Tuesday, July 16, 2019

A handy FAQ for service animals in the workplace

A local Subway recently earned itself some bad publicity when an employee denied access to a customer with a service dog.

While this story involved a customer, and not an employee, it did get me thinking about employee service dogs at work.

I created this handy FAQ on service dogs at work for your reference.

Monday, July 15, 2019

The 13th nominee for the “worst employer of 2019” is … the excoriating executives

It’s been nearly a month since I posted the last nominee for 2019’s Worst Employer. It’s not for lack of ideas; it’s just that the prior nominees have been so awful that the bar for qualification has been set pretty high. Thankfully, France Télécom has come to the rescue.

What did the former top executives at France’s national phone company do to earn their nomination?

Friday, July 12, 2019

WIRTW #559 (the “Happy Birthday D-Man” edition)

This guy turns 11 on Sunday.

Happy birthday Donovan! Please keep making us smile.

Here’s what I read the past two weeks.


HR & Employee Relations


Wage & Hour


OSHA & Safety

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Rob Mendez won the Jimmy V Award at last night’s ESPYS, and it might be the most inspiring thing you’ve ever seen

Rob Mendez coaches the JV football team at Prospect High School in Saratoga, California. He’s also lived his entire life with no arms and no legs. He was born with tetra-amelia syndrome, an extremely rare genetic disorder that prevented their embryonic formation. You can read Rob’s entire (and entirely) compelling story at this ESPN feature story, or watch it in this Jon Hamm-narrated featurette.

Last night, at ESPN’s annual sports awards, the network honored Rob Mendez with its Jimmy V Award for Perseverance.

As compelling and inspiring as he and his story are, so was his acceptance speech last night.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Why are employers testing job applicants for prescription medications?

During a pre-employment medical examination and drug screen, an applicant tests positive for Alprazolam, the generic form of Xanax (a medication commonly prescribed for anxiety), a fact she had already disclosed during the examination. The doctor performing the medical exam and reviewing the drug screen concludes that the applicant is medically acceptable for work as an intake specialist at an inpatient mental health facility. The employer, however, has other ideas. It withdraws the job offer without providing the applicant any opportunity to discuss the results.

The applicant sues, claiming disability discrimination.

Who wins?

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

NLRB offers significant and important guidance on its new(ish) employee handbook rules

It’s been just over 18 months since the NLRB decided Boeing Co., perhaps its most significant decision in decades. It rewrote more than a decade of precedent by overturning its Lutheran Heritage standard regarding when facially neutral employment policies violate the rights of employees to engage in concerted activity protected by section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act.

In Boeing, the Board scrapped Lutheran Heritage’s “reasonably construe” test (a work rule violates section 7 if an employee could “reasonably construe” an infringement of their section 7 rights) with a test that balances “asserted business justifications and the invasion of employee rights” by weighing “(i) the nature and extent of the potential impact on NLRA rights, and (ii) legitimate justifications associated with the requirement(s).” It was a huge win for employers drafting and issuing workplace policies.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Why, yesterday, in France was a stadium full of people chanting “EQUAL PAY?”

Indisputable fact no. 1: Women and men should earn the same pay for the same work.

Indisputable fact no. 2: The players on the United States women’s national soccer team earn substantially less than their counterparts on the men’s team.

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.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

4 ways your employees are like a new puppy

We are on day 5 of new puppy in the Hyman household. Dante is adjusting well, as are we (including big sister Loula … more or less). It’s been 7 years since we last raised a puppy. And the thing I forgot the most is just how many rules there are.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

There’s no such thing as “reverse” discrimination—it’s all just discrimination

According to the New York Post, a Caucasian 20-year veteran attorney for the Legal Aid Society is suing her former employer for race discrimination. Among other issues in her lawsuit, she claims that she was denied a lateral move “because of ‘diversity considerations.’”

Do you know that some courts impose a different, higher legal standard for discrimination against white employees than for discrimination against African-American employees?

Monday, July 1, 2019

Don’t forget about overtime pay when providing bonuses to non-exempt employees

Last week Chipotle announced a new bonus plan that could earn its employees up to an extra month of pay each year. Per the chain’s press release, the program is offered quarterly and can result in a bonus worth one week’s pay, calculated as an individual’s average weekly pay per quarter. To qualify for the quarterly bonus program, restaurant teams must meet certain sales and cash goals.

This bonus program has the potential to be a great way for the restaurant to break through in a tight labor market to attract talent. It also, however, has the potential to pose an FLSA nightmare. Bonus payments often count as part of a non-exempt employee’s regular rate of pay, thereby increasing the overtime premium owed to that employee.

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