Tuesday, January 21, 2020

You can't prove age discrimination if you're replaced by someone older

Crescent Metal Products fired Donald Tschappatt for a variety of instances of poor work performance. He made "negative comments" about co-workers. He stood around doing nothing and disappeared from his work area. He took extended bathroom breaks. And he made various assembly and packing errors.

After the company fired the 55-year-old Tschappatt, he sued for age discrimination.

The problem with Tschappatt's claim? Crescent Metal Products replaced him with someone six years older. That's not a great fact for an employee claiming age discrimination.

Friday, January 17, 2020

WIRTW #583 (the “Portugal (not the man)” edition)

Last year I asked y’all to share your tips on travel to Italy. And you came through. So, I thought I’d try again this year, with Portugal. We’ll be there for 8 days in late March, and are planning to visit Lisbon, Sintra, and Porto.

If you’ve been—
  • What other towns are worth visiting?
  • Can’t miss things to see and do?
  • Must eat foods / restaurants?

Thanks! I figure it never hurts to crowdsource your vacation planning.

Here’s what I read this week:

Thursday, January 16, 2020

“OK Boomer” makes its Supreme Court debut

Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Babb v. Wilkie, which will decide whether the “but-for” causation standard of proof applicable to private-sector employees in age discrimination claims under the ADEA also applies to federal-sector agency employees.

Even for this employment-law geek, not the most scintillating of cases.

That is, until Chief Justice Roberts (a Boomer) posed this question to the plaintiff’s counsel during oral argument:

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Frivolous litigation has a price … sometimes a big price

In 2005, Monika Starke filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC alleging that her employer, CRST Van Expedited, Inc., subjected her to sexual harassment. The EEOC expanded that initial charge into a federal-court lawsuit over whether CRST engaged in sexual harassment against myriad of its female driver trainees.

What followed was 14 years of litigation, several trips to the court of appeals, one trip to the U.S. Supreme Court, and an attorney-fee award of over $3.3 million against the EEOC for frivolous, unreasonable, or groundless conduct in the filing and prosecution of the underlying claims.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

DOL provides employers much needed clarity on joint employment

Joint employment is a legal theory in which the operations of two employers are so intertwined that each is legally responsible for the misdeeds (and the liabilities that flow from those misdeeds) of the other. It’s also a legal theory with which federal agencies and courts have struggled over the past several years.

Monday, January 13, 2020

CBS News misrepresents an employer’s obligation to accommodate an employee’s pregnancy

I watched with great interest yesterday story on CBS Sunday Morning about an employer’s obligation to accommodate an employee’s pregnancy. The report told the stories of various women who lost their jobs because their employers refused to reasonably accommodate their pregnancies, all in the context of a call to pass a federal law mandating reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers.

According to CBS News: “[U]nder the current federal law, while employers are prohibited from firing or refusing to hire pregnant workers, they aren’t always required to make any on-the-job accommodations, such as offering more bathroom breaks or temporary desk jobs.”

That statement, however, distorts and undersells the current state of the law.

Friday, January 10, 2020

WIRTW #582 (the “Rock Off” edition)

On Feb. 1, my daughter's band, Fake ID, will compete in the 2020 Tri-C High School Rock Off. The Rock Off is in its 24th year and is one of the biggest (and most prestigious) competitions for high school rock bands anywhere.

Tickets are only $10, include full access to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (where the event is held, and usually a $28 admission ticket on its own), and help support the band you buy them from. Email me if you'd like tickets.

Here's what I read this week.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Ohio legislature refuses to move on LGBTQ employment protections despite strong state-wide, bipartisan support to the contrary

There is no law in the state of Ohio that prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Ohio Fairness Act—otherwise known as House Bill 369 and Senate Bill 11—seeks to change this legal abomination.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

The 2nd nominee for the “worst employer of 2020” is … the uncaring chief

Three posts into 2020 and we already have our second nominee for the year’s worst employer. And this one is just plain awful.

From Salt Lake City’s Fox 13 News:

A mother is filing a lawsuit against a Salt Lake City-based company after she claims they fired her once they learned her son had cancer. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Federal appeals court orders NLRB to determine whether workplace harassment laws trump the National Labor Relations Act

You might recall Constellium Rolled Products Ravenswood, a 2018 NLRB case in which the Board held that offensive graffiti scrawled on an employee’s timesheet (“whore board”) constituted a lawful exercise of protected concerted activity.

Recently, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals held that the NLRB shirked its responsibility by not considering addressing any alleged conflict between its interpretation of the NLRA and the Company’s obligations under state and federal equal employment opportunity laws to maintain a harassment-free workplace.

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