Friday, December 7, 2018

WIRTW #534 (the “rock the vote” edition)


Rock the Vote logo.png

Have you cast your ballot for the Worst Employer of 2018? Time is ticking down for this year's final vote.

To remind you of the four truly awful employers vying for this year's honor, the finalists are:

  • The Murdering Manager — company owner hires two men to rough-up a handyman who was not doing his job, and they accidentally kill him.
  • The Sexist, Racist, Xenophobic, Oh My! — plant manager calls foreign-born employees "terrorists" and women "bitches," and tells the only black employee that her husband should work in a cotton field with a rope around his neck.
  • The Supervisor Supremacist — supervisor begins morning staff meetings by saying "White Power" and giving the Nazi salute; when African-American employee complains, he finds himself hanged in effigy.
  • The Tasering Torturer — company owner disciplines employee by threatening to kill him, lighting fires near him, and repeatedly shocking him with a taser.

Vote here.

Here's what I read this week:

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Does Title VII protect an employee's self-help discovery?


Suppose one of your employees believes that she was discriminated against because of her protected class. She files a charge of discrimination with the EEOC, and, in support of the charge, provides the agency information from your confidential personnel files that she had copied. In response, you fire the employee for violating your confidentiality policy? She then files a new charge, alleging that her termination was in retaliation for her protected activity of gathering evidence in support of her discrimination claim.

Does her retaliation claim succeed?

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Is your business rethinking its holiday party this year?


During the #MeToo portion yesterday's Best-Ever Year-End Employment Law Review that Five Employment Law Bloggers Have Ever Presented, Robin Shea suggested that the #MeToo Movement has altered employers' holiday-party plans this year.

Indeed, according to the 2018 Holiday Party Survey (conducted by the appropriately named outplace firm of Challenger, Gray & Christmas), 35% of employers do not plan to throw a holiday party this year, the lowest number since 2009. Given the current strength of our economy, one would expect an opposite trend, suggesting that something else is causing this uptick in grinchy employers.

The likely culprit? #MeToo.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Forced hugs at work sound like a REALLY bad idea


Ray Kelvin, CEO of UK fashion retailer Ted Baker, is a hugger. According to an online petition seeking to end his practice, "he greets many people he meets with a hug, be it a shareholder, investor, supplier, partner, customer or colleague." And, it doesn't stop with hugs. He asks young female employees "to sit on his knee, cuddle him, or let him massage their ears." He strokes employees' ears. He takes off his shirt in the workplace and talks about his sex life. Even worse, when employees go to HR to complain, they are told, "That's just what Ray's like."

Well, they've had enough "of what Ray's like." More than 2,600 people, including over 300 current or former employees, have signed the online petition calling on Ted Baker to "scrap the forced 'hugs' and end harassment."

Monday, December 3, 2018

What can "Elf" teach us about the ADA?


Friday night, the Hyman clan carried out our annual holiday tradition of watching "Elf." Since much of the story took place in and around various workplaces, this year I decided to watch with an eye towards shareable employment law lessons.


Early in the story, Buddy learns the harsh reality that he is not actually an elf, but a human. He learns this lesson after falling 985 Etch A Sketches short of his production expectations, and being transferred to Jack-in-the-Box testing (the job reserved for "special" elves).

Assuming that Buddy's height is a disability in the North Pole (and if the ADA protects dwarfs down south, it's safe to assume the North Pole's disability discrimination laws would similarly protect Buddy's heightened height up north), what ADA lessons does this parable teach us?

Friday, November 30, 2018

WIRTW #533 (the “Stella's” edition)


If you ever wanted to know how hard a group of pre-teens and teens can rock, you'll have your chance on December 21, when Fake ID invades Stella's Music Club. They play from 7:30 – 9:30, and word has it they are working up a few Christmas tunes for the season.



Also, you still have time to register for The Best-Ever Year-End Employment Law Review That 5 Employment Law Bloggers Ever Presented—Tuesday, 12/4, from noon to 1 p.m. 

Join me, along with employment law bloggers extraordinaire Eric Meyer, Jeff Nowak, Dan Schwartz, Robin Shea, and our fearless (fearful?) moderator, Kate Bischoff.  

Register here



Here's what I read this week.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

I can name that lawsuit in one note


Demetria Kalodimos, age 58, worked as an anchor for Nashville's WSMV for 33 years. After the station failed to renew her contract, she sued for age and gender discrimination.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Worst Employer of 2018: The Finalists


The votes have been cast, and counted. And we have four awful employers that have qualified for the finals of the Worst Employer of 2018.

I started this journey all the way back on January 2, 2018, in a post discussing a company president who tried to solicit sex from his employee by telling her God wanted her to be his sexual plaything.

And he didn't even come close to qualifying for the finals!

After nearly 600 votes, you've cut the 15 nominees down to these 4 finalists (in alphabetical order):

  • The Murdering Manager — company owner hires two men to rough-up a handyman who was not doing his job, and they accidentally kill him.
  • The Sexist, Racist, Xenophobic, Oh My! — plant manager calls foreign-born employees "terrorists" and women "bitches," and tells the only black employee that her husband should work in a cotton field with a rope around his neck.
  • The Supervisor Supremacist — supervisor begins morning staff meetings by saying "White Power" and giving the Nazi salute; when African-American employee complains, he finds himself hanged in effigy.
  • The Tasering Torturer — company owner disciplines employee by threatening to kill him, lighting fires near him, and repeatedly shocking him with a taser.

Now for the fun part. Instead of asking that you pick just one of these gems, I'm asking you to rank them, from 1 (the worst employer) to 4 (the least worse employer). This will then give me a weighted score to name, finally, the WORST EMPLOYER OF 2018.

The polls will remain open until Tuesday, December 18, at 11 pm.

You can vote below, or at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SG9Z8CX.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

UPDATE: Does an employer have a duty to protect the personal information of its employees?


In July, I asked whether an employer owes its employees a legal duty to protect their personal information. I discussed cases that answered that question in both the affirmative and the negative. I also suggested that regardless of whether employers have a legal duty to protect the personal information and data of your employees, they still have a significant financial and reputational incentive to take reasonable steps to maintain the privacy and security of all of their information.

The dominoes, however, are starting to fall on the existence of a legal duty.

Monday, November 26, 2018

On the 12th day of Christmas, my employer gave to me … a handgun?


'Tis the season for giving. What's the oddest holiday gift an employer has ever given you? For the employees of one Wisconsin company, the answer might just be a handgun.

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