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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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04 Apr 2018 Sex, Power & the Workplace Responding to the Skeptics Q&A: Part 2

Last week, we ventured into provocative questions surrounding the current emphasis on workplace sexual harassment. Our Q&A series continues:   Why are only rich men being sued for sexual harassment?   When I was presented with this precise question recently, I sensed a healthy dose of suspicion; that is, a tendency to believe that the women making these accusations are engaged in simple money-grab. Perhaps that is true; there are some who overreact to behavior that is neither severe, nor pervasive. But, our collective experience…

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31 Mar 2018 Sex, Power & the Workplace: Responding to the Skeptics

  For every believer, there is a skeptic.   For the better part of 25 years, I have been questioned and challenged about sexual harassment, leading (I hope) to my deeper understanding about the everyday difficulties of tackling workplace conduct. Recently, in the wake of speaking engagements, training sessions, and panel discussions, those questions have multiplied and accelerated. Most of them are thoughtful inquiries, and I never have enough time to answer them. Here are a couple questions that I keep hearing and my theories…

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30 Mar 2018 When Paying Less Can Cost You More: Pay Inequality

What do three New York City lawyers, the Queen of England, a preschool teacher, a service center manager and a township accountant all have in common?  Here’s a hint:  we are fast-approaching the April 4 date that symbolically marks how much longer full-time female workers need to work in order to equal the pay earned by their male counterparts the year before. The answer to the question of course, is that each of the “employees” listed above play starring roles in the midst of a…

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30 Mar 2018 Legislating Away Harassment? 3 Main Legislative Paths So Far in the #MeToo Era

As Currents readers know, we have been closely tracking the tremendous buzz that has arisen from several months of high profile sexual harassment (and worse) reports and allegations involving high profile men, and what changes might transpire as a result.  While many legal developments that seem like big deals when the law is passed or the case is decided ultimately don’t significantly change employers’ day to day lives, it seems that something more significant is afoot here … exactly what that something is is still…

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28 Mar 2018 Employment Posters and Policies – Is There A Duty To Translate?

When setting workplace expectations, proactive employers should recognize the varying levels of literacy and English fluency in today’s workforce, as well as the need for employment information to be accessible to individuals with disabilities. Plain English policies, which are clear to the average reader, are important.  But is there a duty to translate key employment documents or information?   Under federal law, there are at least three instances in which an employer may be required to provide notices in a language other than English:  …

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27 Mar 2018 Will You Agree to an Inclusion Rider?

  During the March 4 Academy Awards, actor Frances McDormand introduced a national audience to the diversity-focused contract provision known as an “inclusion rider.” It requires producers to set inclusion goals for on-screen and off-screen talent from under-represented groups. Such goals are intended to “reflect the world in which we actually live.” In a given production, such a rider might establish a goal that the cast be 50% female, 40% under-represented ethnic groups, 20% people with disabilities and 5% LGBT.   Employers large and small…

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23 Mar 2018 Medical Marijuana is Coming to Ohio– What Employers Need to Know

  In 2016, Ohio approved the legalization of medical marijuana, but the law does not go into effect until September 2018. Some Ohio business owners might be nervous at the prospect of employees soon having greater access to marijuana, but they needn’t worry, as the law was written in a pro-employer manner.   Nothing in Ohio’s medical marijuana law:   Requires employers to accommodate an employee’s use, possession, or distribution of marijuana in the workplace Prohibits employers from disciplining, terminating, refusing to hire, or otherwise…

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20 Mar 2018 The Box & 1: Defense Strategy against Harassment

  Not even the upsets and unpredictability of one of college basketball fans’ favorite weekends would have revealed much of the old-school “Box & 1 Defense.” But, it may be time to resurrect the Box & 1 defensive strategy as an effective program against harassment.   The “Box-and-1” in basketball is a hybrid defense: four defenders represent the corners of a box as the core of the defense. Then, the “one” is the best defender doggedly guarding the opponent’s biggest scoring threat. Applying the Box-and-1…

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12 Mar 2018 Sixth Circuit Holds Transgender Status Protected Under Title VII

  On March 7, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit weighed in on the continuing debate surrounding the scope of Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination. In a landmark decision, the court ruled that Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of transgender and transitioning status and further held that bare compliance with Title VII presents no substantial burden upon an employer’s sincerely held religious beliefs, precluding a defense under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”).   In EEOC v. R.G. &…

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05 Mar 2018 Which Side Will Justice Gorsuch Fall On Public Sector Union Fees?

  Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard the issue of whether public sector agency shop arrangements violate the First Amendment.   Hearing this issue for a second time, the court will decide whether to overturn a 1977 ruling that held that the service charges used to finance expenditures by the public sector union for collective bargaining, contract administration, and grievance adjustment purposes, are valid, even if the public employee is not a union member.   Just last year, the court examined this very issue in…

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