Friday, May 24, 2024

WIRTW #718: the ‘fireflies' edition


"Do you want to bring a backup guitar with you?"

That was the question I ask my daughter as we load up the car to leave for her Sunday-night gig opening for Rhett Miller.

"No," she responds. "I'll be fine with just my main guitar."

Flash forward to 7 pm that night. "Please give it up for norah marie!" And guess what? No sound from her guitar. Not one single amplified note. As it turns out, the guitar had a dead battery. After a few minutes of down time to swap dead for live — which included a very kind and gracious Rhett offering Norah his own guitar to play during her set — she was up and running. 

Despite the glitchy start, Norah was great as always. 

You can watch the (edited) video of her whole set here, or just the clip of her singing Rhett's song, "Fireflies," with him, which includes a sweet story of Rhett's own technical glitch when he was a 17-year-old opener for Rosanne Cash.

I know I'm fighting a losing battle when I offer dad advice to a stubborn 17-year-old, but I can continue to try, right?



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

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Should jury verdict forms in discrimination cases include the McDonnell Douglas factors?


Jury trials are often won or lost based on the instructions and verdict forms the court provides the jury.

Jury instructions outline the legal standards that the jury must use to decide the case. Verdict forms allow the jury to record its decisions on the issues in the case and typically include specific questions that the jury must answer reflecting their findings on claim.

In Craddock v. FedEx Corp. Servs.Craddock v. FedEx Corp. Servs., the plaintiff — a Black woman fired after an altercation at work — complained on appeal about an alleged inconsistency in the jury's verdict.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Prompt engineering tips for generative AI


Innovate or die. I held out long enough, but it's time for me to learn how to use ChatGPT and incorporate it into my legal practice. That was one of my biggest takeaways from the Mackrell International Annual General Meeting earlier this month.

What does one do when one wants to learn how to effectively use ChatGPT? Ask ChatGPT! Here's the prompt I used: "I'm a lawyer conducting research on employment law. Can you give me the top 6 prompt engineering tips to optimize my results on ChatGPT?"

Here's what ChatGPT recommends:

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

It's illegal to deny coverage for gender-affirming care to a transgender employee simply because the employee is transgender


Can an employer-sponsored health plan legally deny coverage for gender-affirming care to a transgender employee simply because the employee is transgender?

According to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Lange v. Houston Cty., the answer is an unequivocal "No, it cannot!"

It's 100% legal to close your business to avoid a labor union


"We have some sad news to share. A process that began last year has reached its conclusion. Today was the last day of service for both cafes of the Wydown, which are now permanently closed." 

That sign hung on the door of both Wydown Coffee Bar locations late last week.

What's so newsworthy about two cafes closing? What if I tell you that the closure happened just five days before their 35 employees were set to vote on unionization?

The employees steadfastly believe that the cafes closed to avoid a labor union. The owners deny their claim and say that they were merely "ready for a change."

Friday, May 17, 2024

WIRTW #717: the ‘donut' edition


I love donuts. At 51 years old, however, I try not to eat them too often anymore. The weight just doesn't come off quite the way it used to. But it doesn't mean I won't indulge every now and again, including on a recent episode of The Triple D Podcast: Donuts, Disability and Discourse.

I sat down with local disability rights attorney Michael Liner to discuss my work as a labor & employment lawyer and craft beer lawyer, the types of clients I work with, my roll managing marketing and business development at my law firm, and the challenges and opportunities of working in a post-Covid world. I also shared my review of the outstanding craft-beer-based donut I sampled at Brewnuts, our host for the episode. 

You can watch the entire discussion here.


Finally, there are still some tickets left for the Rhett Miller/norah marie show at the Music Box Supper Club this Sunday, May 19, 🎟️ here. Doors are at 5, and Norah's opening set starts at 7.



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

Thursday, May 16, 2024

This is why you should never give a pass to any employee misconduct


A law firm fires its HR Manager a mere days before she is set to return to work from maternity leave. It says it fired her for "cause," citing numerous performance related examples, including her alleged mismanagement of the firm's health-benefits enrollment.

The problem for the law firm, however, is that it allegedly discovered those performance issues months before the termination and sat on them until the employee was ready to return from her maternity leave.

That timing was enough for the court to deny the law firm's motion for summary judgment on her pregnancy discrimination claim.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

This should constitute a racially hostile work environment; the court says it didn't


15 different Black employees complain that their health-care employer maintains a racially hostile work environment. The allegations include several being exposed to the N-word at work, patients refusing treatment by Black employees and calling them "colored" and other slurs, and other race-based incidents.

Nevertheless, in EEOC v. Village at Hamilton Pointe, the 7th Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the agency's racial harassment lawsuit. "In sum," the court wrote, "the evidence of record does not support, under established principles of law, a case for racial harassment that was so severe or pervasive as to alter the conditions of employment for any of these claimants."

I disagree.