You Can’t Wear That Here: EEOC Issues Guidance Regarding Religious Garb and Grooming in the Workplace

Last month the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued updated guidance on the requirements employers must follow when an employee seeks an accommodation for religious clothing or personal grooming requirements. In its Question and Answer and Fact Sheet publications, the EEOC attempts to clarify when an employer must make such accommodations and for whom. The most recent guidance offers a good opportunity to revisit an employer’s obligation when it comes to modifying its policies and practices when religious beliefs and practices issues arise. Continue reading this entry

Keep Quiet No Longer: President Prohibits Retaliation for Pay Data Disclosure and Wants to Poke Around Federal Contractor Compensation Data

“All information regarding Company wages and benefits is confidential and employees are prohibited from discussing or disclosing such information to others. Employees who violate this policy may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.” Continue reading this entry

“Why I Oughta …” Leave Retaliation to the Stooges and Avoid Liability

Retaliation was a linchpin of the slap stick comedy of The Three Stooges. A retaliatory poke in the eye, a tit-for-tat clout to the top of the head, or a responsive jab to the gut — all animated by some well-coordinated but silly sound effect.

But the issue of retaliation in the workplace is strictly serious business. And the related challenges for employers continue to grow. Claims of retaliation are steadily increasing, exposing employers to ever more potential liabilities and requiring more and more employer resources to defend against such mounting claims. In its fiscal year-end charge data published this past February, the EEOC reported that retaliation is the most common claim asserted in charges filed with the EEOC in its FY’13 report. Some 38,500 charges filed with the EEOC last year alleged retaliation, representing over 41% of all charges filed. Moreover, this proliferation of retaliation claims is not new — the number of EEOC charges  alleging retaliation has increased in each of the last eight years. Continue reading this entry

What’s an Employer to Do When a Customer Says, “Give Them the FBI Treatment…”?

Picture this scenario: a marketing company signs a new client. As part of the contract between them, the client requires the marketing company to sign a document agreeing that any marketing company employees who perform work for the client must pass a broad background check including a full criminal history, confirmation of past employers and home addresses reaching years back, and a full drug screen. This document is handed to the marketing company as a simple, standard document that all service providers must sign. Far too often, the marketing company in this scenario simply signs the document along with all of the others without thinking twice. Continue reading this entry

OSHA Shines Its Headlights On Auto Suppliers

In a continuation of the Obama Administration’s amped up regulatory enforcement agenda, OSHA recently announced its intention to target auto suppliers. In its Regional Emphasis Program For Safety Hazards in the Auto Parts Supplier Industry, OSHA identified hazards that it believes are particularly prevalent in the industry. According to OSHA, workers in the auto supplier industry are particularly exposed to “caught-in, crushing, struck-by and electrical hazards due to the machinery utilized in making these parts,” resulting in serious injuries, including amputations and deaths. As a result, OSHA is instituting an outreach and enforcement program covering all auto suppliers in the Southeast. Continue reading this entry