Alabama News & Analysis

  • Cutting-Edge HR

    Survey finds enhancing employee experience a priority. More than nine in 10 employers (94%) say enhancing the employee experience will be an important priority at their organization over the next three years. That compares with just 54% that indicated it was important to their organization before the pandemic, according to a survey from advisory firm Willis Towers Watson. The 2021 Employee Experience Survey also shows that adapting to the new reality of work will take time and require a hybrid work model, and many employers are not ready to meet that challenge. The survey also shows most respondents believe a positive employee experience is a key driver of engagement, employee well-being, productivity, and ability to attract and retain talent. The survey also shows that while employers expect the proportion of their employees working primarily remotely will drop in three years, they expect one in four will be working a mix of on-site and remotely in three years, triple the current number.

  • Federal Watch

    Scabby the Rat survives NLRB decision. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a decision on July 21 finding a union didnt violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by displaying a 12-foot inflatable rat with red eyes, fangs, and claws and two large banners, one targeting a neutral employer, near the public entrance to a trade show. The NLRB General Counsel during the Trump administration had alleged the display of Scabby the Rat and the banners was unlawfully coercive. The Board had earlier solicited comments on the question. Three NLRB members joined in an opinion dismissing the complaint. In her separate concurrence, Chair Lauren M. McFerran expressed her belief the outcome of the caseLippert Components, Inc.was required by Board precedent. In a separate concurrence, members Marvin E. Kaplan and John F. Ring agreed the complaint must be dismissed to avoid creating a possible conflict with the First Amendment, but they expressed disagreement with part of the prior precedent. Member William J. Emanuel dissented, saying he would have found t

  • DOL COVID-19 emergency temporary standard covers healthcare workers

    Earlier this year, President Joe Biden issued an Executive Order (EO) directing the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop an emergency temporary standard (ETS) for controlling COVID-19 and protecting workers. On June 10, OSHA finally issued the ETS but limited it to healthcare settings. Let's take a closer look.

  • DOL proposes limits to tip credit for tasks 'directly supporting' tipped work

    On June 21, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) proffering limits on the tip credit employers can take during workweeks when tipped employees perform tasks that "directly support" tipped work but don't themselves produce tips. If adopted, the proposal would cap the use of the tip credit for those tasks at 20% of an employee's total hours worked during a particular workweek. In addition, if the tasks exceed 30 minutes for any continuous period of time, the proposed regulation would prohibit employers from applying the tip credit to any portion of the continuous period. The latter prohibition would apply regardless of the total amount of supporting work performed during any workweek.

  • Checkmate: Unchecked boxes on EEOC charge form halt bias, retaliation claims

    The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals (which covers Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas) recently upheld the dismissal of a former employee's sexual orientation discrimination and retaliation claims because he hadn't exhausted administrative remedies with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) before filing suit. Although he mentioned sex discrimination and retaliation in the EEOC intake questionnaire, he hadn't checked the boxes on the agency's charge form, and his former employer hadn't been put on notice of the claims. You should always consider whether an employee has properly and fully exhausted all claims, but keep in mind that charge-form boxes alone don't always control an employee's fate.

  • Win for Winn-Dixie: Limited-use website isn't place of public accommodation

    In a much-anticipated decision, the 11th Circuit (which covers Alabama, Florida, and Georgia employers) recently provided relief to businesses facing website accessibility lawsuits filed by serial litigants.

  • 5th Circuit highlights importance of treating equals equally

    It has been said consistency is more important than perfection. Though that is arguable in the legal world, the importance of an employer's consistency cannot be overstated. A recent decision by the 5th Circuit hinged on an employer's lack of consistency and highlights the need for you to treat equals equally.

  • 11th Circuit offers guidance on mental disabilities and workplace safety

    Major depressive disorder affects many Americans. In 2017, about seven percent of U.S. adults endured at least one major depressive episode, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. When the depressive episodes occur at work, they can create tough HR challenges. On May 27, 2021, the 11th Circuit analyzed a case dealing with an employee with major depression in the workplace. The court ruled it was permissible to terminate the individual, who made threats against her own life and the lives of others, even though she had a mental disorder and had participated in statutorily protected activity.

  • 5th Circuit rejects fired transgender employee's discrimination claim

    An employer wasn't liable to a former employee who alleged he was terminated because he was transgender, the 5th Circuit recently ruled, upholding a Houston federal district court decision. The appeals court said the former employee failed to allege he was treated differently than cisgender employees. The court's opinion offers guidance on an emerging area of employment discrimination law in light of a recent important U.S. Supreme Court decision.

  • Employers beginning to navigate the age of workforce ecosystems

    It didn't take a pandemic to get workforce experts thinking about the future of work. Freelancers, gig workers, remote workers, and others who don't fit the traditional 9-to-5 mold have been playing important roles for years. The pandemic did, however, spark more thinking about the best ways to acquire, retain, and benefit from various kinds of talent.