July 2019 Newsletter

Avoid a seasonal faux pas! Dear Miss Mannerly: My office is business casual -- until June. Even though we don't have a lax summer dress code, many of our employees just "assume" they can dress like hooligans. We have all the usual problems - women in skimpy dresses with no undergarments, flip flops (men and women), tank tops (men and women), and other inappropriate attire for a business setting. What prompted me to write you, though, was...
Clichés like “seismic shift” and “paradigm change” do not begin to describe just how profoundly the New York legislature changed the standards for harassment claims in a bill passed June 19. HR professionals and employers beware: the sexual harassment foundation you have known for 30 years—and upon which all your in-house training, HR policies, and legal and HR instincts are built—has just been neatly demolished. Here’s why: A...
Over at her employee-rights blog, Screw You Guys, I’m Going Home, attorney Donna Ballman asks, “Is is time to terminate at-will employment laws?“Well, Donna, there’s no need to terminate these laws; they are already dead. I hear it all the time from clients. “Aren’t we an at-will employer? We paid you for that handbook that says so. Why can’t we fire this employee. This is *!%#*!” Yes, your employees are at-will. And that and a...
In an age where computer generated imagery (CGI) and digital effects enable entire film genres to exist, like Marvel’s superhero series the Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy, audiences have no expectation that movies they consume depict actual events or reflect reality. It is therefore reasonable to assume that the context and forum of how digital media and information is communicated, observed and consumed informs our default expectations of...
The National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) recently issued a decision in UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside that reverses longstanding Board precedent and holds that employers no longer have to allow nonemployee union representatives access to public areas of their property unless (1) the union has no other means of communicating with employees or (2) the employer discriminates against the union by allowing access to similar groups. The...
A bank fires two female employees for violating its vault-access policy. They claim sex discrimination, pointing their fingers squarely at three male employees who they say violated the same policy, but only received performance counseling.Open and shut discrimination case? Not quite. The two fired employees were caught on video violating the policy and admitted to their misdeeds. The three men who they say are comparable? Two denied it, and...