For a long time, an employment decision based on pregnancy has been against the law. It violates the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which is part of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Apparently, it’s not as well know as I thought, or employers continue to ignore the law, at least according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Much has been written about how the great recession has changed things forever. Those over 50 and unemployed may never work again. Consumerism will never be the same. Home ownership as the primary means of saving and investing is history. Today’s children won’t have nearly as good a life as we’ve had. The workplace will never again provide security and a reasonable living for most people.
Once a hot employment law issue, drug testing has been cool for quite some time. Most courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have ruled that there’s nothing wrong with testing for unlawful drugs, particularly in the private sector. So, for two decades, an increasing number of employers do drug testing routinely. The types of drug testing most commonly done are pre-employment, for cause or reasonable suspicion (for example, when an employee is involved in an accident at work, seems to be under the influence of something, etc.), and random.
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.
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.
I just returned from a wedding. One of our kids is getting married soon. So, vows have been on my mind lately. When an employee comes to work, there are rules and policies about what an employee will do and what an employer will do. Neither view them as vows, however. In a marriage, of course, vows can be words only. But they do make you think about an intended commitment.
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.
When I began this blog, I predicted that the big area of employment litigation for the future was age discrimination. Because of the sheer number of aging baby boomers, many would be retired or discharged, arguably in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). When I made this prediction, I didn’t see the Great Recession coming.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a class action against Area Temps, alleging that the temporary agency had honored some of its clients’ requests to deny employment on the basis of race, age, gender, and national origin. To meet its client’s requests, Area Temps devised a code to screen out applicants. The code was used to make sure the agency didn’t place the wrong person at a client that had indicated a preference.
Bloomberg Businessweek reports on a new study that will appear in this month’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers who conducted the study used data from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which surveyed 450,000 Americans over a two year period about their household income, emotional state during the prior day, and overall feelings about their life and well-being. Here are the results.
According to an article in the New York Times, a few of the unemployed are beginning to find new jobs. A few businesses are expanding. And a few businesses are hiring. However, the few jobs being created and filled are low paying. In other words, if an employee is fortunate enough to find a job today, he will be making less than he was in his previous job. This seems to be what’s ahead in a post-recession world.
It’s finally sinking in that jobs for the unemployed aren’t being created, with no sign of that changing anytime soon. America has begun to experience “chronic unemployment,” which is a post-recession condition previously experienced in other countries but not heretofore experienced in this country. People become newly unemployed every week. The thing is, though, a good percentage of the millions of unemployed have been unemployed for two years or more.
It’s not unusual for employers to require certain employees to sign agreements containing restrictive covenants. These covenants might restrict competition for a period of time. These covenants might take the form of non-solicitation and non-disclosure restrictions, which say the employee can’t solicit the employer’s clients or customers or disclose proprietary information. If an employee has had significant contact with clients or customers, a non-solicitation agreement is quite important.
I’m a little late to the party with any thoughts on LeBron James’ move from Cleveland to Miami. I just couldn’t think of anything to say other than he’s as greedy and arrogant as some of the top executives in the business world. An article in the Los Angeles Times made me think again about the meaning of Lebron’s ship-jumping.
The New York Times revisits a matter I blogged about on December 30, 2007: the firing of a teacher in training because, on her MySpace page, there was a picture of the would be teacher at a party wearing a pirate hat and drinking from a plastic cup, with the caption “Drunken Pirate.” She was discharged. She then sued. She lost. The court pretty much agreed with my post. In the exhaustive Times article on various aspects of the Web and one’s privacy, Jeffrey Rosen says something must be done to keep one email or one picture from ruining one’s life.
According to the New York Times, manufacturers are desperate to hire workers again. In Cleveland, where 40,000 manufacturing jobs were lost during the Great Recession, only 4,500 jobs have been added since the first of this year. More would have been added if manufacturers could find qualified applicants. In one company, six machinests are urgently needed to run computer numerical control machines. Fifty people applied for these jobs, but none were qualified. None!
The City of Chicago administered a written examination to 26,000 applicants as part of its hiring process for entry-level firefighters. After scoring the tests, the results were grouped into three categories: applicants who scored 89 or above deemed “well qualified”; applicants who scored between 65 and 88 deemed “qualified”; applicants who scored lower than 65 deemed as having failed the exam. The “well qualified” group consisted of 75.8% white and 11.5% African-American. African-American applicants filed suit, contending that the cutoff scores had a disparate impact on racial minorities.
As previously noted (here and here), the controversy surrounding Richard Blumenthal’s run for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut provides the basis for considering what employers are sometimes faced with considering: resume fraud. It doesn’t appear that the controversy will end soon, so maybe more lessons about the subject are yet to come. Blumenthal did receive his party’s nomination this past weekend.
In a post yesterday, I used the current controversy surrounding Richard Blumenthal, candidate for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut, to consider the issue of resume fraud sometimes confronted by employers. He’s accused of lying about his military record, though his situation is strange. More times than not, he told the truth. At times, it seems he didn’t. This situation as applied to the workplace deserves further consideration.
Playing out in the theater of politics right now is an issue that sometimes plays out in the workplace. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, has said different things about his military record and is being accused of resume fraud. He served in the military. He didn’t serve in Viet Nam. Sometimes, he’s said his military service didn’t include Viet Nam. Increasingly, however, he’s referred to his service in Viet Nam.