February 2018 Newsletter

Prior to the effective date of the tax bill recently signed by the President,  Section 164 of the Internal Revenue Code permitted individuals who itemized deductions to deduct state and local income and other designated taxes (SALT) in calculating their Federal taxable income.  Congress amended Section 164 for years beginning after 2017 and prior to 2026 to limit SALT deductions to $10,000 per year and, as a practical matter, to...
Amber Bridges, the former Lead Staff in the City of Indianapolis Magistrate Court, claims that her efforts to ease employees’ complaints about a co-worker's body odor got her fired. When employees and staff members began to complain about the co-worker’s “chronic body odor,” Bridges installed air fresheners throughout the office. Months later, however, the malodorous employee complained to her boss that the air fresheners created a hostile...
Just say no! Of course, the Aziz Ansari "date debacle" (or whatever it was) was not a workplace harassment situation. First, Mr. Ansari and his anonymous date were not co-workers. Second, Mr. Ansari may have been "forward," but it doesn't sound to me like he sexually harassed or assaulted her. None of which is to deny that his behavior may have been genuinely offensive to her. If she was hoping for a relationship and he was looking for...
How do you discuss sexual harassment and other sexual misconduct with your friends and colleagues? Saturday Night Live, in one of its most brilliant sketches in a long time, offers a suggestion. Or, rather, a suggestion not to have the conversation at all. But can you prohibit your employees from discussing #MeToo in the workplace? Maybe. Or Maybe not. It likely depends on whether employees are offering a general political viewpoint,...
Every once in awhile, my posts must return to the nuts and bolts of FMLA, and this is one of ‘dem ‘dere posts. After all, I can’t always cover scintillating topics such as Beyonce concerts, bullies who abuse FMLA leave and whether FMLA covers excess trips to the potty. Yet, the FMLA topic de jour is no less important because I address below an issue critical to FMLA compliance:  How often must an employer...
Can an employee, terminated for refusing to submit to a “reasonable suspicion” drug test, sue the employer for discrimination? According to one recent federal district court opinion (and good ol’ common sense), the answer is no. James Tombeno worked for FedEx for 22 years as a sales executive. At the time of his hire, Tombeno signed an agreement that required him to submit to drug and alcohol testing upon FedEx’s request.  FedEx...