Case In Point

Mindy Chapman Esq. is the founder of the nationally acclaimed “Workplace
Training that Clicks & Sticks™” and co-author of the American Bar
Association’s best seller and authority on civil rights training, “Case
Dismissed! Taking Your Harassment Prevention Training to Trial.” Case In Point is an entertaining look at the employment law cases impacting you today, plus practical ways to protect yourself and your company.

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As more people are identifying themselves as transgender, the issue of which restroom they should use in the workplace has become controversial and confusing. Until now. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found, in a case of first impression, that the Department of the Army violated federal sex discrimination law when it prohibited a male-to-female transgender civilian employee from using the women’s restroom at work. The rules have just changed. Read up to catch up ...

In too many cases, managers (and HR) are slow to document employee performance, yet fast to discipline and terminate. As the following case shows, if you plan to fire an employee for misconduct and insubordination, a court won’t look kindly on that gaping hole in the employee’s personnel file. No documentation can quickly look like discrimination. Read on …

While the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) says you must offer a “reasonable accommodation” to disabled employees, how obvious must the person’s disability be before you fall under that requirement? And what is the employee’s duty to alert you and request the accommodation? As this case shows, employees have a responsibility to explain their conditions and request an accommodation ...

Complaint-reporting procedures are key to your harassment, discrimination and retaliation prevention policy. But does your policy specify exactly to whom employees should bring their complaints? As this case shows, it’s important that employees voice their complaints to the correct supervisor cited in that policy. Read on…

Alcoholism has always been a tricky diagnosis under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). You can discipline employees if their drinking affects the job. But you must offer ADA accommodations for treatment (including time off).  

However, one court recently made things more complicated. It ruled that an employee returning from treatment was properly fired even though he passed a fitness-for-duty test. Does this ruling sound a little tipsy? Read on …

When it comes to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), courts always pull out their stopwatches and calendars to see how closely the employee’s protected activity (requesting or taking FMLA leave) coincides with the adverse action (discipline or firing). As this new court ruling shows, the smaller the time, the bigger your risk of liability …
In this month of Hanukkah and Christmas, your employees may be taking time off work to attend religious services, as federal law allows them to do. But what if, as in this case, an employee wants to go to the church not for a religious service, but for a holiday sing-along or other church event. Can you legally say “no” -- or would that be discrimination? As this case shows, the devil is in the details …
The American workplace … land of revenge. These days, the most popular employee charge filed with the EEOC has been retaliation—employees complaining that they suffered some sort of “adverse action” because they complained about discrimination. But as the EEOC has said, “adverse actions do not include petty slights and annoyances.” Consider this recent case—a real-life portrayal of Milton's dilemma in the cult-classic Office Space.
When people file discrimination lawsuits (age, race, sex, etc.) based on a hiring decision, they are typically people who have applied and been officially rejected for a job. But what if someone simply hears that the employer is favoring one gender over another for a certain job; can that person still fire off a failure-to-hire sex discrimination lawsuit?

Providing limited information in job announcements can lead a higher number of unqualified applicants. And when applicants have to speculate at the reasons they’ve been rejected, they’re more likely to sue. That’s why your job announcements should include specific information about minimum requirements of the job. Case in Point ...

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