News & Analysis

EOs support unions, establish minimum wage for federal contractors

President Joe Biden recently signed two Executive Orders (EOs) with substantial implications for nonunion employers as well as those employing workers on federal contracts and subcontracts. Let's take a closer look.

3 things to consider before requiring vaccine passports at workplace

COVID-19 vaccine passports seem to be the hot-button issue of the day. Most of the media coverage and remarks from politicians have focused on companies requiring customers, guests, or students to have proof of vaccination before returning to school or entering the business. But what about employers? Can you require a new worker to present proof of vaccination as a condition of employment or provide a hiring preference to applicants who have been vaccinated?

'Cruella' at work: how to eradicate toxic managers from your business

Disney's newest movie, Cruella, tells the story of Cruella de Vil, the puppy-stealing psychopath who uses the animals' fur for her over-the-top sartorial splendor. She's deranged and unapologetically wicked, the villain you love to hate—she's Cruella!

5th Circuit delivers win to UPS on discrimination, hostile environment claims

A recent decision from the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals (which covers Louisiana and Mississippi employers) demonstrates how objectively documenting an employee's poor performance can dispose of discrimination claims before a costly trial.

Dust off your interactive process hats as more remote workers are recalled

With more workers being invited back into the workplace as the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be subsiding, you can expect an uptick in requests for disability accommodations to continue working remotely in some capacity, even when the asserted disability isn't coronavirus-related. If the past is any indication of the future (and in this case, I think it is), managers and HR pros would be wise to dust off their interactive process hats.

What employers need to know about Alabama's new medical marijuana law

Governor Kay Ivey recently signed Alabama's new medical marijuana law, joining more than 30 other states to permit physician-prescribed use of the drug for certain medical conditions. Although the legislation decriminalizes prescribed use under state law, it remains illegal under federal law.

Wheels on the bus: If they're going round and round, must you pay?

Not everyone gets to park outside their office's front door and be at their desk within two minutes of turning off their ignition. In fact, in a recent case from the 5th Circuit, the workers were required to ride a bus to the jobsite, and on occasion, they would have to get to their park-and-ride site hours before their shift began so they could arrive in a timely manner. Was the employer required to pay them for that time since riding the bus was mandatory? What about the fact that the wait was protracted? Let's take a look!

Diversity initiatives, religious freedom, and LGBTQ+ rights can coexist at work

Maintaining a diverse workforce is increasingly necessary for companies to be competitive and successful in the global marketplace. But what happens when diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives collide head-on with your obligation to accommodate an employee's religious beliefs? Employers are facing such dilemmas with increasing frequency as they build and strengthen their efforts toward a diverse and equitable workplace.

11th Circuit: Doesn't take much interstate commerce to trigger FLSA coverage

The 11th Circuit (which has appellate jurisdiction over federal trial courts in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia) recently issued an important decision about when an employee is covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Specifically, the court looked at whether the Act protects an employee who makes three to five phone calls per week to out-of-state customers and vendors.

Allegations of rude, dismissive treatment not enough to support harassment claim

The U.S. Supreme Court's Bostock decision extended the protections against discrimination and harassment under Title VII to gay and transgender persons. The landmark 2020 ruling, however, in no way lowered the legal standard required to prove sexual harassment, the 5th Circuit recently decided. The ruling makes clear that simple rude treatment, without more, isn't enough to establish a Title VII violation.