Meyers, Roman, Friedberg & Lewis has a Coronavirus Response Team. Contact Jon Hyman to help with how your business should
continue to respond to this national emergency.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Civil rights is not a pizza

Among the litany of executive orders President Biden issued in his first two days in office was one on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation. It's a beautiful statement adopting as the policy of the federal government the Supreme Court's decision in Bostock that Title VII's definition of sex explicitly includes LGBTQ employees.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Instead of reading my thoughts, today I offer you two options to listen to them

One of the great benefits of this blog is the opportunities it has opened for me to network with others. One of the great benefits of that networking is the ability to sometimes have my voice heard on other platforms. Today, I offer for your listening pleasure two podcasts on which I've recently appeared, the HR Social Hour Half Hour Podcast, and the Tech Leader's Toolbox Podcast.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Inauguration Day

Today is a wonderful day.

28 years ago, January 20, 1993, I was on the National Mall experiencing the inauguration of Bill Clinton. One of my absolute best memories. I treasure the day I spent as part of history.

Democrat or Republican, left or right, liberal or conservative, it’s a day that we should ALL come together to celebrate our nation and our glorious democracy.

So even if you disagree with the person placing his hand on the Bible and swearing the oath of office, please celebrate all that it symbolizes.

At noon, I’ll be pausing my work day and moving to my family-room couch to watch history.

How will you spend Inauguration Day? Drop a comment below and let me know.

* Pic by, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What employers can expect from Biden’s presidency: A temporary emergency OSHA standard for COVID-19

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the identification of the first COVID-19 case in the United States. On January 20, 2020, the State of Washington and the CDC confirmed that someone in Washington State had contracted the virus. Since then, 24,809,840 additional Americans have contracted Covid, and 411,520 have died from it. 

All the while, OSHA, the federal agency charged with protecting health and safety in the workplace, has done very little to address the pandemic, and we still lack a national safety standard on keeping Covid-safe at work.

President Biden's OSHA will fix this glaring omission. He has called on Congress "to authorize the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue a COVID-19 Protection Standard that covers a broad set of workers."

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Biden calls for extension and expansion of FFCRA

As you should hopefully be aware, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), the federal law that provided paid leave to employees for Covid-related absences, expired on December 31, 2020, with an option for employers to voluntarily expand leave through March 31, 2021. The problem, however, is that while this leave has expired or will soon expire, COVID-19 is not expiring any time soon.

Help, however, may soon be on the way, as part of President-elect Biden's America Rescue Plan. A key part of that plan is a significant expansion of the FFCRA.

Monday, January 18, 2021

What employers can expect from Biden’s presidency: A $15 minimum wage

This week I'll be examining what employers can expect from Joe Biden's presidency. Today, a $15 minimum wage.

Late last week President-elect Biden released his America Rescue Plan, a comprehensive legislative package to provide relief to those struggling because of COVID-19. Among its proposals was a $15 minimum wage.

Friday, January 15, 2021

The 2nd nominee for the “Worst Employer of 2021” is … the stillbirthing leave spurner

When I close out this contest at the end of each year I ask myself, "Jon, will you be able to find sufficiently awful nominees for the next year?" Each year answers this question with a resounding yes. 2021 is no exception.

I bring you the District of Columbia Public Schools, which denied maternity leave to a teacher after she suffered the tragedy of delivering a stillborn baby. 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

H.B. 352 finally fixes Ohio’s broken employment discrimination statute for employers

For lack of more artful description, Ohio's employment discrimination law was a mess. It exposed employers to claims for up to six years (the longest such statute of limitations in the country), contained no less than three different ways for employees to file age discrimination claims (each with different remedies and filing deadlines), rendered managers and supervisors personally liable for discrimination, and omitted any filing prerequisites with the state civil rights agency.

The start of 2021, however, provides Ohio businesses much-needed reform of this previously broken law. Earlier this week, Governor DeWine signed House Bill 352 [pdf]

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Github fires employee for using the n-word … Nazi

Software company GitHub is taking a lot of heat for firing a Jewish employee for referring to the people who stormed the Capitol on January 6 as "Nazis." The Verge has the details:
GitHub reportedly fired a Jewish employee after he posted a message in Slack that said "stay safe homies, Nazis are about" the day of the attack on the US Capitol….

The message sparked controversy inside the company, with one colleague criticizing him for using divisive language. GitHub's HR team chastised the employee for using the word "Nazi" in a company Slack channel. Two days later, GitHub allegedly fired him, citing vague patterns of behavior. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Coronavirus Update 1-12-2021: 8 of the 10 deadliest days in US history are because of Covid

While we've all been mentally overcome by the rebellion that unfolded at the Capitol and the civil war that I fear it started, Covid-19 continues to rage around the country. Hundreds of thousands are falling ill each day, hospitals are stretched to capacity, and thousands are dying daily. The circle of people with Covid is closing in personally, and the number of calls I am receiving from clients with the question, "We've had an employee test positive; what do we do," has increased exponentially. All the while, the rollout of the vaccine, which was supposed to save us from this pandemic, has been too slow and uneven. 

The bottom line is that Covid-19 continues to win. 

Monday, January 11, 2021

“Beware systemic discrimination,” says EEOC to employers

Systemic discrimination has multiple meanings, according to the EEOC:
  • A "pattern or practice, policy, and/or class cases where the discrimination has a broad impact on an industry, profession, company, or geographic location."
  • "Bias that is built into systems, originating in the way work is organized," referring to "structures that shape the work environment or employment prospects differently for different types of workers."
  • "Patterns of behavior that develop within organizations that disadvantage certain employees and become harmful to productivity."
Regardless of you define it, in a report published last Friday, the EEOC says that it pursuing systemic discrimination as an enforcement priority to dismantle the pattern, practice, or policy that results in or facilitates discriminatory decisions.