The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that class actions barred by many state laws may proceed in federal court. The case in question (Shady Grove Orthopedic Associates v. Allstate) dealt with a New York state law that limited claims in certain class-action cases.
If you’re thinking about switching to a production-based compensation system that pays more to the most productive employees, don’t worry too much about the plan’s possible disparate impact on some groups. As long as you don’t use the system to discriminate against a particular group—or favor another—courts are unlikely to conclude that any uneven results were caused by discrimination.
It’s up to employers to make sure their workplaces are free of racial harassment. Watch out if you’re not willing to do everything in your power to prevent a racially hostile environment. Courts simply won’t tolerate it. In many cases, it takes only two incidents of harassment for a judge or jury to conclude that a workplace is hostile. That low threshold makes it essential for HR to follow up on every harassment complaint.
Supervisors often get angry when a subordinate files a lawsuit. Sometimes that anger is justified, but supervisors should be careful how and where they vent. The outcome of the lawsuit may depend on how supervisors handle their outrage about being sued. For example, calling a press conference and attacking the employee for suing may not be the most constructive approach.
Ordinarily, managers who have the authority to make personnel decisions aren’t held personally liable for sexual harassment under Title VII. But that’s not necessarily the case under the New York State Human Rights Law. If you’re an HR professional with the power to make recommendations on hiring applicants or firing employees, make sure you don’t ignore sexual harassment claims that come your way.
According to the latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, New York lost 10,000 union jobs in 2009, but greater contraction in the rest of the state’s economy actually raised the percentage of New Yorkers who belong to a union. Private- and public-sector union jobs in New York fell from 2,029,000 in 2008 to 2,019,000 in 2009.
Employees who allege they were terminated because they belong to a protected class will have a tough time winning the lawsuit if their replacement belongs to the same class—at least when the new hire comes on board before the terminated employee files her EEOC complaint or lawsuit.
Home improvement giant Lowe’s is offering free health screenings to its employees. Lowe’s partnerships with health care providers throughout New York mean employees will be able to get free checks of their blood pressure, total cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, waist size, hip size, weight, height, body fat percentage and body-mass index.
Mildred Block had a fine run at Shea Stadium, staffing a lucrative beer stand in a prime location near the right-field cheap seats during Mets games. She averaged $40 per night in tips. The 85-year-old Block had worked the stand for nearly 20 years. But then late in the 2008 season, concession operator Aramark sent Block down to the equivalent of the minor leagues: a booth where she pockets far fewer tips.
The EEOC has taken up the case of a bartender at Long Island’s Casino Royale gentlemen’s club who claims she was demoted after her boss learned she was pregnant.