Sunday, August 30, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Recently, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey offered up The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare in the Wall Street Journal. The op-ed advocates largely free-market health care policy reforms. As this is not a policy blog (and certainly not a political blog) I will simply point out what Whole Foods is doing as an employer.
First, Whole Foods allows its "team members to vote on what benefits they most want the company to fund." Mackey also explains that Whole Foods pays 100% of the premiums on high-deductible health insurance plans. The piece inadvertently offered up a warning for employers: Be careful picking sides in a hotly contested policy debate! A boycott effort is underway and a Facebook group with more than 30,000 members has formed to protest Mackey's op-ed.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
"[E]veryone knows that a juror's job is protected during her absence, right?"If you didn't know (and are therefore, apparently nobody), the statute is 28 U.S.C.A. § 1875 which reads in part:
"No employer shall discharge, threaten to discharge, intimidate, or coerce any permanent employee by reason of such employee's jury service, or the attendance or scheduled attendance in connection with such service, in any court of the United States."
Sunday, August 23, 2009
“A reasonable endeavor to comply with the law and to ensure that qualified candidates of all races have a fair opportunity to compete is simply not what Congress meant to interdict. I would therefore hold that an employer who jettisons a selection device when its disproportionate racial impact becomes apparent does not violate Title VII’s disparate-treatment bar automatically or at all, subject to this key condition: The employer must have good cause to believe the device would not withstand examination for business necessity.”
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
- Investigators who perform work involving the handling of inquiries and complaints of employment discrimination under the federal statutes enforced by the EEOC.
- General Attorney, Trial Attorney, Administrative Judge and Law Clerk positions handling civil rights cases and appeals.
- Mediators who process charges through the Alternative Dispute Resolution process to settlement.
- Administrative and Clerical support positions handling incoming phone calls, correspondence and document management.
- Senior Executive Service (SES) positions including most managerial, supervisory, and policy positions classified above General Schedule (GS) grade 15 or equivalent positions.
- In addition, EEOC hires Information Technology Specialists, Program Analysts, Management Analysts and more...
Sunday, August 16, 2009
"comprehensive information about programs and services to better serve more than 50 million Americans with disabilities, their family members, veterans, employers, educators, caregivers and anyone interested in disability-related information."
- The site offers information organized by 10 different topics, including Employment and Civil Rights (each of which contains its own subsection on Laws and Regulations).
- You can also obtain information by state (or U.S. territory), including my state of Pennsylvania.
- The site offers RSS feeds to which users can subscribe for updates regarding News, Events, each of the 10 topics (including Employment RSS and Civil Rights RSS), and individual states/territories (including Pennsylvania RSS).
- As my readers know, I am on Twitter (@philipmiles); now, so is disability.gov (@disabilitygov).
Friday, August 14, 2009
"Fair Credit Reporting Act, which sets national standards for employment screening and allows companies to hire outside agencies to conduct credit checks and obtain criminal conviction records on current and prospective employees."Employers must worry about more than just obtaining the information though, they must also be careful to use the information lawfully.
"(b) Use of information.--Felony and misdemeanor convictions may be considered by the employer only to the extent to which they relate to the applicant's suitability for employment in the position for which he has applied."18 Pa. C.S. § 9125. There is also a provision requiring employers to notify employees when a hiring decision is based on criminal history.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
"Cleanliness is next to Godliness"
- Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. While alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective, they should not replace hand washing.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
"During a pandemic, may an employer require its employees to adopt infection control practices?Universities, cruise lines, and the EEOC agree... washing your hands helps stop the H1N1 virus. The question I have is, "Why does it take the threat of a pandemic to get people to wash their hands!?"
Yes. Requiring infection control practices, such as regular hand washing, coughing and sneezing etiquette, and tissue usage and disposal, does not implicate the ADA."
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
Guest Blog Contributed by Kristina Duncan
I’m referring to last month’s U.S. House bill dubbed, “Equal Employment for All Act”. Employment law specialists will already be familiar with its language.
Here is a short summary, if you have not yet seen the bill.
This bill, H.R. 3149, proposes to amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act to prohibit the use of consumer credit checks against prospective and current employees for the purposes of making adverse employment decisions. In other words, if you apply for a job, credit history could no longer be part of a hiring decision. If you are already employed, credit history could not be used against you in any adverse employment action.
The bill carves out exceptions for positions with national security or FDIC clearance requirements, positions with state or local government that require such reports, certain positions at financial institutions, and as otherwise required by law.
The bill also contains an interesting clause that says, in effect, that applicants and employees cannot consent to or authorize use of credit reports (§2(b)(2)).
The bill strikes me as a significant change in this aspect of employment law. I’d be interested to see legal opinion on this. I’m impressed for two reasons. First, when one sees a proposed law in this stark form, “You have been doing X, and now you shall no longer do X”, one is on pretty solid ground inferring the existence of horror stories, many of which have likely resulted in court proceedings.
Second, when the proposed law eliminates any ability to authorize use, it’s a good bet that coercion resulting from unequal power positions lurks behind many of the horror stories.
I would be interested to hear what Lawffice Space readers have to say, both about the situations, and about the significant case law associated with this area of employment practice.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Guest Blog Contributed by Kristina Duncan
I appreciate the opportunity to chat with my colleagues in employment law.
Under the current economic conditions, with the employment picture still deteriorating, I thought you might find it useful to reflect for a moment on employment and efficiency in your firms. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that your workload in increasing as employers find creative ways to discharge employees, resulting in legal action in certain circumstances.
Looking at your practice from my angle as a virtual paralegal, perhaps we “virtuals” are a source of efficiency and cost management that you may not have considered previously. As the costs of both layoff and hiring in law firms come to the fore in difficult times, well-managed use of virtual paralegals can be a source of powerful cost saving that can go right to your firm’s bottom line.
For example, one headache a firm faces is that of estimating staffing requirements accurately. Underestimate, and you could miss business opportunities, overshoot, and your costs jump and profit suffers. Virtuals can help smooth the load because they can be brought aboard quickly, are well-trained, and are on your clock only for assigned tasks. This is why the cost management potential is so great.
For attorneys in smaller firms, or in solo practice, staffing management takes a different form. You may have more work, but you don’t want to commit to the fully-loaded cost of another employee. There is an answer for that. Or the sole practitioner may have serious need for more help, but an in-house paralegal doesn’t pencil out. There is an answer for that, also.
I think the primary payoff here is that, in these troubled times, we in the legal profession can work together to increase firm efficiency, resulting in an improved bottom line, and savings for clients. Effective use of virtual support can contribute significantly to attaining these objectives.
Post comments on your concerns about what I’ve said here. I’ll be happy to answer them.