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Site Map - The Workplace

Employment Tests

- Although conducting credit checks aren't illegal during the hiring process, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is concerned it could lead to discriminatory hiring practices. To provide guidance, the EEOC has published an online fact sheet to help employers steer clear of discrimination.

How to Avoid Hiring Mishaps

- Knowing what data to search and what information to avoid is critical when vetting job candidates. Special care must be applied when using criminal databases compiled from public sources, for example. Other critical issues include the proper vetting of educational claims and the use of social networking sites.

Fewer Contractors in Gates' Pentagon Budget

- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates wants to convert 11,000 private contractors to full-time government employees as part of his proposed budget for fiscal year 2010.

Investigating the Competition

- How to learn about the competition without crossing the line into industrial espionage.

Elsewhere in the Courts: Drug Testing

- A prospective employee filed a lawsuit against a California company, Longs Drug Stores, after he was asked to answer a question about drug convictions on a job application. The application asked whether the applicant had been convicted of a crime involving the use or possession of illegal drugs in the previous seven years. Under California law, it is illegal to ask about drug convictions that are more than two years old. However, a California appellate court ruled in favor of the defendant finding that a federal law, the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005, preempts the state statute. (Rankin v. Longs Drug Stores California, Inc., California Court of Appeal, No. D052124, 2009)

Elsewhere in the Courts: Hostile Work Environment

- A New Jersey appellate court has ruled that a single remark can be enough to create a hostile work environment. In the case, a supervisor called an employee a “stupid fag” after an argument. The court ruled that the employee may bring his case before a jury. (Kwiatkowski v. Merrill Lynch, New Jersey Court of Appeals, No. A-2270-06T1, 2008)

Worker Productivity

- How do employees at the Transportation Security Administration spend their time? Half the time the agency doesn’t know because they don’t track it, according to the Government Accountability Office.

How to Fire a Key Employee

- Firing any employee has its risks, but the termination of key IT personnel requires extra planning.

Elsewhere in the Courts: Discrimination

- LA Weight Loss Centers, Inc., has agreed to pay $20 million to settle a sexual discrimination suit brought by men who applied at the company but were not hired. According to the EEOC, the company had a policy of not interviewing or hiring male candidates. In addition to the monetary damages, the company must also implement an electronic tracking system to record information on applicants. To ensure that no discrimination is occurring, this information can then be evaluated by a neutral third party and the results given to the EEOC at the agency’s request. (EEOC v. LA Weight Loss Center, U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, No. WDQ-02-CV-648, 2008)

Elsewhere in the Courts: Sexual Harassment

- A federal appeals court has ruled that a sexual harassment case against Boeing can proceed. The court ruled that a jury should decide whether a Boeing employee was harassed by her coworkers. Though Boeing terminated one employee and disciplined another, the court ruled that a reasonable jury could find that these two employees were part of a larger problem at the company. (EEOC v. The Boeing Company, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, No. 05-17386, 2008)

U.S. Congressional Legislation: Employment Discrimination

- A new law (P.L. 111-2) allows employees to act on a discriminatory practice at the time it occurs and also each time they are affected by the application of the decision or practice, such as the time an employee is paid.

Workplace Safety

- A retailer that was sued after an employee was assaulted during a robbery is not liable for the employee’s injuries. According to an Ohio appellate court, despite two prior robberies, the employer could not have predicted with certainty that the injury would occur. The court ruled that the employee could not prove that the company knew an employee would be harmed because neither of the previous two robberies resulted in harm to an employee. (Toner v. Monro Muffler and Brake, Court of Appeals for Montgomery County, Ohio, No. 22227, 2008)

ADA

- A company did not discriminate against an employee when it refused to let him perform a dangerous job as long as he was taking narcotics for pain, ruled a federal appeals court, because it did not consider the employee incapable of performing less dangerous jobs.
 




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