News & Analysis

Update on domestic violence discrimination bill

Last month, we told you about a bill pending in the Delaware Legislature that would expand the state's antidiscrimination statute (see "Dover is busy again: proposed domestic violence amendment" on pg. 1 of our June 2015 issue). House Bill (HB) 4 would prohibit discrimination on the basis of domestic violence, sexual offense, or stalking. If passed, the bill would have important implications for Delaware employers. Here are some additional key questions about HB 4 to consider.

What a difference a day makes under the FMLA

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), an eligible employee can take up to 12 weeks of protected leave for his own "serious health condition," which is defined under the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) regulations as a condition "that involves inpatient care . . . or continuing treatment by a health care provider." Although many FMLA cases have focused on the meaning of "continuing treatment," the definition of "inpatient care" has seen little review. A recent decision by the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Delaware employers) focused on the issue.

Guidance for HR after EEOC's victory in Abercrombie religious bias case

The U.S. Supreme Court sent employers a clear message in early June that a hesitance to accommodate an applicant's religion constitutes religious discrimination. The ruling against a major clothing retailer and in favor of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) stance on what constitutes religious discrimination leaves employers in need of advice on when and how to accommodate employees' and applicants' religious beliefs and practices. Here's some guidance.

Hackers gonna hack: Know the security threats facing your business

Almost anybody can be a hacker, and almost anyone (or any business) can be a target. To understand the threat hackers may pose to your organization, you need to understand what you are up against—who the hackers are, what they're doing, and why they're doing it.

The 5 worst things you can do when you get an 'I'm expecting!' e-mail

As you enjoy your morning coffee at your desk while reviewing your e-mails, a message from one of your employees, Sarah, pops up: "Just wanted to share some exciting news: I'm pregnant!" Pregnancy—social media is abuzz with the topic. Now, the pregnancy ball is in your court. Here are five mistakes to avoid.

Is it time for an employment practices audit?

Years ago, many employers performed audits of their HR policies and procedures to make sure they were in compliance with the law. However, what you did 10 years ago may not be sufficient in 2015. As employment laws and regulations change, you need to update your policies and procedures.

Key takeaways from Abercrombie decision

The Supreme Court focused on the question of whether the employer's adverse action was motivated by illegal discrimination rather than its knowledge of the applicant's protected status. While knowledge, unsubstantiated or otherwise, of an applicant's protected status will continue to be an important element of proof, the ultimate question in determining whether illegal adverse action occurred will be the employer's actual motivation for its decision.

Agency Action

Workplace Trends

Study finds employees want employer help on retirement planning. A study from financial services firm Northern Trust shows that employees favor their employers playing a more active role in their defined contribution retirement plans, but plan sponsors are reluctant to do so. More than 1,000 employees were surveyed, and they overwhelmingly favored employers providing tools to help determine if they are saving enough. But plan sponsors have reservations about encouraging specific levels of saving and providing projections of retirement savings or income for participants.

Delbert's day off: Not following call-in policy leads to discharge

A recent decision from the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Minnesota employers) offers important reminders about leave protected by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and employee attendance policies. The 8th Circuit reversed a district court's grant of summary judgment (pretrial dismissal) in favor of the employer after the court determined there were material questions about whether the company's stated reason for terminating the employee was pretextual (an excuse for discrimination) and whether it enforced its attendance policy uniformly.