It was a very mixed bag of a month, in terms of employment law news. Headlines ranged from bills hitting a brick wall in the Senate to, oh, a topless woman trashing a McDonalds. Read on…
Two major bills involving wages failed to pass the U.S. Senate last month. The Paycheck Fairness Act, which addressed gender discrimination in salary couldn’t muster the 60 votes it needed to pass. Nor could the Minimum Wage Fairness Act, which proposed to raise the minimum wage for federal employees to $10.10 an hour.
Employers also scored a win when a circuit court upheld the dismissal of a suit brought by the EEOC challenging the use of credit history checks as a factor in hiring.
As usual, the Americans with Disabilities Act figured in the employment-law news last month. The case of the Walgreen’s employee who was fired for eating part of a bag of chips before paying for it will go to a jury trial. Why does this involve the ADA? Because the employee has diabetes and hypoglycemia and claimed to be eating the chips in an effort to rescue her blood sugar level.
Elsewhere in ADA-land, a deaf government employee was notoriously hard on interpreters, and claimed that he was fired as a retaliation for dismissing so many of his interpreters. However, the case was found to be not a case of retaliation but a case of the employee being generally awful to everyone who tried to work with him, so the firing was not retaliatory.
Interpreters are a “reasonable accommodation” an employer can and should provide to a disabled employee, and so, according to one circuit court, is telecommuting.
In California, a court ruled that employers can request a fitness-for-duty examination before returning an employee who’s been out on FMLA leave to work. The employee in question had been certified by her physician, but her employer wanted to conduct their own exam, and the court ruled that they could.
We weren’t sure whether this next item was real or not, because the case in question was filed on April 1, but it’s legit: the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has announced that non-union employer policies prohibiting negativity in the workplace are illegal under the NLRA. As with so many other things involving negativity and gossip, Facebook is a factor here.
Quick answer time: Can an employee voluntarily refuse overtime pay if they work overtime hours? Nope.
Do you remember the case the Oakland Raiders cheerleaders brought about their designation as independent contractors rather than employees? Well, the Buffalo Bills cheerleaders want in on it too.
And finally, we closed with three great “They did what?!” cases:
- A police officer claims to be too injured to work… but not too injured to serve as the lead singer for a band called Cousin Sleaze. The police officer’s supposedly out-of-commission arms were seen flailing wildly at band shows.
- It’s all about respecting a company’s privacy: when a topless woman trashes a McDonalds, yes, the event will be caught on CCTV, but no, you shouldn’t release that footage, no matter how hilariously bizarre it is.
- What could be more outrageous than vandalism wearing only a thong? Oh, a case of sexual harassment in which the defendant is charged with “frequent solicitations for oral sex, and regular touching, grabbing, and biting of male workers on their buttocks and genitals.” No wonder the company settled for $2 million!