Mastodon Ohio Employer Law Blog : Ohio Employment and Labor Law, by Jon Hyman

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Update on Creature Comfort Brewing’s union organizing


Last week I reported that the employees of Creature Comforts Brewing Co. formed their own independent labor union, the Brewing Union of Georgia (aka BUG) and announced their intent to unionize their workplace.

A lot can happen in a week.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Offensive social media posts doom airline employee’s discrimination claim


"If I were Black in America, I think I'd get down on my knees every day and thank my lucky stars that my ancestors were brought over here as slaves."

"Have you lost your cotton pickin' mind?"

"Too many [blue-eyed people] are reproducing with Brown Eyed People."

Those are three examples of Colleen Koslosky's (a former American Airlines customer service agent) Facebook posts that went viral and caused her employer to fire her.

She claimed the airline fired her because of her disability — nerve damage and edema in her leg — based on its prior denial of a reasonable accommodation. The employer, on the other hand, argued that it properly fired her after Koslosky's posts went viral, customers complained, and employees refused to work with someone they believed was "racist." 

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals had little difficultly affirming the dismissal of Koslosky's lawsuit.

She … claims that a male American customer service employee who was not disciplined for his social media posts disparaging Trump voters — calling them "ignorant rednecks" and "uneducated racist white people." Koslosky does not argue American management knew about her colleague's inflammatory social media posts. This is dispositive. …

As Koslosky points to no evidence of pretext, we are thus left with one conclusion: American fired her because her racially insensitive social media posts violated its policies and generated an outcry from employees and customers alike. Because this is a legitimate justification for her ouster, we are not persuaded that the company violated any law here.

This employee had no business keeping her job or winning a discrimination lawsuit. Employees are absolutely responsible for what the post on their personal social media, and need to understand that their employer can, should, and will hold them accountable when warranted. In this case, it was warranted. 

Monday, January 23, 2023

The BIG risk of misclassifying employees as independent contractors


A national auto parts distributor has reached a settlement with the Department of Labor to pay a total of $5.6 million in back pay and liquidated damages (plus interest) to 1,398 drivers misclassified as independent contractors. The payments to the individual drivers are as low as $40 and as high as more than $120,000.

Friday, January 20, 2023

WIRTW #657: the “Let me buy you a beer” edition


From Jan. 30 – Feb. 1, the Ohio Craft Brewers Conference is taking place in Cleveland. My firm and I are playing a prominent role. 

  • On Jan. 30 we are sponsoring the opening reception at Forest City Brewery, from 5:30 - 7 pm. If you've never been, it's an amazing space, a restored 19th century brewery building. It has the oldest (and, imho, most beautiful) beer garden in Ohio, and one of the oldest in the nation … although it might be a tad cold to fully enjoy it. Forest City also produces some of the best beer in NE Ohio — I recommend the Opening Day IPA and the Hootenanny (a kölsch). Finally, Apostle Jones, a local rock and soul band, is providing the musical entertainment. They are not to be missed. Look for me at the Wickens Herzer Panza table (where we'll have some nice giveaways) or milling about the brewery. Stop and say hi and I'll be sure to buy you a beer. This is an open event and you do not have to be registered for the conference to attend.
  • On Feb. 1, at 11 am, I am speaking in the Fundamentals Room on Crafting Your Craft Brewery’s Employee Handbook
I hope to see you there. Cheers!

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

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

What does Creature Comfort’s union announcement mean for your craft brewery?


The employees of Creature Comforts Brewing Co. recently held a rally to announce their intent to form a labor union. They also announced the formation of the Brewing Union of Georgia, an independent union created by the brewery's employees with the stated goal of spreading their movement across their state. Despite the union's "independence," it has received assistance and guidance from assistance from the United Campus Workers of Georgia and the Workers Center at the Economic Justice Coalition.

This is HUGE news for the craft beer industry.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Dress codes and gender biases


Women are prohibited from showing their bare arms.
Women are required to cover their dress with a second layer.

These are two new rules the Missouri House of Representatives enacted for its current term. It did not enact any new dress code policies for men. That's a big discriminatory problem. 

Monday, January 16, 2023

Dr. King’s struggle has not ended


“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”