March 2019 Newsletter

A positive test may not equate to impairment.Those of us who have spent a lot of time in the world of drugs (gee, that doesn't sound right) know that marijuana stays in the body for weeks.  That is in contrast to the really bad drugs, like cocaine and heroin, which are usually in and out in a couple of days. What that used to mean was that pot smokers were the most likely of all users of illegal drugs to get caught in a drug test...
According to the FMLA's regulations, "When an employee seeks leave for the first time for a FMLA-qualifying reason, the employee need not expressly assert rights under the FMLA or even mention the FMLA." Courts do not interpret this burden as a heavy one. An employee need not use the letters "F-M-L-A," or any other magic words to request leave under the statute. As long as the employee provides enough information for the employer to...
A good reason to swear off gossiping at work. In a very interesting decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for my Fourth Circuit, a three-judge panel recently held that false rumors that a successful woman "slept her way to the top" can create a hostile work environment under Title VII. I agree. We usually think of sexual harassment as "sexy" behavior -- dirty jokes, unwanted kisses or gropes, invitations to spend 90 minutes at the Motel 6...
43 percent of American employees work for companies with 50 or fewer employees. I raise this statistic because it is almost a guarantee that many of these small businesses operate without a dedicated HR department or HR personnel. Earlier this month, the EEOC settled a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit it had brought against several IHOP franchises operating in New York and Nevada. The allegations were truly awful, including...
Even if your state is "easy," don't relax.It seems like all we ever read about is those more activist "blue states" -- California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York . . .  If you're an employer in a more employer-friendly "red state," you may feel left out. "Nobody ever writes about us! *sob*" Or, you may be feeling cocky. "I'll never get sued! Eat your heart out, California!" Maybe your state doesn't have an anti...
Law.com recently pronounced, "The Emojis are Coming!" That article got me thinking, are they coming to workplace litigation, too? After all, emojis are a form of communication, and work is all about communication. Which would suggest that we would start seeing them in harassment and discrimination cases. According to Bloomberg Law, mentions of emojis in federal discrimination lawsuits doubled from 2016 to 2017. Let's not get crazy. The...