News & Analysis

About face: denial of promotion and termination not discrimination

The 8th Circuit recently affirmed a district court's dismissal of an IT professional's claim of age discrimination.

Bring a friend: employee's right to representation during disciplinary meetings

Q Does an employee have the right to have someone present at his termination and/or disciplinary action?

Does a brief, temporary condition constitute a disability?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines disability in three ways: (1) "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major activities"; (2) "a record of such impairment"; or (3) "being regarded as having such an impairment." The purpose of the 2008 ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) was to reject the U.S. Supreme Court's narrow interpretation of the definition of disability under the ADA and to "reinstate a broad scope of protection." Specifically, the ADAAA states that the phrase "substantially limits" must be construed broadly in favor of expansive coverage.

Rules redux: ICA writes voluntary PTO into new proposal

I have a strong sense of déjà vu as I compose this month's report on paid sick time (PST) developments. I have a mental picture of Bill Murray as the weather broadcaster in the movie Groundhog Day, doomed to repeat one particular February 2 until he gets it right. I identify with Murray's character as I report yet again on this game changer brought to Arizona workplaces when 58 percent of voters said yes to Proposition 206, the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act. Also stuck in the Murray role is the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA), which has issued a supplemental rule proposal to implement PST. Not stuck in the loop are Arizona employers, who had to begin complying with the law on July 1.

With HR's help, employee network groups can improve retention

From the employer's perspective, employee network groups can boost engagement and retention ― or they can create divisiveness. To ensure the former, employers need to be involved from the start.

9th Circuit broadly interprets whistleblower protections

Does an employee become a "whistleblower" merely by reporting possible securities law violations to his employer, or does he have to take the concern to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)? The answer to that question matters ― because the antiretaliation provisions of the federal Dodd-Frank Act (DFA) extend only to employees who have engaged in whistleblowing as defined in the statute. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Arizona employers) recently decided that the DFA protects not only workers who go to the SEC but also those who register their concerns internally.

Agency Action

EEOC marks 50th anniversary of ADEA with discussion on discrimination. Experts invited to a June meeting of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) told of the continuing effects of age discrimination 50 years after passage of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). A 2017 AARP survey reports that nearly two-thirds of workers age 55 to 64 report their age as a barrier to getting a job. Also, a 2015 survey using résumés for workers at various ages found significant discrimination in hiring for female applicants and the oldest applicants, according to Patrick Button, an assistant professor of economics at Tulane University and a researcher with the National Bureau of Economic Research Disability Research Center. Laurie McCann, a senior attorney for AARP Foundation Litigation, called on the EEOC to strengthen ADEA protections and enforcement. John Challenger of the outplacement and career transition firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said that older workers, particularly skilled workers, are being channeled out of the workforce, dam

Federal agencies target outreach to employee advocates

The first thing about the e-mail that caught my eye was that I was not invited. The e-mail was from the Phoenix District Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). I got it because I subscribe to receive the local office press releases. From the first two sentences, though, I got the clear message that I was not welcome at the event it was announcing: "EEOC in partnership with other federal agencies is hosting an advocacy meeting on June 22, 2017. Due to limited space, this event is only open to employee rights advocates and those providing services to community members who may have workplace issues." The e-mail touted what a "unique opportunity" it would be to "hear directly from the federal agencies affecting the workplace."

More than a hunch: making better hiring decisions

Recently, I overheard a conversation between two department managers in the hallway of a client organization:

Manager A: "I will not be in our staff meeting today because I have to interview a candidate for the vacancy in my department at 9:00 a.m. If she shows up on time and has no criminal record, I am going ask HR to process this candidate as a new hire."

Delaware employers rush to get high (priority)

We've been discussing concerns about the Delaware Medical Marijuana Act since it was signed into law in 2011. The Delaware General Assembly has subsequently decriminalized small amounts of marijuana and considered legalizing the drug for recreational use. In light of the rapidly changing landscape, the General Assembly has established a marijuana task force to address the various issues raised by marijuana in the First State. Read on to learn about the task force and how you can make use of this new venue to voice your concerns.