Woah, Baby! Pregnancy Discrimination Update

business babyRegular readers of this blog will know that we have written pretty extensively on Women in the Workplace and Pregnancy (First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage, Then Comes Flex-Time and a Baby Carriage, The Maternal Profiling Debate Continues, to name a few). In 2008 we wrote about a new study that focused on trends in Pregnancy Discrimination. 10 years later we are still having problems. Continue reading

Women First, in the First State: But Is It Enough?

As we have been reporting for years, the Delaware General Assembly is highly active on employment issues. Some initiatives are successful, some are not, but the trend continues.  In recent years, however, the General Assembly has had a more targeted focus:  women’s issues.  Below, we outline the recent history of legislation on issues impacting women in the workplace, and whether they reflect the right focus. Continue reading

New Sexual Harassment Bill on the Horizon

If you attended our Annual Employment Law Seminar on April 12, then you already know that the ways in which employers deal with sexual harassment is changing. Even if you didn’t attend, you probably have a sense that the cultural attitude towards sexual harassment is changing. This is primarily due to movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp that are striving to bring attention and accountability to issues of sexual harassment. Continue reading

Employment Law Alliance Releases Results of #MeToo Survey

#metooThe Employment Law Alliance recently conducted a survey gaging the effect of the #MeToo Movement and Sexual Harassment in the Workplace. As part of the Employment Law Alliance, Young Conaway was one of 382 firms from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico who all helped to contribute information regarding these topics. Their survey yielded the following results: Continue reading

Traveling for Work and Late-Night Emails

Traveling for work has its pros and cons.  I spent the last two weeks in sunny Santa Monica, California.  I was there to take multiple depositions in an expedited proceeding, which meant that I escaped my hotel room / conference room for a combined total of approximately 4 hours over a 14-day period.  In fact, I didn’t leave my hotel room or the conference room from which we were working at all until Day 4, when I took the extreme liberty of walking to the beach and back.  (Picture below).  I was out of the room for about 10 minutes-I didn’t even put my toes in the sand for fear that I’d never return to the room.

Two weeks felt like a long time to be away from home.  But it also felt like a long time to be away from my regular work routine.  In particular, my email Inbox expanded beyond my normal comfort level, as I prioritized the case that required my attention the most.Sunny Santa Monica

It wasn’t until late in the evening that I was able to make meager headway in responding to emails I’d received for other matters.  But, had it not been for those late-night (and, sometimes, very early morning) email binges, I would never have been able to get caught up upon my return.  I also would have had some very unhappy clients, who require their lawyer’s prompt attention to deal with emergency issues as they arise.

So I have to question the premise of a recent opinion piece in the NYT, titled, End the Tyranny of 24/7 Email.  The piece features companies, such as Daimler, the German automaker, that sets limits on when employees can send and receive emails.  According to the article, “limiting workplace email seems radical, but it’s a trend in Germany,” where some companies have “adopted policies that limit work-related email to some employees on evenings and weekends.”

On the one hand, putting technical barriers and/or policies in place that restrict certain employees can have its benefits.  In particular, it limits the risks associated with non-exempt employees who send emails during off-hours and who must be paid for that time as time worked.  But it also seems to have some less-than-ideal outcomes.  Specifically, as we move more and more towards a flexible work schedule in an increasingly mobile society, the ability to respond to emails when and where we want can be very important.  And limitations on that ability may not be all its cracked up to be.

Alas, the work-life balance continues to be more of a juggling act than a graceful performance on a balancing bar. Either way, it’s good to be home.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Earlier this month, the President proclaimed October 2012 National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). The observance is intended to raise awareness about disability employment issues and to celebrate the contributions of our country’s workers with disabilities. This year’s theme is “A Strong Workforce is an Inclusive Workforce: What Can YOU Do?”

In conjunction with NDEAM, he U.S. Department of Labor has launched an online Workplace Flexibility Toolkit to “provide employees, job seekers, employers, policymakers and researchers with information, resources and a unique approach to workplace flexibility.”

According to the U.S. DOL, the toolkit “points visitors to case studies, fact and tip sheets, issue briefs, reports, articles, websites with additional information, other related toolkits and a list of frequently asked questions. It is searchable by type of resource, target audience and types of workplace flexibility, including place, time and task.”

Employer Liability for Employee Injuries In the Company’s Gym

Health-and-wellness benefits are all the rage. Some employers offer their employees a discount on gym memberships. Some offer a monthly stipend to be used towards the fees at a health-club. And some have an on-site fitness center.

Employers who are considering building an on-site fitness center for employees commonly want to know how they can protect themselves against a personal-injury lawsuit. For example, an employee drops a dumbbell on his foot and breaks a toe. (Don’t laugh, people, broken toes are brutal!) Continue reading