in this case

There is no such thing as "reverse" discrimination. Discrimination is discrimination, whether the victim is, for example, Black or white, female or male, gay or straight. When the employee claiming discrimination is in the majority, however, in the 6th Circuit they must not only show disparate treatment, but also must show "background circumstances to support the suspicion that the defendant is that unusual employer who discriminates against the majority."

Which brings us to the story of Marlean Ames, a straight woman who sued the Ohio Department of Youth Services for sex discrimination under Title VII claiming that her lesbian supervisor discriminated against her because of her sexual orientation. Ames claimed that OHYS passed her over for a promotion, demoted her, and promoted a gay man to her former position.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

VOTE for the Worst Employer of 2023

It's the most wonderful time of the year. I've made my list. I've checked it twice. Now it's time to find out who's naughtiest and not very nice. It's voting time for The Worst Employer of 2023.

I've culled my list of 10 nominees down to the worst 7 as finalists. 

Monday, December 4, 2023

It’s called family and medical LEAVE for a reason.

According to Above the Law, however, one Biglaw firm recently reminded its employees that they need to check their daily emails while out on leave.

There is ample time in the day for everyone on leave to monitor their emails daily and to forward any emails requiring attention to the appropriate members of the litigation team. If you are someone who has not been monitoring your emails daily, please do so as soon as possible. If, for any reason, you are unable to perform this minimal task on a regular basis, please advise.

This is not just a terrible employee relations practice, it's also potentially illegal.

Friday, December 1, 2023

WIRTW #697: the “independent study” edition

Younger Jon would have never believed that Older Jon has two children in private school. I'm a proud survivor of the School District of Philadelphia, which provided me a high-quality education that positioned me well for college and career.

And yet, here I am with two children attending a K-12 independent private school. It's the best possible choice I could have made for either of them. Here's one example as to why.

My daughter, Norah, plans to major in early childhood education in college in preparation for a career as an elementary school teacher. Last year, she mentored in the Lower School by helping out in the 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms during her free periods. This year, however, a modernization of the school's daily schedule eliminated that opportunity.

Instead of giving up something she loves (working with the younger children), she pitched to the Upper School administration the idea of an independent study for the first semester of her senior year. The school wholeheartedly agreed.

For the past three-plus months, Norah independently researched early childhood education and development (specifically, the impact of tone of voice in the classroom), compiled that research into a paper, and designed and taught a lesson plan for the third grade.

Earlier this week, Norah presented her independent study to the Lower School faculty. Watching her professionally and confidently present her research and classroom experience was one of my best parental moments. It's a testament to her and the education she has received for the past 13 years at Lake Ridge Academy.

Norah is going to make a wonderful elementary school teacher, and I couldn't be prouder.

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

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Does it matter where you place an employee’s lactation space? (tl;dr: yes.)

An employee works as a speech-language pathologist in a large, metropolitan school district, traveling between two elementary schools and a high school. After giving birth, she requests a private space for lactation within each assigned school. The school district agrees, but the private space it provides to her in the high school was on a different floor than her work area.

Is this legal? Did this employer meet is legal obligations regarding the provision of a "private lactation space?"