Religion is also a hot-button workplace issue in December because so many different religious groups celebrate different holidays in December. For example: Christians commemorate the birth of Jesus at Christmas; Buddhists celebrate Buddha’s Enlightenment with Bodhi Day; Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights; African-Americans celebrate Kwanzaa, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha, or the Feast
As much as everyone loves them, the holidays create increased risk of employer liability and can result in a long list of legal problems for an unprepared employer. As our holiday gift to you, we’ve put together our top five holiday headaches employers, which will be provided to you in a week-long series starting today.
Continue Reading ‘Tis the Season for Holiday Workplace Issues. Day 1 – Avoiding Holiday Party Liability When the Office Santa Tries to Teach His Employees a Few “Reindeer Games”
In Nitro-Lift Technologies, L.L.C. v. Howard, the U.S. Supreme Court this week held that if a contract contains an arbitration provision and there is a challenge to the validity of the contract, it is for the arbitrator and not a court to hear that challenge. The case is important for employers because the challenge was to the validity of a non-competition agreement.
Continue Reading United States Supreme Court: A Challenge To The Enforceability Of A Non-Competition Agreement Must Be Presented To The Arbitrator, And Not A Court, If The Contract Contains An Arbitration Provision
As we told reminded you last month here, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), the agency that has enforcement responsibility over the Fair Credit Report Act (“Act”), revised the forms which employers must use to comply with the FCRA, effective January 1, 2013. There was only one little problem with the forms the CFPB provided for use: They contained various typos and technical errors that the CFPB now has recognized in its Supplementary Information in the November 14, Federal Register Notice.
Continue Reading Not So Fast … CFPB Issues Revised Forms for FCRA Compliance by January 1, 2013, First Ones Contained Typos and Other Errors
By now, you should know that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has issued “Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions”, which is designed to restrict criminal background checks by employers, but you may not know that enforcement responsibility for the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) has been transferred from the Federal Trade Commission to the recently created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”).
Continue Reading Complying with the FCRA Amendments Before January 1, 2013 – a Step-By-Step Guide
Election Day will soon be upon us, and with that comes some common questions from employers about what they must do regarding employees who take off work or arrive late to work to vote.
Continue Reading What Ohio Employers Need to Know About Employees Taking Time Off to Vote
Charlotte Beck had been employed with Buckeye Pipeline Services Company (“Buckeye”) for over 16 years as a 12-hour operator. In 2009, however, Buckeye underwent a company-wide reduction in force. Buckeye created a “design team” to reform the organizational structure of the Company and implement a team-based leadership model that would be used going forward.
Continue Reading Does the Use of Subjective Criteria in a RIF Show Discrimination? The Sixth Circuit Says Not Necessarily
In a case that vividly demonstrates how employers are vulnerable to insider cyber attacks, a recent federal court decision out of the Southern District of Ohio addressed the scope of federal statutes designed to address such activity.
Continue Reading State Tort and CFAA Claims Survive Motion to Dismiss In Ohio Employee Cyberhacking Case.
Employers adopting social media policies have to consider whether they would be struck down by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) if challenged as invalid under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act.
Continue Reading First NLRB Decision on Employer Social Media Policies
Presume for a moment an employee complains to Human Resources that a co-worker’s perfume makes her want to choke. The workplace sometimes brings us "closer" together and one worker’s scent can be another worker’s source of distraction or even discomfort. If the complaining employee’s problem is just a matter of personal preference, then the employer has no legal duty to take action, but may want to explore a diplomatic way to resolve the dispute. On the other hand, a recent decision by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio shows that, in some circumstances, this issue can result in a legal challenge.
In Core v. Champaign Cty. Board of County Commissioners, (S.D. Ohio No. 3:11-CV-00166), an employee sued the County under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and under Ohio disability discrimination law for not accommodating her request for a "fragrance-free" workplace policy. The employee suffered from severe asthma and chemical sensitivity to certain perfumes and other scents. She began experiencing difficulty breathing at work when co-workers in her proximity were wearing a perfume called "Japanese Cherry Blossom." According to the Complaint, her initial request that the employer ask employees to refrain from wearing that perfume went unheeded. Her symptoms became more severe and eventually she had to have emergency medical treatment.
Shortly after the employee sought medical treatment, co-workers began to mock her, including in Facebook posts making fun of her condition. She also alleges that employees began to wear the perfume intentionally around her and that the employer took no action to stop this conduct.
The employee presented a request to the employer signed by a nurse practitioner asking that co-workers be advised of the employee’s sensitivity and that they be asked to avoid use of the perfume. The employer apparently communicated by email to employees asking that they not approach the employee personally, and instead communicate with her only by telephone or email. The employer also asked the employee to attempt to have face-to-face conversations with staff only in well-ventilated, open areas of the office.…