Friday, January 18, 2019

WIRTW #538 (the “drones” edition)

OSHA is now using camera-carrying drones to investigate outdoor workplaces.

The good news? Use is intended to be limited to areas that are otherwise difficult and dangerous for OSHA inspectors to access. Plus, OSHA will not use them without an employer's consent.

The bad news? Employers that withhold consent could face OSHA's ire and a search warrant. Plus, the program lacks any protections for things like scope of recording, employee privacy, or third-party access to the video.

You can more about it at the Ohio OSHA Law Blog, here.

Here's what else I read this week:

Thursday, January 17, 2019

An expensive lesson on religious accommodations

A federal court jury in Miami has awarded a hotel dishwasher $21.5 million after concluding that her employer failed to honor her religious beliefs by repeatedly scheduling her on Sundays, and then firing her.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Gillette's toxic masculinity ad isn't the problem; toxic masculinity is the problem

Gillette is facing a lot of praise, and a lot of backlash, over its recent ad slamming toxic masculinity culture.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

NLRB reverses course and restores some sense to its concerted activity rules

The NLRB is the federal agency that saw the widest expansion of employee rights during the Obama presidency. And the doctrine that expanded the most was the Board's definition of protected concerted activity.

In Whole Foods Market, the NLRB had previously held that "activity by one individual is deemed concerted if undertaken in an effort to enforce the provisions of a collective-bargaining agreement or in order to initiate or induce group action." In other words, a lone wolf could act in concert with other employees based solely on his or her intent to do so. This rule lead to some absurd results.

Last week, in Alstate Maintenance LLC [pdf], the Board restored some much needed sanity to the definition of "concerted" for the purpose of protected concerted activity.

Monday, January 14, 2019

What's good for the goose? "Reverse" LGBTQ discrimination

If, like me, you believe that Title VII's definition of "sex" includes sexual orientation and gender identity, then what do you do with the claim of a heterosexual employee who claims discrimination because of her anti-LGBTQ views?

Friday, January 11, 2019

WIRTW #537 (the “Roma” edition)

We are contemplating spending Spring Break in Rome. For those who've been, what's you best tip for first-time visitors? Sights not to be missed? Things that are off the beaten path? Where to stay? Best pizza? Best gelato?

Drop a note in the comments below and let me know your Rome tips.

Here's what I read this week:

Thursday, January 10, 2019

The 3nd nominee for the “worst employer of 2019” is … the barbarous boss

2019 is officially the year that my Worst Employer contest went international.

How do you motivate your employees to hit their sales goals? If you're the Runfa Hair Salon in Wuxi, China, you abuse the hell out of 'em.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

What does it mean for jobs to be "substantially equal" under the Equal Pay Act?

The Equal Pay Act requires that an employer pay its male and female employees equal pay for equal work. The jobs need not be identical, but they must be substantially equal. Substantial equality is measured by job content, not job titles.

The Act is a strict liability law, which means that intent does not matter. If a women is paid less than male for substantially similar work, then the law has been violated, regardless of the employer's intent.

This strict liability, however, does not mean that pay disparities always equal liability. The EPA has several built-in defenses, including seniority, merit, quantity or quality of production, or any other factor other than sex.

A recently filed case out of Boston delves into these issues.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Beware pre- and postliminary activities

In Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk, the Supreme Court held that the FLSA only requires employers to compensate employees for time spent performing "preliminary" (pre-shift) and "postliminary" (post-shift) activities that are "integral and indispensable" to an employee’s principal activities. What are "integral and indispensable?" Those activities that are (1) "necessary to the principal work performed" and (2) "done for the benefit of the employer."

Monday, January 7, 2019

Your 2019 Employment Law Compliance Checklist

Today is the start of the first full week of 2019. Which means it's a perfect time to take a step back and review your efforts at HR and employment-law compliance for the coming year.

This list is not mean to be complete or exhaustive, but should provide a high level look at the top 20 issues that you should be reviewing this year, and every year for your business.

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