Employment Law Blog Carnival: A Festival of Lessons

Festival of Lessons Employment Law Blog Carnival‘Tis the season — celebrations, festivals and observations:  Hanukka, Boxing Day, Omisoka, St. Lucia Day, Ramadan, Saturnalia, Bodhi Day, Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Yule, Kwanzaa, Three Kings Day, Eid al-Fitr, Saint Nicholas Day, Christmas.

Not to be outdone, my fellow employment law bloggers and I have joined right in with our own “Festival of Lessons” for this December edition of the Employment Law Blog Carnival.  A special thanks to all the great bloggers who contributed this month and for allowing me to host this esteemed group.

Now let the Festival of Lessons begin!!

Lesson of Thankfulness

In too many workplaces, HR professionals work tirelessly with little thanks for their efforts. Vanessa Goddard is out to change that with this poem of holiday thanks:  ‘Twas the Holiday Season:  Here We Go Again

Lesson on Internal Investigations

Higher education and sports teams have been in the headlines recently for their poor handling on internal investigations into claims of harassment and discrimination. Per Jennifer Keaton, the University of Minnesota is an exception and she highlights in her lesson on internal investigations Three Things the University Did Right that Most Employers do Wrong.

Lesson of Generosity

Yes, there is such a thing as being too generous — at least in the workplace. As Sharlyn Lauby points out in her lesson on generosity, sometimes engaging in generosity can generate unintended legal risks — Handling a Negative Sick Pay Balance.

Lesson on Anti-Muslim Rants

Given the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., I think we can expect that in at least some workplaces someone is going to go on an anti-muslim rant. Donna Ballman is exactly right in her important lesson that unless the employer “shut[s] them down speedy quick,” Those Anti-Muslim Rants Are Going To Get You Sued.

Lesson on Harassment

Many employees mistakenly believe that any negative interaction constitutes illegal harassment.  Not the case. Click here to read Stuart Rudner’s lesson on why Managing is Not Harassment.

Lesson on Holiday Pay

The holidays are a hectic shopping period with extended hours and Doug Hass rightfully reminds employers that this is also a time when retailers need to be especially mindful of their obligations under the FLSA and state and local laws, especially in light of the Department of Labors Recent Outreach to Retailers’ Employees.

Lesson on Holiday Parties

There’s an old joke among employment lawyers that we get some of our best cases (read high legal fees) as a result of holiday parties run amok. Be sure to read Andrea Paris’ Holiday Party Checklist for Employers to learn your lessons now and avoid being that employer.

Lesson on Social Media

Thanks to Eric B. Meyer for this reminder that Yes, Employees Can Fight Workplace Harassment with Social Media. In this important lesson for employers, he urges them to not make social media a measure of first resort for your employees, but rather to provide multiple direct and effective methods for employees to address their concerns and improve the workplace.

Lesson on Weapons at Work

Given the instances of workplace violence in the news, many employers are considering banning weapons at work. Janette Levey Frisch warns that may or may not be possible depending on state and local laws in her blog Can You Ban Weapons in the Workplace?

Lesson on National Origin Discrimination

Among Title VII’s less-used provisions is its prohibition of discrimination on the basis of “national origin” and as Robert Fitzpatrick rightly points a plethora of open issues remain with these types of discrimination cases. Click here to read Fitzpatrick’s analysis of a recent New Mexico case where the Court Recognized a Claim of National Origin Discrimination Based on Non-Hispanic Status and Rejected the Heightened Proof Standard for Non-Minority Claims.

Lesson on Job Descriptions

Too many employers either don’t have job descriptions or have poorly written job descriptions that are creating undue legal risk. The good news for readers of this blog – Bill Goren has some great lessons for us all in What’s Wrong with This Job Description? Let Me Count the Ways.

Lesson on Alcoholism and Disability

By now, most everyone in the HR profession has been challenged with managing the legal risks associated with disciplining or terminating an alcoholic as alcoholism is considered a disability under the Americans with Disability Act as well as most, if not all, state disability laws. Robin Shea has some great lessons for us all in her take on the Trojan Travails and Coach Sarkisian’s Alcoholism-Discrimination Lawsuit Against USC.

Lesson on Accommodating Hearing Loss

According to a 2011 study led by researchers from Johns Hopkins, nearly 20% of Americans 12 and older have hearing loss so severe that it may make communication difficult.  Given this large percentage, most employers will at some point be faced with a duty to accommodate an employee or applicant who has, due to illness or age, acquired hearing related problems. The good news for readers of this blog is that Mike Haberman has some excellent lessons and suggestions for Accommodating the “Hard of Hearing” Employee.