The law protects employees from termination and other forms of retaliation for reporting certain kinds of activities and wrongful conduct. However, not all reports are protected. A case recently decided by the Supreme Court of Ohio clarified that persons working in nursing homes and similar long term care facilities cannot be retaliated against for making a report of suspected abuse or neglect of a resident of the facility: Hulsmeyer v. Hospice of Southwest Ohio, Inc.
On August 8, 2014, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) experienced a major blow to its long-held policy of keeping college athletes uncompensated amateurs. The United States District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that the NCAA rules prohibiting student athletes from receiving compensation for the use of their own names, images, and likenesses violate the Sherman Antitrust Act. Student athletes are not employees of their colleges, but they may be entitled to share in licensing fees earned on their names and likenesses.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) allows eligible employees to take leave from work to care for family or personal medical situations. FMLA leave may be continuous or intermittent. In Hansen v. Fincantieri Marini Group, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decided two important intermittent FMLA issues. First, the court held that the FMLA does not require an employee to present expert testimony to prove the employee was incapacitated on each day he or she requested intermittent FMLA leave. Second, the court decided an employer should not summarily deny intermittent FMLA leave when an employee exceeds the estimated length or duration of intermittent FMLA leave provided by a doctor in an FMLA medical certification form. [Read more…]
To establish a claim of race, religious, or gender discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, an employee must establish that he or she was subjected to an “adverse job action”. Historically, courts have defined an adverse job action as an action affecting the terms and conditions of employment. Adverse job actions include a termination, a failure to hire, a demotion, or the payment of unequal compensation.
In Thompson v. City of Waco Texas, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a city police department’s restriction of a detective’s responsibilities after his return to work was sufficient to fall within Title VII’s definition of “adverse action”. The Fifth Circuit’s decision expands the definition of an adverse job action to include actions which do not affect an employee’s title or compensation. [Read more…]
The law protects employees who are terminated on the basis of certain characteristics, including but not limited to, race, sex, religion, pregnancy, age, and disability. The law provides less protection for employees who voluntarily resign from their employment as a result of discrimination based on these characteristics. [Read more…]
Earlier this year, the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling recognizing religious objections to portions of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), commonly referred to as “Obamacare”. In Burnwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government cannot force owners of closely-held (non-publicly traded), for-profit corporation to provide insurance coverage for contraception methods violating their owner’s religious beliefs. This is the first time the Supreme Court has recognized a for-profit corporation’s claim of religious belief. The decision, however, does not address whether closely-held corporations are protected by the free-exercise of religion clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution. Employment lawyers are still considering the possible long-term impact of the ruling. [Read more…]
Most employers would not be happy if their employees did not have cell phones, yet few employers offer to pay for their employees’ cell phone. In Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Services, Inc. the California Court of Appeals examined whether, under federal wage, hour, and overtime law, an employer is required to reimburse an employee for the expense of mandatory use of a personal cell phone for work purposes, or whether an employer is only required to reimburse the employee for expenses he or she would not have otherwise incurred absent the job. The court held that a partial reimbursement is always required. [Read more…]
Religious freedom is a fundamental right to which all individuals are entitled. That said, it is of utmost importance that the right be protected–even in the workplace.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) notes that religious discrimination involves “treating a person (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of his or her religious beliefs.” However, many people may not know or realize exactly what constitutes religious discrimination, particularly in a work environment. [Read more…]
Many Americans are aware the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers from discriminating against an employee on the basis of his or her disability. Fewer Americans, however, are aware it is illegal for an employer to discriminate because of genetic information.
Does an employee’s family medical history constitute genetic information? That is the question a New York federal district court will have to decide in EEOC v. BNV Home Care Agency, Inc. We will be watching this case closely.
The United States District Court for the District of Hawaii recently reiterated what several courts have already held: “An employer is liable for harassing conduct by non-employees where the employer knew or should have known of the conduct, but fails to take appropriate remedial measures.” Employers have an obligation to protect their employees from non-employees, as well as from co-workers, with whom they work. [Read more…]