Tuesday, December 18, 2018

CBS denies Les Moonves every penny of his claimed $120 million severance

Today is your last day to vote for the Worst Employer of 2018. The polls close at 11:00 pm tonight. I'll announce this year's big winner tomorrow.

Before we crown this year's worst employer, I thought I'd mention an employer who did something right.


Monday, December 17, 2018

Non-solicitation agreements are not a license to steal an employee's already existing customers

Hall v. Edgewood Partners Ins. Center (6th Cir. 12/14/18) [pdf] asks a question that we see arise often in litigation with former employees over restrictive covenants—can an employer limit an employee's access to customers, clients, or other contacts that the employee had prior to the employment.

Or, to put it another way, who owns an employee's pre-existing book of business, the employee or the employer?

Friday, December 14, 2018

WIRTW #535 (the “live from Cleveland” edition)

According to a recent survey, social media is the No. 1 challenge for small business owners. Allow me to offer a solution. 

Last month I had the pleasure of presenting, Think Before You Click! Managing Workplace Social Media. It's an hour-long run-through of myriad reputational and legal issues that employers face when the employees engage on social media.

(I wish YouTube picked a more flattering cover frame.)


Here's what I read this week:

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Why the Cleveland Clinic's $15 minimum wage matters to you

Earlier this week, the Cleveland Clinic committed, by January 2020, to raise the minimum wage for its employees to $15 an hour.

According to its CEO, Dr. Tom Mihaljevic, its all about making sure employees feel respected and valued … and attracting and retaining the best employees.

As the largest employer in Northeast Ohio and the second largest employer in the state of Ohio, Cleveland Clinic has a responsibility to lead the way and help shape the future of health care and the health care workforce.…

Every caregiver's role is important. Increasing our minimum wage demonstrates our commitment to our employees and their families, as well as the community and our patients. It is a reflection of who we want to be as an organization.…

Ultimately, we want to continue attracting the best and brightest caregivers in all roles. We want to remain an employer of choice and give back to the caregivers who do so much for the patients we serve at Cleveland Clinic. Our goal at Cleveland Clinic is to be the best place for health care and the best place to work in health care. To reach that goal, we will continue to align caregiver pay with other top employers in the markets where Cleveland Clinic operates.…

The Clinic joins other large employers—Amazon, Walmart, Target, Disney Parks, McDonald's—in adopting a $15 minimum wage.

Which is great for them and their employees, but why should this matter to you and your business?

Because by raising their minimum wage, you will have to do the same. Or you will if you want to attract and retain quality employees. These employers have moved the needle on the issue of the minimum wage. To compete in the job market against those offering a $15 minimum wage, other companies will have to match, or risk losing quality employees to higher paying employers. Thus, over time, the $15 minimum wage will organically spread.

This is not to say that this increased minimum wage is not without problems of its own. For example, if you raise your minimum wage to $15 an hour, what happens to all of those employees already earning $15 an hour? To the employee, hired 10 years ago at $8 an hour, who worked his butt off for the past decade, and, through a series of promotion and raises, earned his way up to $15 an hour? Will you provide a proportional raise to keep pace? And, if not, a $15 minimum wage will convert those millions of workers into minimum-wage employees. And, for better or for worse, there is a certain stigma with being classified as minimum wage—especially if you've worked hard for years not to be minimum wage.

These are not easy issues with easy solutions. However, the $15 minimum wage train has most definitely left the station, and there is no going back. The question is not if you will adopt it, but when, and how.

* Photo by Verne Ho on Unsplash

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Alex, I'll take leave of absence policies for $5.25 million.

A: An employer must have one of these to avoid running afoul of discrimination laws when an employee is out on a medical leave of absence.

Q: What is an open-ended leave of absence policy?

Two employers recently learned this lesson the hard way, care of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The 1st nominee for the “worst employer of 2019” is … the philandering pharmacist

While I continue to tally votes to name the Worst Employer of 2018, I have an employer too awful not to kick off the nominees for 2019.

Meet Joyce Fogleman, the president, pharmacist, and sole owner of J&S Professional Pharmacy, who is, along with her pharmacy, the defendant in Blades v. J&S Professional Pharmacy.

With tongue planted firmly in cheek, Judge J. Philip Gilbert of The United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois describes the employer as "your typical pharmacy."

Monday, December 10, 2018

A quick review on the rules for docking pay for exempt employees

"Can I dock part of an employee's paycheck?"

It's one of the questions I get most often from clients.

So, let's take a quick run through the rules of docking employee's pay for exempt employees.

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.

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