Careful before you fire an openly racist employee – the feds may come after you

A company that fired an employee for violating its workplace anti-harassment policies by making racist remarks on a picket line has been ordered to give him his job back with back pay plus interest. The fired employee, who was a member of the United Steelworkers union, had made the racist statements in 2012 while on…

U.S. Labor Department Updates FMLA Forms, Now good through May 31, 2018

The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor, which is responsible for administering and enforcing the Family Medical Leave Act for most employees, has published new FMLA forms on its web site. The revisions are not very dramatic, notably including references to the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA). The revised…

Retaliation Claims in the Workplace: A growing threat for employers

In 2014, 3,261 claims of workplace retaliation were filed against employers in Florida with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC concluded that fully 63% of them had no basis, and yet employers were forced to spend considerable amounts of time and money in defending them. Texas, Florida, and California were the…

Lakeland Eye Clinic will Pay $150,000 to Settle Transgender Discrimination Suit

In its continuing legal crusade to prevent workplace discrimination against transgender employees, the EEOC has sued a Lakeland, Florida, eye care facility and quickly settled the case for a $150,000.00 payment and the institution of an employee training program. The settling employer is Lakeland Eye Clinic, P.A. (“LEC”), an organization of health care professionals including…

If You Call Your Boss a “Nasty M-F” You Will Get Fired, Right?

No, not if you are engaging in “protected, concerted” activity, according to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). In another in a continuing series of decisions protecting employees who post negative comments online on Facebook about their employers, a three-member panel of the NLRB has ordered that Hernan Perez be reinstated to his server’s job…

It’s Time to Update Employee Handbooks

It is always a good idea for private sector employers to review their employee handbooks or manuals periodically to make sure that they are in compliance with constantly changing local, state, and federal workplace laws and court and agency decisions. A recent memorandum issued by the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB),…

Domestic Service Employees Who Provide “Companionship Services” To Elderly And Sick People Now Protected By Federal Wage Laws

Effective on January 1, 2015, a new U.S. Labor Department regulation will extend minimum wage and overtime protections to home care workers, one of the fastest-growing occupations in the country. About two million Americans will benefit from the new policy in that they will now be protected by the minimum wage, overtime, and recordkeeping provisions…

Obama Administration Adds Transgender Protections Not Enacted By Congress

Acting unilaterally to expand federal civil rights laws to protect transgenders in the workplace – although Congress has failed to do so – the Obama Administration has announced that it will push forward with its own interpretation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Reversing the prior position of the U.S. Justice Department,…

Favoring Unions, NLRB Grants Employees The Right To Organize Using Their Employers’ Email Systems During Nonworking Time

The National Labor Relations Board has decided, 3-2, that employees have a right to use their employers’ e-mail systems for communicating about union organizing during breaks and other nonworking time. The 76-page decision, which favors labor unions, overruled a seven-year-old board ruling which had found the opposite. In doing so, the Board gave preference to…

Florida State Senator Seeks Prohibition On Checking Job Applicants’ Criminal Records

If it is approved in the next Florida legislative session, a proposed new state law would prohibit private employers from inquiring into, or considering, a job applicant’s criminal history on an initial employment application. Such screenings would only be allowed after the employer has determined that a job applicant meets the minimum requirements to qualify…