Leading Occupations of Women

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn April 16, 2010In: Women In (and Out of) the Workplace

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The Department of Labor's Women's Bureau released its list of the 20 Leading Occupations of Employed Women.  The data supports stereotypes such as "nursing is a woman's job" and "all secretaries are female."  There were some jobs, though, that I was surprised to learn are largely held by women, including customer-service representatives and accountants and auditors.  Here are the other 18 jobs and the percentage of each held by women, according to the DOL:

 

Secretaries and administrative assistants 

96.8       

Registered nurses

92.0      

Elementary and middle school teachers

81.9      

Cashiers

74.4

Nursing, psychiatric, and home-health aides

88.5

Retail salespersons

51.9

First-line supervisors/managers  of retail sales workers

44.1

Waiters and waitresses

71.6

Maids and housekeeping cleaners

89.8      

Customer service representatives

67.9

Childcare workers

95.1

Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks

92.3

Receptionists and information clerks

91.5

First-line supervisors/managers of office and admin support

71.3

Managers, all others

34.1

Accountants and auditors

61.8

Teacher assistants

91.6

Cooks

41.5

Office clerks, general

82.0

Personal and home care aides

85.2

See the original:

20 Leading Occupations of Employed Women Fact Sheet  at the U.S. Department of Labor Women's Bureau website.

3d Cir. Finds Accommodation Required for Employee Without a Ride to Work

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn April 16, 2010In: Disabilities (ADA)

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 Colwell v. Rite Aid Corp., is an accommodation case brought under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), recently decided by the Third Circuit, which hears appeals from the federal courts of Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Jon Hyman, at the Ohio Employer's Law Blog, was the first to post about the Colwell opinion, noting that the decision offers employers some key reminders about best practices when dealing with an employee’s request for accommodations made pursuant to the ADA.

Facts

The plaintiff, Colwell, was hired in April 2005 as a part-time clerk at one of Defendant Rite-Aid’s stores. Her schedule varied but she generally worked the 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. shift or the 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. shift. During the summer, she was diagnosed with retinal vein occlusion and glaucoma in her left eye and she later lost vision in her left eye. As a result, she could no longer drive at night.

Because she lived in an area without public transportation or taxis, Colwell had no reliable way to get to work for the evening shift. She asked to be assigned only to the day shifts but her supervisor refused, saying that it “wouldn’t be fair” to other employees. Colwell provided her supervisor with a doctor’s note as proof that she could not drive at night. Again, her supervisor declined Colwell’s request to be assigned only to day shifts. Colwell had to rely on family members to transport her to and from work on the days she was scheduled to work at night.

Colwell contacted her local union representative, who tried unsuccessfully to convince the supervisor to accommodate Colwell’s request. The union rep set up a meeting for him and Colwell to meet in person with the supervisor but he failed to show up and the meeting was canceled.

Colwell, who had grown weary of the whole situation, submitted her letter of resignation. She filed suit a few months later.

The Employer’s Argument

As its defense to Colwell’s claims, Rite Aid argued that it had no duty to accommodate Colwell’s request because an employee’s commute to and from work is not sufficiently related to the job and, therefore, not the proper subject of an accommodation. This is an important point. The parties agreed that Colwell did not need an accommodation once she got to work—the question in this case was whether the employer had a duty to provide an accommodation to enable her to get there in the first place. The trial court agreed with Rite Aid, and held:

the ADA is designed to cover barriers to an employee’s ability to work that exist inside the workplace, not difficulties over which the employer has no control.

The district court went on to find that imputing a duty to accommodate Colwell’s request was tantamount to “mak[ing] an employer responsible for how an employee gets to work, a situation which expands the employer’s responsibility beyond the ADA’s intentions.” Colwell appealed.

The Third Circuit’s Ruling

On appeal, the question before the Third Circuit was “whether a shift-change request can be considered a reasonable accommodation for an employee who cannot drive at night” because of a disability. Before the Third Circuit, Rite Aid argued that it did not have a duty to accommodate Colwell’s request. In fact, it argued, it did not have a duty to even consider her request because her “difficulties amounted to a commuting problem unrelated to the workplace and the ADA does not obligate employers to address such difficulties.”  The Third Circuit disagreed and ruled that, as a matter of law:

the ADA does contemplate an accommodation that involves a shift change to “alleviate [an employee’s] disability-related difficulties in getting to work.”

Here’s the basic rationale.

First, the court pointed to language in the ADA that specifically provides that a shift change may constitute a “reasonable accommodation.” Thus, a change in shifts is a change in a workplace condition entirely under the employer’s control.

Second, the court explained that, despite Rite Aid’s argument to the contrary, the scheduling of shifts is something done inside the workplace. The court distinguished this from an employee’s request for assistance in getting to work. For example, an employer would not have a duty to provide an employee with transportation to or from work. But an employer does have a duty, where reasonable, to accommodate an employee by changing the times that the employee is required to be at work.

For a Jury to Decide

It’s important to understand that the Third Circuit’s reversal does not mean a “win” for the plaintiff. Instead, the case will be remanded back to the district court for trial. At trial, the jury will be asked to decide which party, Colwell or Rite Aid, failed to meet its obligation to fully participate in the “interactive process” required by the ADA. That decision could go either way.

The jury could find for Colwell, based on the claim that the supervisor’s flat refusal to discuss a possible shift change was not a sufficient attempt at an accommodation. Or the jury could find for Rite Aid, based on the claim that the supervisor had agreed to meet with Colwell and her union rep but when the union rep failed to show up at the meeting, Colwell quit before further discussions could be had.

Alternatively, the jury could find that Rite Aid complied with its duty to engage in the interactive process but, for whatever reason, the shift change was not a viable accommodation. This would be a more difficult burden to meet but not an impossible one.

The Key Lesson

For many employers, this case may seem to have been decided on a technicality. The line between getting an employee to work and giving the employee a shift so that she can get to work seems to be a very thin line indeed. Putting aside the narrow difference, employers should look at the facts on a more basic level to derive the lesson to be learned. In other words, what, if anything, about the supervisor’s response just doesn’t seem fair?

The fact that the supervisor refused to even consider the request doesn’t seem quite right, does it? The supervisor’s immediate response was that a shift change wouldn’t have been “fair” to other employees. That may or may not have been the case. Shouldn’t she have at least bothered to ask the other employees?

The real lesson here is one that is a consistent theme in ADA issues: employers should always try to “work something out” when an employee requests an accommodation due to a disability. If you sit down and discuss the possibilities and then flush out as many options as you can, you will be a far better position.

But do it not because you have to; do it simply because you want to. You want to keep your good performers and not to make employees’ working lives any more burdensome than necessary. This is the same reason employers provide benefits and incentive plans. The same motivation should apply when an employee makes a reasonable request—start with the idea that you want to make the accommodation and take it from there.

 

75 Internet Resources for Better Writing

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn April 14, 2010In: Internet Resources

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**This is a cross-post with my second blog, Going Paperless, which is directed largely towards legal professionals.  It was worthy of posting here, as well, so that's exactly what I'm doing.

 

It’s nearly time for the newest crop of summer associates (or, to the non-legal world, "interns"), to flood law firms across the country.  “Summers,” as they’re called, need a lot of care if lawyers expect them to bloom into the highly sought-after combination of brilliant legal mind and burning desire to work around the clock.

Young Conaway makes a very organized effort to help the summer class acquire as much substantive knowledge as possible by assigning work from actual (as opposed to academic) cases, while still placing “getting-to-know-you” time at a premium.  I’m a graduate of our summer-associate program and take a great deal of pride in both the program and the great lawyers that it helps to produce.

In my opinion, the best thing about our summer program is the writing component, led by John Paschetto.  Lucky participants have their work reviewed by the world’s kindest editor and, by the end of the summer, are writing at a level far beyond where they started a few months earlier.

John mentioned that he was compiling a list of helpful websites and online resources for use in his writing program this summer.  Being the compulsive list maker that I am, I couldn’t help but lend a hand.  I’ve compiled a list of 50 of the best legal-writing resources on the web, plus 25 “just-for-fun” blogs about the horrors of spelling, grammar, and style gone wrong.  (Remember the “fun” component, after all.)

I’m glad to share the list with our readers, regardless of how long it’s been since you were a summer associate.   The entire list is reprinted below but, if you're in a rush, here's a copy in PDF for your research file.  Don't forget to share it with your favorite summer associate!

75 Online Legal-Writing Resources (pdf)

Continue reading "75 Internet Resources for Better Writing" »

Judge Shows Why Employers Should Consider Prohibiting Employees From Posting Anonymously Online

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn April 8, 2010In: Social Media in the Workplace

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A recent story about a judge in Ohio demonstrates why employers, when drafting a social media policy, may want to consider whether employees should be prohibited from posting anonymous comments online. 

More than 80 anonymous, opinionated comments posted on a newspaper’s website were traced back to the personal AOL e-mail account of Ohio Common Pleas Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold.  Many of the comments related to her high-profile cases.

Saffold’s 23-year-old daughter claimed responsibility for the comments but an examination of the judge’s court-issued computer shows that it was used to access the websites at the exact dates and times that the comments were posted. Comments included personal attacks against an attorney’s performance during trial and a statement that a defendant in a murder case was given a lenient decision by a jury because of his race.

Judge Saffold and her daughter are now suing the newspaper for $50 million for its release of her e-mail address (which is how she was "caught," if it turns out that she was, in fact, the poster of the comments).

For more on this dramatic story, see the posts at CitMediaLaw.org and First Amendment Coalition.

For related posts on social media and its impact on the workplace, see:

Breach of Noncompetition Agreement Via LinkedIn

Sure, You Can Use Facebook at Work . . . We’ll Just Monitor What You Post

More Employers Searching Online for the Dirt on Candidates

Sample Social-Media Policy

5 Non-Negotiable Provisions for Your Social-Media Policy

State Off-Duty Conduct Laws and Facebook-Friending Policies

Emerging Technology and Risk Management for Educators

Posted by Maribeth L. MinellaOn April 6, 2010In: Public Sector

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Barry Willoughby and I attended Utica National Insurance Group's 2010 School Risk Management Seminar.  During the seminar, the speakers were kind enough to allow us to generally comment on the topic of what school faculty and staff must know about emerging technology to keep staff and students safe.  The conversation was dynamic and attendees asked some timely and tough questions about things like how to handle staff and student use of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace to how to handle "sexting" at work. 

We will be covering some of these same topics at our 2010 Employment Law seminar.  To give you an idea of what the topic of conversation will be at our Employment Law Seminar, my materials from the School Risk Management Seminar are attached below.  I look forward to seeing you at this year's seminar in the afternoon breakout session, "Special Rules for Schools," which I will be presenting with Michael P. Stafford.

 

Breach of Noncompetition Agreement Via LinkedIn

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn April 3, 2010In: Social Media in the Workplace

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LinkedIn, a social networking site targeted towards professionals, can be used as an online Rolodex—a place to store one’s contacts and a vehicle to maintain professional relationships.  As with all social networking sites, LinkedIn and its potential uses should be on the radar of employers.  One of the potential issues that has been discussed is the ability to make a “recommendation” on LinkedIn, whereby one user can make positive comments about another.  Some critics have raised concerns about the problems that could arise should a former employee file suit for wrongful termination and use a positive recommendation left by his supervisor as evidence to support his claim. 

Another, equally serious concern is the ability of employees to upload client and customer lists as LinkedIn contacts and the inherent loss of control over those contacts resulting to the employer. An offshoot of this problem is the subject of a new lawsuit, which demonstrates yet another way that social media is affecting employers.

Portfolio.com reports about a noncompetition lawsuit filed by TEKSystems, an IT-services and staffing company.  In the suit, TEKSystems names three of its former employees and one of their new employers as defendants.  The suit alleges that the employees breached their noncompete and nonsolicitation obligations by contacting at least 20 of TEKSystem’s contract employees.

So far, the allegations are nothing out of the ordinary in the world of noncompete and nonsolicit lawsuits.  Employee promises not to steal customers or other employees when she leaves.  Employee leaves.  Employee tries to steal customers or other employees.  Employer sues. 

But then it gets interesting.  TEKSystems alleges that it can prove the breach with evidence from the defendants’ LinkedIn accounts.  TEKSystems claims that one of the defendants had LinkedIn connections with 16 of its contract employees and sent messages to those connections inviting them to visit her in her new workplace. 

This is the first lawsuit that I’ve heard of that is based in part on evidence from an employee’s LinkedIn account.  It’s a real-life example of the potential for harm to employers that can result from employees’ use of social media and emphasizes the need for employers to take a proactive approach with social media and the workplace.

White House Focuses on Workplace Flexibility

Posted by Adria B. MartinelliOn April 2, 2010In: Alternative Work Schedules, Flextime, Women, Wellness, & Work-Life Balance

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Workplace flexibility has been a hot topic, a highlight of which was President Obama's White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility, televised earlier this week. The forum was designed as an opportunity for labor leaders, CEOs, small business owners, and policy experts to share their ideas and strategies for making the workplace more flexible for workers and their families. During the conference, the President compared flexible work schedules to the early stages of email: some companies have it, some don’t, but eventually, all companies will. Get ready employers – if you haven’t gotten aboard yet, the train may run you over!

Juggle work and home workplace flexibility

With healthcare out of the way, the administration is freed up to focus on other priorities. During the campaign, then-candidate Obama included work-life issues as an important part of his agenda, committing to expand FMLA, to prevent caregiver discrimination, and to offer incentives to employers to expand flexible work arrangements.  The forum indicates  that work-life issues remain a focus of this administration. Although the Obamas now have a personal chef, chauffeurs, and other assistance to make their “balance” a little easier, I am sure that Michelle’s experience managing a demanding career and raising her two girls has helped to ensure this issue remains on the President’s radar screen.

The discussion has taken different varied focuses over the years, but the bottom line is this: for many reasons, in order to retain employees in the modern workforce, employers have to reinvent the old model of an ideal worker. Flexible work schedules are over and over again focused on as the reasonable way to accommodate the needs of both employer and employee. The impetus for employers to engage in this discussion has  evolved a bit over the years.

First, employers were interested in the topic primarily due to the economics of investment in skilled workforce (particularly professional women), who often left the job because unable to balance their work and family responsibilities. Then Gen Y came along, with both males and females placing a greater value on “down” time, whether with family or pursuing other activities. Gen Y consistently ranks workplace flexibility among the most desirable employment benefits. With the economic downturn, the discussion turned to how flexible schedules could immediately help the bottom line (4-day workweeks, voluntary reduction in hours for reduction in pay, etc.).

Law and politics have not shied away from the discussion: both Republican and Democratic administrations have made important advancements to the cause of work-life balance. In 2007, the EEOC under the Bush administration issued it Enforcement Guidance: Unlawful Disparate Treatment of Workers with Caregiver Responsibilities. In 2009, Obama’s administration issued  Employer Best Practices for Workers with Caregiver Responsibilities, which focused primarily on flexible work arrangements. The White House Forum has work-life balance advocates everywhere eager to see what will come next!

 

See these related posts for more about work-life balance:

Resources for Work-Life Balance and Flexible Work Arrangements

Maybe It’s Not All Gloom and Doom for Work-Life Balance

Looking a Flexible-Schedule Gift Horse in the Mouth

Caregiver Discrimination: The "Sandwiched Generation"

5 Steps Toward a More Flexible Workplace

April Fool's Day for Employment Lawyers

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn April 1, 2010In: Just for Fun

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Courtesy of Someecards, home of some of the most sarcastic, yet endearing, online greeting cards around:

Happy April Fools Day Employment Law Style

Happy April Fool's Day!

Health FSA Uniform Coverage Rule Precludes Recoupment

Posted by E-LawOn April 1, 2010In: Benefits

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In 1989, when the Internal Revenue Service wrote the first proposed regulations for health flexible spending accounts (“FSAs”), it came up with the requirement that health FSAs must exhibit the “risk-shifting and risk-distribution characteristics of insurance”. This concept has been translated into of the “uniform coverage” rule.

The uniform-coverage rule requires that the maximum amount of an employee’s elective contributions to a health FSA must be available from the first day of the plan year to reimburse the employee’s qualified medical expenses. This means that if an employee elects to contribute to the health FSA $100 per month for the year, the employee must be reimbursed for qualified medical expenses up to the full $1,200 from the first day of the year, regardless of the amount actually contributed to the plan at the time that reimbursement is sought.

Under the uniform-coverage rule, an employee can potentially terminate employment having been reimbursed under the health FSA for more than she contributed up to the time of her termination. This rule has caused most employers to limit the amounts that employees can contribute to a health FSA, even though, prior to the effective date of provisions in the recent healthcare reform legislation ($2,500 annual cap after 2012), there is no statutory limit on contributions to health FSAs.

On March 26, 2010, the IRS released Chief Counsel Advice No. 201012060 (pdf), in which the Chief Counsel concluded that, if an employee's reimbursements from a health FSA exceed her contributions to the health FSA at the time of the termination of her employment, the employer cannot recoup the difference from the employee. Neither the previous proposed regulations nor the current proposed regulations regarding health FSAs (Prop. Treas. Reg. § 1.125-5(d)(1) (pdf)) stated explicitly that such recoupment is not permitted. This has always been known by practitioners to be the rule, much to the chagrin of our clients. Any attempt at recoupment of this sort will remove the risk shifting/risk distribution and result in the loss of favorable tax status for the benefits paid under the health FSA.

 

 

*This post was written by Timothy J. Snyder, Esq.  Tim is the Chair of Young Conaway’s Tax, Trusts and Estates, and Employee Benefits Sections.  His primary area of practice is employee benefits, which involves both the benefit provisions of provisions of the Internal Revenue Service and ERISA.  He represents business and professionals in establishing, monitoring, and administering employee-benefit plans, new comparability retirement plans, non-qualified deferred-compensation plans, health, disability and life benefits, COBRA, HIPAA, ADA and ADEA.

Sure, You Can Use Facebook at Work . . . We’ll Just Monitor What You Post

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn March 31, 2010In: Social Media in the Workplace

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NYT technology blog, Bits, reports on new technology being marketed to employers who want to keep tabs on their employees’ social-networking activities during working time. Joshua Brustein reports:

The software, called Social Sentry, will automatically monitor Facebook and Twitter accounts for $2 to $8 for each employee, depending on the size of the company and the level of activity being monitored.

I can’t say that I find this to be very surprising. Lots of employees seem to be offended at the idea that employers may block access to social-networking sites.  But the reality is that employers are responsible for what employees do while on company time.  And, in certain circumstances, employers also can be held liable for off-duty conduct of employees.  An employee who posts racially hostile remarks on his Facebook page can cause the organization to lose a case alleging a racially hostile work environment.  So it makes good business sense for employers to either block access to these sites altogether and/or monitor usage to prevent liability and attempt to protect productivity. 

The article also reports that, according to the latest survey by the American Management Association and the ePolicy Institute, more than 60 percent of the companies that responded have a social-media policy in place to help guard against these risks.  It seems like a logical next step to engage in some level of monitoring to ensure that employees comply with that policy.

FLSA Now Requires Breastfeeding Breaks and a Place to Take Them

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn March 30, 2010In: Benefits, Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Legislative Update

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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed last week by President Obama will affect employers in numerous ways, many of which have not yet been explored in detail, owing to the newness of the law.  One provision of the law that is certain to have a very real impact on employers across the country but that we have heard virtually nothing about is Section 4207.  Section 4207, titled, Reasonable Break Time for Nursing Mothers amends the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  Because it is born to the FLSA, its provisions apply to almost all employers—every employer engaged in interstate commerce of at least $500,000 per year, hospitals, businesses providing medical or nursing care for residents, schools and preschools, and government agencies. 

So, what does the new law require?  Quite a bit. The Act adds the following to Section 7 of the FLSA as a new subsection (r):

An employer shall provide:

(A) a reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth; and
(B) a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.

There are some exceptions to these requirements.

First, employers are not required to pay employees who take a breastfeeding break—unless, of course, there is a state law that says otherwise.  Second, an employer with less than 50 employees is exempt from the requirements if the requirements would “impose an undue hardship” by causing it “significant difficulty or expense” as compared to the employer’s size, resources, and the structure of its business. 

Workplace Bullies Are Just Big Babies

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn March 29, 2010In: Jerks at Work

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In a post titled, Create a Bully-Free Workplace, Nathanael Fast writes about the findings of a study he and Serena Chen conducted on workplace bullying. He reports some interesting findings from the study.  For example, he links bullying to significant costs to organizations.  Specifically, he says that bullying causes reduced creativity, low morale, and increased turnover, “all factors that weigh heavily on the bottom line.”

But what I found most interesting were his conclusions on the reasons for bullying—why bullies act like such, well, bullies. He concludes that the “simultaneous pairing of power with feelings of inadequacy” is what led bosses to become bullies.

In our studies, the power holders who felt personally incompetent became aggressive, not because they were power hungry or had domineering personalities but because they were trying to overcome ego threat. Put simply, bullying is a cheap way to nurse a wounded ego.

In other words, big babies who don’t like themselves take it out on others. 

Retaliation and the FLSA: U.S. Supreme Court Grants Cert

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn March 25, 2010In: Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Retaliation, U.S. Supreme Court Decisions

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Wage-and-hour lawsuits filed under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), are the hottest thing going for plaintiffs’ lawyers. And a worst-case scenario for an employer named as a defendant. FLSA cases can be very difficult to defend; the law imposes what is almost strict liability under most circumstances. So, when a court issues a decision in favor of an employer, it is worthy of notice. And when the U.S. Supreme Court grants certiorari of such a decision, it’s definitely worthy of notice. U.S.S.C. Building

In Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., a Wisconsin factory worker filed suit alleging that he was unlawfully terminated in retaliation of his FLSA-protected activity (i.e., an FLSA-retaliation claim). The protected activity, he alleged, was his oral complaint about the placement of time clocks. Specifically, he alleged that he complained that employees were not being properly compensated for “donning and doffing time” because of the location of the time clocks.

The employer argued that the oral complaint was not sufficient—that only written complaints were protected by the FLSA. The trial court disagreed, finding that oral complaints were protected but the Seventh Circuit reversed and held that only a written complaint could trigger the protections of the FLSA. (Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Perform. Plastics Corp., No. 08-2820 (7th Cir. Oct. 15, 2009)) (pdf)

The law prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee “who has filed any complaint” against the employer. The Seventh Circuit concluded that an oral complaint cannot be “filed.” The conclusion seems perfectly logical, based on the plain language of the statute.

But, on the other hand, other employment laws do extend retaliation protection to oral complaints. For example, under Title VII, an employee is protected from unlawful retaliation for making an oral complaint about discrimination or harassment in the workplace.

The Supreme Court’s decision could redirect the course of FLSA litigation, either expanding the types of suits commonly brought to include retaliation claims—or by preventing retaliation claims from becoming the next-big-thing in employment-law litigation.

Scott Holt, Adria Martinelli, and I will be sure to cover this development in our panel discussion, Wage and Hour Update, at the Annual Employment Law Seminar on April 28, 2010. We hope to see you there!

More Men Filing Sexual Harassment Claims

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn March 25, 2010In: Harassment, Sexual

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WSJ Online reports on an increase in the number of sexual-harassment complaints filed by men.

I can’t say that I’m surprised, especially in light of the parallel increase in the number of males who have been laid off or terminated for economic reasons. The unavoidable reality is that individuals are more likely to file a claim or a lawsuit when they’re out of work and, especially, when work is hard to find. Since September 2008, twice as many men have lost their jobs as compared to women. Which could explain the 12% increase in harassment claims brought by men since 2006.73971625

The claims brought by males are somewhat different than those brought by females, though. According to WSJ’s Dana Mattioli, claims brought by men often allege harassment in the form of “horseplay” or “rough-housing” in the workplace. Apparently, it’s no more fun to get beat up in the workplace than it was in the high-school locker room. Go figure.

Male-on-male harassment can look very much like bullying and can involve verbal and physical abuse. In November 2009, the Cheesecake Factory settled a sexual harassment suit filed by six male employees, who alleged that they’d been groped and otherwise subjected to physical attacks by male coworkers. The settlement came at a heft cost of $345,000.

To prevent these suits, employers should take the following steps:

1. Have a valid and effective anti-harassment policy;

2. Train employees on the prevention of harassment and be sure to include examples other than the traditional male-boss-harasses-female-secretary scenario; and

3. Do not tolerate workplace harassment by dismissing it as a “personality conflict” or justifying it by saying that “boys will be boys.”

Terri Cheek and Lauren Hudecki will be speaking on the issue of male-on-male harassment, as well as other gender-related workplace issues at our Annual Employment Law Seminar on April 28, 2010.

See these related posts:

Employee Handbooks: Anti-Harassment Tip Sheet

3d Circuit: Who Is a “Supervisor” for Purpose of Imputing Harassment Liability

The Death of a Sexual Harassment Policy

Apr. 28: Annual Employment Law Seminar

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn March 25, 2010In: Seminars, Past

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Well, it's almost time for our annual employment-law seminar! We had a fantastic turnout last year with great speakers and topics and this year's schedule is certain to be just as exciting.  The registration brochure is posted below with all of the details--just be sure to sign up soon, as seats are limited.

We hope to see you then!

YCST_Logo_KO_1807_allK_tag

Registration is also available at the (new!) Young Conway website.