News & Analysis

Slamming the brakes: Court upholds denial of workers' comp benefits to trucker

The Arkansas Court of Appeals recently affirmed an Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission decision that denied benefits to a truck driver because he lacked credibility connecting his health complaints to the incident in question and because he failed to offer objective medical evidence establishing that he sustained an injury.

Hollywood scandals generate new interest in workplace harassment

The past couple of months have been a little crazy. It seems like every day, we hear a new salacious story about inappropriate sexual behavior committed by various movers and shakers in La La Land and beyond.

More employers can claim contraception exemption under new rules

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced recently that it was expanding the circumstances in which an employer can offer a group health plan that doesn't cover contraception. The action was taken in response to an Executive Order from President Donald Trump asking the agency to amend the contraception coverage regulations to promote religious liberty. New exemptions allow a wider range of employers to opt out of providing coverage for some or all types of contraception if they can demonstrate a religious or moral objection to doing so.

Cutting back: reduced hours as discipline

Q We have a few nonexempt, salaried workers who excessively violate our attendance policy. Can we discipline them by reducing their work hours? They would remain full-time, and benefits wouldn't be affected, but their annual salary obviously would be reduced.

Three isolated racial comments don't make workplace hostile

The only African-American employee at a workplace felt he was subjected to racially offensive comments and ostracism, but a federal appellate court ruled that the offensive conduct he alleged fell short of meeting the requirements for a race discrimination claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Hollywood scandals generate new interest in workplace harassment

The past couple of months have been a little crazy. It seems like every day, we hear a new salacious story about inappropriate sexual behavior committed by various movers and shakers in La La Land and beyond.

More employers can claim contraception exemption under new rules

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced recently that it was expanding the circumstances in which an employer can offer a group health plan that doesn't cover contraception. The action was taken in response to an Executive Order from President Donald Trump asking the agency to amend the contraception coverage regulations to promote religious liberty. New exemptions allow a wider range of employers to opt out of providing coverage for some or all types of contraception if they can demonstrate a religious or moral objection to doing so.

Reading disorders, government employees, and national security

Although the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) doesn't apply to federal employees, the Rehabilitation Act requires the federal government to reasonably accommodate otherwise qualified disabled workers. In a recent case involving an employee with a previously unidentified reading disorder—which raised national security concerns because of his involvement with nuclear weapons—the 10th Circuit showed just how seriously courts view the Rehabilitation Act's accommodation requirements.

Agency Action

EEOC launches respectful workplace training program. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced in early October 2017 two new training programs for employers: Leading for Respect (for supervisors) and Respect in the Workplace (for all employees). The training programs focus on respect, acceptable workplace conduct, and the types of behavior that contribute to a respectful and inclusive workplace. The programs are customizable for different types of workplaces and include a section for reviewing employers own harassment prevention policies and procedures. The training program is an outgrowth of the Report of the Co-Chairs of the EEOCs Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace. We always said the report was just a first step, said EEOC member Victoria Lipnic, who is a coauthor of the report. Implementation of the reports recommendations is key. These trainings incorporate the reports recommendations on compliance, workplace civility, and bystander intervention training.

You are free to offer executives extra maternity leave

Q Our company offers three weeks of paid maternity leave for the general employee population. We are wanting to offer executive-level employees five weeks of paid maternity leave. Are there any issues with this?