August has been one tumultuous month, what with an earthquake and a hurricane hitting in less than a week. It was also a tumultuous month in the courtrooms, too, with cases ranging from health insurance to something called “Miniskirt Monday.” Here’s a look at some of the legal and regulatory decisions that made the news this month:
The appeals court for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta ruled that the mandated-coverage portion of health care reform is unconstitutional. Because this ruling conflicts with an earlier ruling from a U.S. circuit court, the next stop is the Supreme Court. In an election year, no less! Should be interesting.
In other federal-mandate news, the National Labor Relations Board has published a rule requiring all workplaces to post the National Labor Relations Act, including its information on employees’ rights to form and join unions. You might already be publishing this information as part of your workplace posters; if not, time to start.
The NLRB also ruled on three separate cases involving social media. In each case, an employee’s comments on Facebook were at issue. Interestingly, the NLRB came down on the side of the company in one of the cases, not because the employee in question wished a horrible death on his employers via Facebook, but because no other employees were involved in the discussion.
If all this talk of lawsuits, regulatory bodies, judgments and rulings is making you long for an employment lawsuit, you’re in luck! Employment & Labor Insider has a fantastic guide to the “worst practices” to follow to ensure that a subpoena is in your future. Remember, when you read this, these are things not to do!
For an example of how “worst practices” can make the difference, compare these two age-discrimination cases: In the first, no cause was found for the employee’s complaint and no party was called out for egregious behavior. In the second case, the complaining employee was subject to obvious discrimination and even abuse. Worst practices in action!
But few cases could approach the heights of worst-practice-ism that a recent lawsuit in Utah does: A woman has sued her employer, claiming that among other jaw-dropping acts of sexual harassment, he gave her a suggested “schedule” that included “Miniskirt Monday,” “Tube-Top Tuesday” and three more days of lawsuit fodder. This goes without saying, but: don’t do that. Ever. Fire anyone who does.
And we finish up with a reminder that since harassment is rarely a one-time occurrence, HR needs to stay on top of harassment claims and make sure the offending behavior has stopped.
What a month! Let’s hope for a safe, profitable, calm September.