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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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29 Nov 2017 Part 3: Sex, Power, and the Workplace – The Books of Etiquette

  Skip the holiday turkey or the $25 gift certificate. This year, give a gift to your employees that will have a lasting impact on how they treat each other.   Give everyone a book of etiquette.   I’m serious. Make them read it, too. Reviving the lost rules of proper conduct could go a long way in reducing workplace misconduct of all kinds—including sexual harassment (the list is growing every day), other harassment and discrimination, bullying, rudeness, and personality conflicts. Recently, good behavior and…

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28 Nov 2017 Part 2: Sex, Power, and the Workplace – Preventing the Backlash

  Are workplaces at risk for a backlash? How do we preserve and continue to advance opportunities for women when their male coworkers are worried? Worried about exactly where the line is between friendliness and sexual harassment at work? A recent New York Times article raised this question with men at work, who wondered about their own behavior, and also raise concern for their female coworkers.   In general, although women at work acknowledge the recent conversation about sexual harassment is overdue, they now worry…

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27 Nov 2017 Part 1: Sex, Power, and the Workplace – Why Is This So Complicated?

  Today’s national conversation about sexual misconduct is long overdue. As noted by firm partner, Norma Zeitler, in her thoughtful blog post, sexual harassment in the workplace has been tolerated for too long. Yet, the never-ending series of exposés, confessions, and “#metoo” posts tends to land in one giant bucket of wicked. No nuance; no context; no gray. Just black and white.   It’s so much more complicated than that. Of course, we are horrified to hear about the crime that involves the alleged seduction and potential rape…

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16 Oct 2017 The Government Seal on EEOC Anti-Harassment Training: Is It Worth It?

  Does putting the U.S. government seal on workplace training make it more or less appealing? The EEOC’s recent announcement that it is offering workplace training modules on Respect in the Workplace has colleagues on the employment and human resources circuit asking each other, “At its core, is this a really a good idea for us?”   After all, there appear to be some immediate advantages: Pre-packaged. The EEOC is offering turn-key, ready-to-deliver training for employees. Let’s face it, who has enough time to develop and…

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06 Oct 2017 R-E-S-P-E-C-T in the Workplace? The EEOC Becomes Trainer-in-Chief

  The EEOC announced this week that it is launching training programs to help employers foster respectful, inclusive work environments.   The EEOC Training Institute is offering to send trainers into your workplace and lead separate modules for supervisors and employees. Supervisor training titled “Leading for Respect” is a four-hour program; the one for all employees, “Respect in the Workplace,” is a three-hour program.   This week’s announcement culminates a long inquiry into workplace harassment. In January 2015, the EEOC formed the Select Task Force…

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11 Sep 2017 U.S. Supreme Court is Asked to Answer the Question: What Do You Mean by ‘Sex’?

  We knew this question would be asked. On Sept. 7, a petition was filed in this country’s highest court, asking it to settle the ongoing debate of whether Title VII’s prohibition against sex discrimination includes discrimination based on sexual orientation.   The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit case, Jameka K. Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital, et al., involves a gay female security guard at a Georgia hospital who was allegedly harassed and not promoted because of her sexual orientation. She sued the hospital…

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26 Jul 2017 DOL Invites Public Input: Rethinking the Stalled Questions on Overtime

  Perhaps lost amidst other issues in Washington, D.C., the Department of Labor (DOL) announced on July 25 that it is tackling the long-awaited questions about overtime regulations.   The DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is publishing a formal Request for Information that asks for public feedback on the Obama administration’s overtime rule. Once the RFI is published in the Federal Register, the public will have 60 days to submit comments. You’ll remember that the overtime regulations, which doubled the minimum salary levels for…

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28 Mar 2017 Update on Trump’s Line-Up for DOL and Supreme Court

  Regulation-weary employers excitedly anticipated the new Trump Administration – and its promises that ranged from repealing the Affordable Care Act to appointing a friendly U.S. Supreme Court Justice to abolishing the fiduciary and overtime regulations. But, change often comes slowly in government, and employer expectations have been frustratingly delayed by some unexpected upsets on Capitol Hill. Apart from the last-minute decision to withdraw the GOP healthcare bill, here’s a quick update on two key Trump nominees.   Secretary of Labor   The ill-fated nomination…

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13 Feb 2017 Blog Update: North Carolina Business that Fired Pregnant Employee Agrees to Three-Year Consent Decree with EEOC

  If there’s anything worse than government regulation, perhaps it’s the government breathing down your neck for the next three years. That is what a North Carolina furniture company is facing after it was sued for pregnancy discrimination last summer by the EEOC.   You might remember our blog post last summer about the EEOC’s lawsuit against RTG Furniture Corp. of Georgia d/b/a Rooms to Go (RTG) that fired a pregnant employee who was working with potentially dangerous chemicals. The EEOC had accused RTG of…

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15 Nov 2016 The World According to Trump: Trump’s Impact on Traditional Labor

  The NLRB has been a quintessential symbol of organized labor in the United States. Under President Obama, the NLRB’s resurgent influence under President Obama breathed new life into unions, and extended its reach of employee-friendly policies into non-union businesses. What can we expect under President Donald Trump?   It is worth noting that the election statistics show President-elect Trump’s success stemmed, in part, from uncharacteristic support of union households, who were apparently determined to regain protections for the working class. Now that Trump emerged…

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