Who Says I’m a Girly Man? Doth Sayeth the EEOC

The EEOC has enjoyed several victories in recent months. For example, the EEOC was granted summary judgment in a hostile-environment claim filed on behalf of a class of black construction workers. Even more recently, the EEOC was awarded summary judgment in an age-discrimination lawsuit against the City of Baltimore. But things haven’t been all peaches and cream for the EEOC. Continue reading

Not So Simply Irresistible, Says Iowa Supreme Court

I’ve posted more than my share of stories involving allegations by employees that they were terminated because they were “too sexy” for the job. For example, there was the female banker who sued Citigroup, alleging that she was terminated for being “too sexy for her job.” Then there was the data-entry employee who was terminated from her job in a lingerie warehouse for, she alleged, wearing what her employer considered to be clothing that was “too sexy.” Continue reading

Employees Must Turn Over Facebook Info For Harassment Claim

The discoverability of social-media evidence is far from a settled question. Many of the few cases that have addressed the question are employment claims. And the latest such decision is no exception. In EEOC v. Original Honeybaked Ham Company of Georgia, Inc., No. 11-02560-MSK_MEH (D. Col. Nov. 7, 2012), the Colorado District Court granted an employer’s motion to compel and required the employee-class members to turn over their log-in and passwords to a special master, who would make an initial determination of discoverability. Continue reading

Harassment Prevention: It’s All Fun and Games . . . Until It’s Not

Workplace anti-harassment training can be summarized with the title of this post. The fact that an employee laughs at an inappropriate joke is not a legal defense to a later claim at harassment. Nor is an employee’s failure to object to inappropriate workplace conduct. One employer recently learned this lesson the hard way. Continue reading

Taking the Mystery Out of Bad Hiring Practices

Want some free anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training? Well, have I got a deal for you! Mystery Diners is a reality show on the Food Network. The show’s concept involves a father-daughter team who pretend to be employees and/or customers at a target restaurant in order to help the owner uncover the “leaks in the dam” so to speak.

An episode that aired last week, called, “Managing Disaster,” could be used as a workplace best-practices training video. In short, you could use the video to train employees that any of the conduct by the restaurant’s manager should be considered prohibited conduct in your workplace. Continue reading

District Attorney’s Sexting Is a Lesson for Employers

text alert_3Kenneth Kratz, district attorney of Calumet County, Wisconsin, sent 30 text messages to a 26-year-old domestic-abuse victim.  Odd choice of medium, one might say, for an attorney to communicate with a witness.  I can’t say that I generally communicate with clients or witnesses via text message.  But that may be because I tend to communicate with clients and witnesses about case-related issues–and do so in a professional context.  Not Mr. Kratz. Continue reading