Montana News & Analysis

  • 10th Circuit: Private corporation serving Navajo Nation immune from Title VII suit

    The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming employers) recently affirmed the dismissal of an employment discrimination lawsuit against a private corporation serving the Navajo Nation, finding it constituted an "Indian tribe" and was thus excluded from the legal obligations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

  • Need-to-know info about new Colorado family, medical leave law

    Joining just a handful of other states with similar laws, Colorado voters approved a ballot initiative—Proposition 118—creating a state-run insurance program that will provide paid family and medical leave to employees in the state. The program will be funded through a new payroll tax split evenly between employers and employees, with the tax initially set at 0.9% of an employee's wages (up to an applicable limit discussed below). Employers and employees will begin paying into the program on January 1, 2023, and benefits will be available to workers beginning January 1, 2024.

  • For Colorado employers, 2020 causes sickening whiplash

    In a year beset by cataclysmic changes in business and social life, Colorado employers faced more than just ever-changing guidance and advice on how to keep themselves and their employees safe. They also faced the near-herculean task of staying abreast of constantly changing paid sick leave rules. Many experienced truly sickening whiplash.

  • Employers weighing whether to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations

    A limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine will become available before the end of 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently predicted. While that would be good news for those of us who look forward to returning to our favorite prepandemic activities, it presents difficult questions for employers: Can you require employees to be vaccinated? Should you do so? Like most things in 2020, the answer isn't easy.

  • Another potential COVID-19 casualty: workplace collaboration

    The year 2020 has been a challenging one for our nation and the world. In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States has faced heightened racial tensions and a deep political divide culminating in a contested presidential election. Emotions have been running high, and fear seems to rule the day. Through it all, our workplaces unfortunately haven't been spared from the turmoil. Millions lost their jobs, and millions of others are working from home, often in physical isolation from their colleagues. If the health crisis doesn't end soon so we can get back together, I worry about the unavoidable loss of collaboration and trust that helped many employers and employees to weather the first round of the outbreak.

  • Promoting workplace diversity: What's legal and what works

    Motivated by a summer of protests as well as a recognition of inequality in their ranks, a number of high-profile corporations recently committed to make their workforces—especially their leadership—more diverse. But those efforts raised red flags after President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order (EO) in September that questioned the legality of some of those commitments. Lawsuits aimed at quashing the order soon followed. Even if the order survives court challenges, there's little doubt that as president, Joe Biden will rescind it. But the order, which affected federal employers and private-sector employers that do business with the federal government, left many employers wondering how to best accomplish their diversity goals in a politicized environment.

  • As retaliation claims rise, employers need to be on guard

    A recent report from the National Women's Law Center (NWLC) includes a startling statistic about how often employees say they experience retaliation after reporting instances of sexual harassment. The organization found that 72% of workers who experienced sexual harassment said they also faced retaliation. That should be a warning to employers to make sure managers know the seriousness of retaliation charges and how to avoid them.

  • COVID still tops employment law trends for 2021

    Q As we look forward to the new year, what are the top employment law trends we should keep an eye on?

  • Handling requests to transfer accrued sick leave

    Q We have an employee who has resigned and wants to donate her sick time to a coworker. Our policy states we will pay out vacation time but not sick leave. How should we handle sick leave transfers with all employees?

  • Understanding USERRA and probationary periods

    Q Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), can a police officers probationary period be extended for the amount of time she is on military leave? This also would cause her performance evaluation to be delayed for the same amount of time as the leave.