Monday, June 23, 2014

That is SO last week

Employment law is not taking a vacation this summer. In addition to the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision recently reported here, there’s been a proposed rule extending FMLA protection for the care of same-sex spouses, and now there’s an Executive Order worth noting.
The Executive Order, which will have an impact on private employers, represents one of the steps President Obama is taking to eliminate discrimination in employment on the basis of sexual orientation.  It prohibits such discrimination by federal contractors, regardless of where in the country they perform work for the United States government.  Federal contractors nationwide will now join employers affected by similar prohibitions against sexual orientation discrimination in twenty-one states, including Massachusetts, Minnesota, and California.  The remaining states (and Congress) have yet to take similar action for all employers, but as state laws recognizing same-sex marriage increase, parallel employment discrimination laws will likely increase as well.
Other developments last week:
  • While controversy over the Washington Redskins name continues, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office took away the trademark, stating that the team’s nickname is disparaging to Native Americans.
  • In the face of nine known sexual harassment complaints and an on-going investigation,  American Apparel’s CEO was ousted on Wednesday. He appears to be itching for a fight over whether he was actually terminated “for cause.”
  • While some states are now requiring employers provide additional pregnancy accommodations, the EEOC reached a $25,000 settlement with a cleaning company over pregnancy discrimination.
  • Robin Shea provided a primer on the interactive process under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Monitoring employees through the use of technology raises more than a few privacy concerns, as discussed by The New York Times.
  • NPR reviewed a new software which evaluates whether employees are stealing trade secrets.
  • Should you outsource a social media background check?  HRHero says no.  (We say not without a FCRA notice.)
  • The National Labor Relations Board General Counsel criticized the long-standing rule on employee use of email technology, suggesting that the current NLRB might allow union organizers to use an employer’s own email system for organizing.
Posted by: Kate Bischoff

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