EverythingPeople This Week!

2

Jul

2019

Are the Equal Pay Initiatives What They Seem to Be?

Author: Anthony Kaylin

When the Equal Pay Act (EPA) was passed in 1963, it made it illegal for employers to pay women lower wages than men for equal work on jobs requiring the same skill, effort, and responsibility.  Over the years, these cases were far and few between and difficult to win.  As a result, the previous administration as well as a growing number of blue (Democratic controlled) states have passed more rigorous pay discrimination laws, pushing for pay transparency as a solution for the wage...

25

Jun

2019

Employers – Ensure Your Grooming Policies Aren’t Discriminatory

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

Most employers have policies that outline requirements regarding dress and appearance.  These can range from business vs. casual dress, if body piercings or visible tattoos are allowed, and some outline grooming standards.  Some employer grooming standards not only require a neat appearance but may also detail whether certain hairstyles or certain hair colors are prohibited or whether male employees must be clean shaven or have short hair.  As employers define their dress code...

18

Jun

2019

Severance Agreement Term Does Not Circumvent Discrimination and Equal Pay Actions

Author: Michael Burns

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, whose jurisdiction includes Michigan, ruled against a machine parts manufacturer last August when it overturned a lower court decision that held an employee’s severance agreement barred her lawsuit alleging Title VII discrimination and violation of the Equal Pay Act.

11

Jun

2019

JP Morgan Chase Settles for $5 Million in Largest Paternity Leave Lawsuit

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

In May 2019, JP Morgan Chase reached a tentative settlement of $5 million dollars to resolve a class action lawsuit alleging the bank’s parental leave policy was biased against dads.  It is the largest recorded settlement in a U.S. parental leave discrimination complaint. 

11

Jun

2019

Understanding Test/Assessment Validation

Author: Michael Burns

ASE receives many calls regarding assessment tools to evaluate employment candidates. There are many testing instruments in the market that test for job skills, intellectual acumen, and candidate-to-job personality fit.

21

May

2019

“No-Label” Explosion Versus Diversity in the Workforce

Author: Anthony Kaylin

It seems we are living in an age where 1960’s racial and gender reporting requirements are archaic.  More workers are not identifying themselves by race/ethnicity and/or gender when applying for positions or when onboarding. 

14

May

2019

“I Get by With a Little Help From My Friends…”

Author: Michael Burns

Did you know friendship as a hiring factor can beat off a discrimination allegation? A recent Michigan Court of Appeals ruling affirms other court decisions holding the same.

7

May

2019

EEOC to Collect 2017 and 2018 Pay Data by September 30th

Author: Anthony Kaylin

Last Friday, May 3, the Federal Register published the EEOC’s notice for pay collection for the 2019 EEO-1 cycle.  The surprising turn of events began when The National Women's Law Center and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement challenged OMB’s decision to rescind the Obama Era change to the EEO-1 reporting to add pay reporting as unfair and poorly reasoned in November 2017.  In March 2019 the judge granted summary judgement to the two groups requiring the...

30

Apr

2019

Employee Request for Less Stressful Boss Does Not Qualify for ADA

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), an employee must show that they have a physical or mental impairment and that the impairment “substantially limits one or more major life activities” in order to qualify as a disability.   The recent ruling in  Tinsley v. Caterpillar Fin. Servs., Corp., No. 18-5303 (6th Cir. Mar. 20, 2019) by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (which covers Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee), sends a good reminder to employers...

9

Apr

2019

Does a Pay Disparity Finding Mean That Pay Discrimination Occurred?

Author: Anthony Kaylin

The hottest issue in the EEO area is pay discrimination.  In the news it is often written that women earn approximately 20 cents or more less than a male counterpart.  When it is broken down by race, the disparity grows even larger.  However, does disparity mean discrimination?

19

Mar

2019

Failure to Stop Workplace Rumor About Employee “Sleeping Way to Top” Can Create Sex Discrimination Liability

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

Gossip is a natural part of human behavior and an inevitable temptation in every workplace.  Evolutionary scientists believe that gossip among early humans was a way to communicate social norms and keep bad behavior in check.  A 2012 study conducted at the University of Amsterdam and later published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology found that 90% of office chit-chat is made up of gossip.  But employers should be aware that they have responsibility to investigate and...

19

Feb

2019

ADEA Does Not Apply to External Applicants

Author: Anthony Kaylin

The federal 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed that the Age in Employment Discrimination Act (ADEA) does not apply to applicants for a job.  The age issue of applicants is a hot issue because a number of cases have popped up where older applicants were passed over for jobs on the basis of age and sued.  The general theory for these cases is based on disparate impact, the fact that the job posting is neutral on its face, but in fact discriminates.

29

Jan

2019

Websites Under ADA Attack

Author: Anthony Kaylin

There have been a number of lawsuits filed testing the accessibility of websites and compliance under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  It is costly for organizations to defend these lawsuits, and especially will be as “tester” applicants muddy the waters. 

18

Dec

2018

Pregnancy Discrimination Act Refresher

Author: Anthony Kaylin

In 1978 Congress passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA).  The first clause of the PDA specifies that Title VII's prohibition against sex discrimination applies to discrimination "because of or on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions."  The PDA's second clause states that employers must treat "women affected by pregnancy . . . the same for all employment-related purposes . . . as other persons not so affected but similar in their ability or...

27

Nov

2018

Defending Equal Pay Claims Has Become More Complicated

Author: Anthony Kaylin

For employers defending an equal pay act (EPA) discrimination claim, the “factor other than sex” affirmative defense generally prevails, except when it doesn’t.  And lately, courts have been more reluctant to accept the affirmative defense. 

6

Nov

2018

When Employee Rights Collide in the Workplace

Author: Anthony Kaylin

Terry Bonnette, Partner, Nemeth Law PC presented on this topic at our Annual HR Conference last March.  It is an important issue today as a number of factors have risen, making HR shake their heads in confusion.  As seen in the news, the most vexing issue for employers today is how gender identity and sexual orientation rights are competing with religious beliefs and rights.  With these issues spilling into the workplace, it is important for HR to have a game plan when these...

16

Oct

2018

What is the Difference Between an Offer Letter and an Employment Contract?

Author: Anthony Kaylin

Although an offer letter and an employment contract have similarities, they are very different.  An offer letter has very basic terms and conditions of employment, generally subject to completion of a successful background check and/or medical exam, and states that employment is at-will.  In other words, the employee can walk anytime, although notice requirement is requested, and the employer can terminate for any reason at any time. This term will likely prevent, in a dispute...

2

Oct

2018

Should an HR Rep be Fired for Allegedly Helping an Employee Sue the Company?

Author: Anthony Kaylin

Andrea Gogel was hired in 2008 to be the manager of the Team Relations Department of Kia Motors Manufacturing of Georgia, Inc.  During her time at Kia, Gogel heard many complaints about how women and Americans were treated at the Korean owned company. She believed she experienced similar treatment herself, and in her view, had been denied a promotion because she is a woman and an American.  She investigated these complaints and followed Kia’s procedure.   In 2009 Kia...

11

Sep

2018

Does an Employee Need to File and Resolve an EEOC Charge Before Filing a Discrimination Suit?

Author: Anthony Kaylin

The answer is no, according to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals (which covers Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah, plus those portions of the Yellowstone National Park extending into Montana and Idaho).  This decision brings it in line with other circuit courts of appeals. 

16

Jul

2018

Religious Accommodation Does Not Have to be Employee’s Preferred Request

Author: Michael Burns

Addressing whether or not a request for religious accommodation is reasonable can be a challenge. Employers often believe that the accommodation requested must be met exactly. But it is only the religious practice that requires accommodation. Any non-religious “losses” that occur as a result are not the employer's responsibility.

19

Jun

2018

Multimedia and Bot Recruitment can Lead to EEOC Charges

Author: Anthony Kaylin

Employers have to be mindful of their recruitment activities, especially when utilizing social media platforms or bots.  With respect to multimedia litigation, it may become the new bane to recruitment, said Ifeoma Ajunwa, a lawyer and sociologist who teaches at Cornell University’s Industrial and Labor Relations School.   “The same types of discrimination issues that you would see in traditional hiring are now just being transferred over to the platforms,”...

22

May

2018

Be Careful How Job Qualifications are Written: ADEA Protects Applicants

Author: Anthony Kaylin

A question that has been pending for many years has been whether applicants, and not just employees, can avail themselves to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) disparate impact provisions. 

20

Mar

2018

The Job Market is Heating Up for Those Over 55

Author: Heather Nezich

While the recent EEOC case against Diverse Lynx, revealed that age discrimination still exists when they told an applicant born in 1945 that they were no longer interested and “age does matter,” many employers are now embracing an older work generation.

13

Mar

2018

6th Circuit Recognizes Gender Identity Discrimination

Author: Anthony Kaylin

Following the leads of the U.S. 2nd Circuit and 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals (which includes Michigan) continues the expansion of the definition of “sex” under Title VII and recognizes that discrimination on the basis of transgender and transitioning status or gender identity is discrimination on the basis of sex. 

6

Mar

2018

Be Aware of Salary Increase Caps When Promoting Employees

Author: Anthony Kaylin

When promoting an employee to a new position, what pay should be established?  Many employers have policies such as “up to 14% from previous base when promoting, including merit.”  A policy like that becomes especially problematic when the employee being promoted from one position to another is not even close to the pay range of other employees in the same title.  
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