Archive for December, 2010

So there has been quite a bit of publicity in the news about the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell”, but many may be surprised to know that there are still few protections in the workplace against sexual orientation discrimination.

Sexual orientation discrimination includes being treated differently or harassed because of your real or perceived sexual orientation — whether gay, lesbian, bisexual, or heterosexual.

Federal Law
Although federal laws, such as Title VII and the ADA protect people from workplace discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, religion, sex, age, and disability, there is no federal law that specifically outlaws workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the private sector. (Federal government workers are protected from such discrimination.) Attempts to pass federal legislation that would outlaw sexual orientation discrimination in private workplaces have been unsuccessful to date.
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For those of you who have seen the movie “Waiting”, when I read this post, visions of “The Bat” kept coming to my mind. Anyone who has seen the movie will recall what I am talking about and those who have not, check the movie out it is a very funny look at behind the scenes in the restaurant industry.

That being said, this week the EEOC advised Flemings Prime something that is probably good business sense, don’t flick your co-workers genitals. Whether these co-workers be male or female.

The EEOC announced that Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, at DC Ranch in Scottsdale, Ariz., will pay nearly a quarter million dollars and furnish other relief to settle a same-sex sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
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On many occasions I have blogged on this site about non-compete agreements and their enforceability. In summary, the enforceability of these agreements is based upon the language in your respective agreement and the state’s law that applies. When you have a non-compete you want to be aware of your rights under the agreement before you violate its terms to avoid a situation where your former employer seeks an injunction to prevent you from working for the new company. Case in point, former Wal-Mart executive Hank Mullany.

CVS Caremark Corp named a recent Wal-Mart Stores Inc executive as the president of its retail pharmacy business, but a judge temporarily blocked him from taking the job due to a noncompete agreement with Wal-Mart.
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As you may know, The Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows ”eligible” employees to take off up to 12 work weeks in any 12 month period for the birth or adoption of a child, to care for a family member, or if the employee themselves has a serious health condition.

An “eligible” employee is an employee who has been employed by the employer for a least 12 months and worked at least 1,250 hours. The 12 months do not need to be consecutive. You are only an “eligible” employee if your employer employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles of the worksite.

Apparently Verizon has not been following its FMLA policies. Verizon Communications, Inc. settled a class action lawsuit with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing for up to $6,011,190.00. The suit alleged that between 2007 and 2010 Verizon denied or failed to timely approve class members’ requests for leave for their own serious health condition, to care for a family member with a serious health condition, or to bond with a child. The suit was brought under California’s version of the FMLA, which is very similar to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. Verizon also agreed to review and revise its leave policies and procedures, and to train all California managers, supervisors and human resource personnel on legally compliant CFMLA procedures. Verizon did not admit to any wrongdoing in the settlement. Like the California FMLA, the federal FMLA allows aggrieved employees to file class action lawsuits for violation of their FMLA rights.

If you believe you are being wrongfully denied FLMA leave, you should consult with an experienced FMLA lawyer. In addition, you should also be aware that there are legal remedies to you if you take FMLA or seek FMLA, and have negative actions taken against you by your employer as a result.

Behren Law Firm has handled FLMA cases and would be willing to consult with you on these matters.