Louisiana News & Analysis

  • LA bill banning sexual orientation and gender identity bias still alive—barely

    The 2019 regular session of the Louisiana Legislature is now in full swing. All of the prefiled employment-related bills we reported in the May issue are still alive, although some are stalled in committee, including a bill that would expand the state antidiscrimination law to cover sexual orientation and gender identity. The outlook for the bills seeking to increase the state minimum wage and mandate paid family and medical leave also remains in doubt. Let's take a look at what our lawmakers have been up to since our last report.

  • Facebook post lands HR manager in hot water

    Building on its reassertion that Title VII doesn't cover sexual orientation, the federal appeals court in New Orleans recently ruled there is no protection for employees who complain about perceived sexual orientation bias either. An HR manager who posted her opinions on Facebook about a man trying on a dress—and was subsequently fired for unsatisfactory job performance—couldn't make a case for retaliation under Title VII. Why? Her complaint that she was being mistreated because of her sexual orientation (heterosexual) didn't constitute protected activity. Let's take a closer look at what happened.

  • Supreme Court will decide whether LGBT discrimination is unlawful

    The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide the long-unresolved question of whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The issue has been percolating in the lower courts for quite a while. As it frequently does, the Court declined to consider the question until there was a conflict between several appellate courts. Let's take a look at the history of the Court's decisions, the arguments on both sides of the issue, and what we can expect next.

  • Love lost in litigation—when is reinstatement an appropriate remedy?

    Hostility and acrimony incidental to litigation aren't enough to limit an employee's right to reinstatement under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the 5th Circuit recently explained. Let's see what led to that result.

  • What if employee's feet stink? Answers to common and not-so-common workplace issues

    Q A new employee has a significant odor problem. He says the cause is a foot infection, but he isn't eligible for benefits yet and is putting off going to the doctor. Are we crossing any lines by requiring him to see a doctor?

  • 2019 Louisiana Legislative Watch: potential new workplace laws

    The start of the 2019 regular session of the Louisiana Legislature means we are back with our annual "Legislative Watch" series. This year, the legislature will take up several familiar topics, including raising the minimum wage and protecting LGBT individuals from discrimination. Following a trend in many states, it also will consider whether it's time for a paid family and medical leave law in Louisiana. If passed, the bills will have a significant impact on employers across the state.

  • Stand-alone claim for attorneys' fees survives in alleged bad-faith trade secret dispute

    A restaurant group sued a former employee in federal court in New Orleans, alleging he misappropriated its trade secrets when planning to open a competing restaurant. In response, he countersued, seeking his attorneys' fees for defending against "bad faith" claims of trade secret theft. The federal court recently held the former employee's counterclaim was legally viable and survived the restaurant group's request to dismiss.

  • Injuries to contractor's employees cost principal $2.5 million

    The federal appeals court in New Orleans recently affirmed a multimillion-dollar verdict against a company arising from a workplace accident involving an independent contractor's employees. The case highlights the potential risks associated with using contract laborers and the need for enforceable contract language when engaging in such arrangements.

  • DOL says FMLA leave mandatory for employees and employers

    After more than 25 years, you might think questions regarding proper interpretation of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) would be settled. It's a highly regulated law, and it provides employers far more detail and clarity than they get with most other labor and employment laws.

  • Tips to ensure you are prepared for a deposition

    For an HR professional, giving a deposition is a lot like visiting the dentist. You know it's necessary, but you probably aren't looking forward to it. You may be asked questions you don't want to answer (like how often you actually floss). And finally, consistently responsible practices should reduce your stress levels about the event, make it go a lot smoother, and prevent worse problems in the future.