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…]
Archives for October 2014
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…]
In recent years, employers have implemented health and fitness measures intended to promote healthy behaviors and curb the effects of chronic disease on their employees. Effective “wellness programs” typically result in lower health insurance premiums and healthier, more productive employees. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), however, an employer cannot require its employees to participate in wellness programs.
The United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana recently found the content of an employee’s social media post about his former employer was not admissible at trial. Although the court sided with the employee in this case, the case serves as a reminder of the risk of discussing facts concerning litigation on social media. If you believe you have been discriminated against in your employment, do not discuss the facts or your claims on social media. [Read more…]