Monday, May 22, 2017

That is SO last week

Last week, a California Department of Transportation worker with severe allergies to scents and  household chemicals won a $3.3 million jury verdict in a disability harassment lawsuit. The employee claimed that his supervisors disregarded accommodations he’d been given, harassed and bullied him, and allowed scented items to be used in his vicinity. For five years, the agency had provided a reasonable accommodation for the employee’s severe allergies by asking employees not to wear certain perfumes and asking cleaning staff not to use certain products. The employee alleged that a new supervisor failed to enforce the fragrance-free policies, used abusive language with the employee, and had the employee relocated to workspaces that exacerbated his condition. The case is a good reminder that fragrance sensitivities can be disabilities, and may be entitled to reasonable accommodations or other protections under the ADA and comparable state disability laws.

Discrimination

A religious camping and retreat business in Texas agreed to pay $70,000 to settle EEOC charges that the business demoted an employee after learning she had a pregnancy-related complication.

Ask a Manager’s Alison Green addressed the potential fallout from an HR investigation of an employee’s report of workplace harassment or discrimination.

Two former Wal-Mart employees filed a lawsuit alleging that the retailer’s company-wide policy  denied pregnant women the same accommodations as workers with other disabilities.

A Pennsylvania federal court held that a transgender woman can maintain claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act for employment discrimination related to her “gender identity disorder." 

Technology

Morning Consult suggests that AI is more likely to replace jobs traditionally held by women, such as those in the retail and service sectors.

New York Magazine examined how the workplace instant messaging app Slack is changing the workplace and worker behavior.

Harvard Business Review argued that the best cybersecurity investment is employee training.

In Other News

The Washington Post reported that the number of CEO dismissals due to ethics violations increased by 36% from 2011 to 2016.

As reported by Fast Company, an Economic Policy Institute study estimates that US employers collectively fail to pay $15 billion owed to workers under minimum wage laws.

HR Dive interviewed Eric B. Meyer on how to support transgender employees during their transition.

The Department of Labor suspended an Obama-era OSHA rule that requires employers to report injury and illness data electronically.

New York’s Freelance Isn’t Free Act took effect on May 15, giving independent contractors and other on-demand workers some of the pay protections and other rights afforded to employees.