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New Employee Perk: Pet Friendly Workplaces and the AEPA

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New Employee Perk: Pet Friendly Workplaces and the AEPA

According to the author of this article, as employers cut perks that cost money, they’re looking for new perks that don’t cost money. Some employers are now allowing employees to bring their  pets to work. There can be problems with such a perk, but a stressed employee will have a friend with him or her everyday to help alleviate the stress. If this becomes a significant trend, employers may decide to further cut costs by replacing employees with animals. And that’s when the Animal Employment Protection Act comes into play.


Financial Reform’s Hidden Employment Surprises

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Financial Reform’s Hidden Employment Surprises

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (also known as “financial reform” or “the Wall Street bill”) made headlines when President Obama signed it into law on July 21. However, many employers may still not realize the legislation contains diversity provisions that could affect them if they are contractors, subcontractors, or service providers for certain federal government agencies. More specifically, the diversity requirements found in the bill will affect financial industry organizations and those connected to them.

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Hiring People You Don’t Know Well — Tip of the Week

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Hiring People You Don’t Know Well — Tip of the Week

In the executive ranks, it’s common for a new CEO or other executive to bring in people he or she knows well. They’ve worked together before. A relationship of trust has already been established. Sometimes, a new CEO will bring a whole new team with him or her — a team he or she knows. But this doesn’t happen only in the executive ranks. All kinds of managers and supervisors and HR professionals are likely to do the same thing if the opportunity presents itself.

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Charges Filed by Muslims Spike Religious Discrimination Claims

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Charges Filed by Muslims Spike Religious Discrimination Claims

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Muslim employees filed a record 803 religious discrimination charges for the year ended September 30, 2009. That’s up 20% over the year before. That exceeds the number of charges filed in the year after 9/11. There’s little doubt that these charges will set another record for the year ending September 30, 2010. The EEOC has taken this spike in Muslim-related religious discrimination charges seriously, filing several lawsuits on behalf of Muslim workers.

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Dress at Work and Religious Accommodation

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Dress at Work and Religious Accommodation

This week’s tip involved an employer’s right to control the attire worn by employees. One other point that needs to be made involves dress and religion. That necessarily raises the matter of providing a reasonable accommodation to an employee to dress differently from other employees because of religious beliefs. (See a post I did last week on a different aspect of religious accommodation.)

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Witchcraft and Religious Discrimination

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Witchcraft and Religious Discrimination

As you’ve undoubtedly heard, about 11 years ago, the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in Delaware, Christine O’Donnell, admitted that she dabbled in witchcraft when she was in high school. (Here) This news has traveled all over the place and has become a political issue in the Senate race. The ensuing hubbub is significant for employers, not because of politics, but because it raises an important issue under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prevents religious discrimination.

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Sex Discrimination Lawsuit Filed Against Goldman Sachs

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Sex Discrimination Lawsuit Filed Against Goldman Sachs

Earlier this week, three former female employees of Goldman Sachs filed suit against the firm for sex discrimination. The three women allege that Goldman systematically discriminates against female employees by paying them less than males in comparable positions. They also contend that Goldman promotes male employees more frequently than females.

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Animal Employment Protection Act

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Animal Employment Protection Act

When I learned of a trainer being attacked by a lion at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, I was reminded of the Animal Employment Protection Act (AEPA). I’m pretty sure the trainer was an employee. I’m not sure about the lion. Thankfully, there were no serious injuries. It’s been awhile since I’ve shown the AEPA mini-training video, so here goes.

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Tip of the Week — Clarifying Problems

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Tip of the Week — Clarifying Problems

As you may have noticed, I’m not blogging as much right now as I usually do. That’s partly because of my current schedule and partly because I need some time to refresh and recharge. I won’t fall off the grid completely, however. I’ll be doing a post here and there and relying on the posts of some fellow bloggers. This week’s tip or tips come from three of my favorite bloggers. They provide significant diversity of thought and a lot of good practical advice related to human resources, the workplace, employment law, and life.

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Hooters and Weight Discrimination

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Hooters and Weight Discrimination

A Hooters waitress in Michigan claims that she’s been put on probation and told to lose weight if she wants to keep her job. The server, standing five feet, eight inches, and weighing 132 pounds, says she’s devastated and looking for a lawyer. Hooters says it imposes no weight restriction on its employees. “Our practice of upholding an image standard based on appearance, attitude and fitness for Hooters girls is both legal and fair. It is not unlike the standard used by the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders or the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes.”

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Constitution Requies Ivy Credentials

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Constitution Requies Ivy Credentials

It’s not a well-known requirement. In fact, there was a time when it was ignored. No more. If one wants to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, he or she must have studied at an Ivy League school, preferably Harvard or Yale. The newest nominee to the Court, Elena Kagan, not only studied at Harvard Law, she was dean of the law school. She also did her undergraduate work at another Ivy school, Princeton. If Kagan is confirmed, the Court will at long last be constitutionally compliant.

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The Addams Family: A Workplace

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The Addams Family: A Workplace

The new musical The Addams Family has opened on Broadway. Based on Charles Addams’ New Yorker cartoons, it’s also influenced by the TV show which some of us remember. So far, the critics’ reviews have been scathing, but the musical has grossed an impressive $6.5 million in five weeks. The fact that the theatre and film star Nathan Lane plays Gomez can’t have hurt, but it’s the bizarre family led by Gomez and Morticia that keeps selling tickets.

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Animal Employment Protection Act

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Animal Employment Protection Act

Jon Hyman uses an article in the Wall Street Journal on pet-friendly workplaces to provide advice about assessing risks and drafting policies if employers allow pets at work. As you know by now, I don’t need much of an excuse to give you one more time my tutorial on the Animal Employment Protection Act. Thanks, Jon.

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Immigration Miscalculation?

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Immigration Miscalculation?

One of our country’s most divisive issues is immigration. While this issue has various dimensions, it’s resolution is critical to employers and an important part of employment law. Everyone seems to agree that reform is needed. No one seems to agree on what the reform should be. As noted in a recent post, the current negative view of immigration belies who we are as a nation and causes the enactment of well-intentioned but unhelpful state laws.

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New OFCCP Strategic Plan

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New OFCCP Strategic Plan

Thanks to Workplace Prof Blog, we have a link to a website containing the draft strategic plan for the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) for the next seven years or so. The new plan is not surprisingly subject to various interpretations. What’s clear, and has been since the President Obama’s inauguration, is that the OFCCP is conducting more investigations to make sure employers covered by Executive Order 11246 are in compliance. It’s important for self-audits to occur before you’re audited by the OFCCP. Have you done one yet?


Confederate History Month in Virginia: Employment Problems?

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Confederate History Month in Virginia: Employment Problems?

The Governor of Virginia has declared the month of April to be Confederate History Month. Could this present any employment problems for Virginia employers? After all, Black History Month is celebrated in February. Some employers have events at work calling attention to black history during February. Okay for Virginia employers to have events calling attention to Confederate history? What if African-American employees object?

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Diversity Training Gone Wrong?

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Diversity Training Gone Wrong?

The Boston Globe contains an interesting article on a subject that most employers and employees are quite familiar with by now in 2010. Has anyone not received some form of diversity training at work? The question raised by the Globe is whether it does any good. Critics say it doesn’t. Supporters say it does. Perhaps the real answer is that we don’t know, based on recent research examined by the Globe.

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Wal-Mart: Recession vs. Discrimination

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According to the New York Times, a group of West African employees in Colorado has filed discrimination charges against Wal-Mart with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Some of the employees had worked for Wal-Mart for several years, claim they had never been disciplined or given bad performance reviews until recently, and contend they were fired because management wanted to get rid of them to give their jobs to local people who were out of work.

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Martin Luther King, Jr.

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As done twice before on this blog (click here and here), this post calls attention to today’s remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As in my other posts, I highlight a speech given by Dr. King. In this one, the acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize, he asked a question similar to the one asked by President Obama when he accepted the same prize last year.

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Bangor, Maine, International Airport: Model Workplace

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During the summer, I have the good fortune of spending some time in Maine. Almost always, we fly into and out of Bangor. Depending on flight schedules, changes and delays, we’ve flown in and out at almost any time of the day or night.

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