The Legal Workplace Blog
Jonathan Hyman—a partner at Cleveland’s Kohrman Jackson & Krantz—provides proactive and results-driven solutions to employers’ workforce problems. Jon concentrates his practice on the representation of companies in employment disputes. His recent victories include defeating certification of a wage-and-hour class action and obtaining summary judgment in a discrimination and retaliation lawsuit. He also serves as an “outside in-house counsel” for businesses that lack an in-house labor and employment attorney, drafting policies, auditing HR practices and procedures, and advising companies on day-to-day HR issues.
Jon is the author of the nationally recognized and award winning Ohio Employer’s Law Blog, which the ABA has commended as one of the top 100 legal blogs three years running, and which LexisNexis has honored as one of the top Labor & Employment blogs. His most recent book, The Employer Bill of Rights: A Manager’s Guide to Workplace Law is a practical handbook designed to help business owners and managers navigate the ever-changing maze of labor and employment laws, rules and regulations. Jon also co-authored Think Before You Click: Strategies for Managing Social Media in the Workplace.
Jon has been a Super Lawyers Ohio Rising Star in the area of Employment Law six out of the last seven years. Lastly, Jon appeared on a November 1999 episode of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, but, sadly, lacked the fastest fingers.
The average Facebook user spends 8.3 hours per month, and posts 217 total photos, to the 800 pound social media gorilla. What happens, however, when a litigant’s Facebook (or other social media) account disappears during litigation? Gatto v. United Air Lines (D.N.J. 3/25/13), one of the first cases to discuss spoliation of social media evidence, […]
Earlier this week, Entrepreneur.com ran a story entitled, “Why Banning Facebook In Your Workplace Is a Stupid Move.” The article cites a survey conducted by Statista and Mashable, which found that one out of every five American employees are blocked from accessing social media from the workplace. The story then lists four reasons why this […]
In Bland v. Roberts, a Virginia federal court dismissed a First Amendment retaliation lawsuit brought by a group of terminated city employees who had supported the incumbent sheriff’s opposition by, among other things, liking the candidate’s campaign Facebook page. The court concluded that merely clicking the “like” button on a Facebook page is not Constitutionally […]
There has been a lot of ink spilled out on the supposed practice of employers requiring employees to provide access to their private social media accounts. I’ve long espoused both that this practice is not occurring with sufficient regularity to justify a legislative fix (despite New Jersey just becoming the 12th state to enact a […]
29 states, plus the District of Columbia, have laws prohibiting anyone from smoking in the workplace. Like similar bans in other states, Ohio’s statewide workplace ban applies to “smoking,” which means “inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying any lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe, or other lighted smoking device for burning tobacco or any other plant.” Electronic cigarettes […]
According to The Huffington Post, a group of Hispanic employees is suing Target for national origin discrimination. Their evidence—an internal memo that included the following “Multi-Cultural Tips” for its managers: a. Food: not everyone eats tacos and burritos; b. Music: not everyone dances to salsa; c. Dress: not everyone wears a sombrero; d. Mexicans (lower […]
And I said, I don’t care if they lay me off either, because I told, I told Bill that if they move my desk one more time, then, then I’m, I’m quitting,.. I’m going to quit. And, and I told Dom too, because they’ve moved my desk… four times already this year, and I used […]
Barbara Joy McElmurry, 4’10” tall, worked for the Arizona Department of Agriculture as a lab technician fighting the Asian citrus psyllid. Her job consisted of screening traps set by her co-workers in the field. Over time, tension developed between McElmurry and her supervisor, Mary Garman. After McElmurry threatened to file harassment charges against Garman, the supervisor accused her of […]
Allen v. Chanel, Inc. (S.D.N.Y. 6/4/13) teaches businesses an important lesson about reviewing agreements that employees send back, and not assuming that the agreement returned is the same as the agreement originally sent out. When Chanel terminated the employment of Anu Allen, it presented her with a Separation Agreement and Release, which, among other terms, offered […]
The Am Law Daily reports that the former CFO of Proskauer Rose is claiming that the international law firm violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by terminating her after a three-month leave of absence for breast cancer. Earlier this month, the EEOC published an updated Q&A discussing the treatment of cancer in the workplace under […]
The Earth stopped rotating on its axis earlier this week when Angelina Jolie announced that she is undergoing a voluntary double mastectomy. Her rationale? Because she carries the BRCA1 gene, she is 87 percent likely to contract breast cancer at some point in her life. Have you heard of GINA, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act? […]
Last year, the EEOC issued its long awaited Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions under Title VII. While the Guidance was much more fair and balanced than many employer advocates (me included) expected, it does include some head-scratchers for businesses. One such conundrum is how regulated employers are […]
Your accounting records might soon look a little different—that is, if you provide perks at work such as free meals and if the IRS gets its way. According to the Internal Revenue Code, certain employer-provided meals are exempt from the definition of “gross income” and, therefore, not taxed. To be considered non-taxed, an employer must […]
To establish an unlawful hostile work environment, an employee must prove, among other factors, that the workplace was subjectively offensive. Some employers misinterpret this requirement as meaning that an employee who participates in sexual banter, off-color jokes, or shares intimate details of her personal life is asking to be harassed. Case in point? In EEOC […]
Matthew Inskeep sued his employer, claiming that he was harassed on the job because of his sexual orientation. In Inskeep v. Western Reserve Transit Auth. (Ohio Ct. App. 3/8/13), the court tossed out his case. And, it did so without even reaching the merits of what allegedly happened to Matthew Inskeep. Instead, it ruled that […]
An employee walks into your office and makes the following statement: “During my interview for a promotion, the CEO asked me about Asian massages and happy endings. I didn’t get the promotion, and now I feel that I was sexually harassed.” What do you do? Launch an immediate investigation into the CEO’s comments, and take […]
Yesterday, the New York Times’ You’re the Boss Blog asked the following question: How do you handle employee litigation? Do you dig in your heels and fight, settle, or some combination of the two? The NYT’s blog post recounted the story of one small business owner who chose to stand his ground and assume the […]
Last month, the EEOC announced a half-million dollar settlement with BASF Corporation. The agency alleged that BASF retaliated against a poor performing employee by insisting, as part of a “last-chance agreement”, that the employee not file any charges of discrimination with the EEOC. Concerned about the agreement’s effect on his civil rights, the employee refused to sign; […]
Cisco recently interviewed 3,600 Gen Y College students and workers between the ages of 18 and 30. The purpose of the survey was to gauge the influence of social media, mobile devices, and the Internet on that generation’s job choices. The results (via Gen Y Hub) say a lot about how companies should be managing the […]
Do you have employees under the age of 35? If so, the odds are that they communicate with each other with text messages on their mobile devices. If you’ve ever texted, you know the evils of autocorrect. For the uninitiated, autocorrect is a function of today’s smartphones that automatically changes an unrecognized word to its closest […]