New Mexico News & Analysis

  • 'Ban the box' now applies to private-sector employers in New Mexico

    Since 2010, New Mexico state agencies have been prohibited from inquiring about job applicants' criminal convictions until they are selected as finalists for the position. The law didn't apply to private-sector employers, but that is about to change. Effective June 14, 2019, private-sector employers are prohibited from initially inquiring about potential employees' criminal arrest records as well as subsequent criminal proceedings such as convictions, jail, or prison time. The new law, called the Criminal Offender Employment Act, was passed during the 2019 legislative session after several amendments and much debate.

  • EEOC rejects 'boys will be boys' excuse for same-sex harassment on construction site

    Atlas Electrical Construction, Inc., a New Mexico electrical contracting company, has agreed to pay $195,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Let's take a closer look at the case.

  • 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.

  • September 30 deadline looms for newly required EEO-1 data

    Employers required to submit EEO-1 reports to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are delving into uncharted territory as they work to collect newly required information due by September 30. While they may be accustomed to submitting traditional EEO-1 information—data on race/ethnicity and gender of employees, what's being called Component 1 data—this year they also must compile data on compensation and hours worked, what's being called Component 2 data.

  • Rising concerns about distracted drivers

    In many industries, employees are required to drive their own or company-owned vehicles as part of their job duties. In light of the ubiquity of smartphones and the ingenuity that leads to the ability to multitask while driving, employees, employers, and lawmakers have grown more and more concerned about distracted drivers.

  • Workplace Trends

    Research finds lack of mentorship and coaching. New data from media agency network Mindshare U.S. found that 42% of U.S. employees said their companies either don't offer mentorship programs or don't offer enough of them. Men were more likely than women to say they either got enough or more than enough mentorship programs at work, at 57% versus 42%. The research also found that 66% of U.S. employees rank ongoing feedback or coaching on their work as an important or very important benefit in the workplace. Yet 28% of people surveyed said that they either don't get enough ongoing coaching or feedback or that their companies don't even offer it. The data showed that women were more likely than men to feel that way, at 31% versus 25%.

  • Public employee demoted for testifying against coworker in controversial case

    In September, I wrote about an athletic director who was fired from an Oklahoma public school district after he wrote letters to a judge on behalf of his nephew, who had been convicted of child pornography (see "School fires AD who wrote letters on behalf of child pornographer" on page 1 of that month's newsletter). The issue was whether the letters' content was the motivating factor in his discharge or whether he would have been fired anyway. The case was sent back to the trial court.

  • 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.

  • R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Find out what it means to your employees

    Leadership is a two-way street, loyalty up and loyalty down. Respect for one's superiors; care for one's crew.