This article by Frank Cania, president of driven HR – A USA Payroll Company, was originally published inThe Daily Record, March 10, 2017.
You may not know this, but I sacrificed a less-than-mediocre career in accounting to become a human resource professional. My mother loved the sound of it: “HUMAN – RESOURCE – PROFESSIONAL.” Three words. Far more impressive to her than those one-word careers some of her friends’ children had chosen: pilot, pharmacist, engineer, doctor, and attorney. I can still hear the pride in her voice when she introduced me, “This is my son, Frank. He’s a human resource professional!” It’s probably good that she’s not here to read this article. Continue reading
The concept of workplace investigations is nothing new to most employers. However, like so many other employer responsibilities, these investigations have become more complex and, if not handled correctly, filled with potential sources of significant liability.
Before we go too deeply into the investigations, let’s take a look at why they are more necessary than ever. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), in fiscal year 2014 (the most recent statistics available), the Agency received 88,778 complaints of workplace discrimination. However, because individual complaints often charge multiple types of discrimination (for example sexual harassment and retaliation), this number is less than the total number of individual charges. Of the 88,778 complaints received by the EEOC, 42.8 percent included allegations of retaliation, 35 percent included allegations of race discrimination, and 29.3 percent included allegations Continue reading
“The women of New York have waited far too long for this day to come.” Governor Cuomo made that statement following a 119-0 vote in the Assembly to pass a bill strengthening New York’s equal-pay law. The bill, A06075, which passed the State Senate with a 145-0 vote in January, is headed to the Governor’s desk for his promised signature.Continue reading
Isn’t this a question every business owner, manager, and HR professional has pondered at one time or another? (Full and fair disclosure, my wife has me on a new “eating plan” – the Fast Metabolism Diet – so EVERYTHING is related to donuts in my mind right now!) Until recently, the only thing I could find that linked donuts and discrimination was the letter “D.” But thanks to a few bad decisions by an employer, and a law suit by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), that has all changed!
If you were wondering, “who else could possibly sue us?” Governor Cuomo is happy to provide an answer. But, I don’t want to ruin the surprise, so here’s a hint: Who shows up when scheduled, does what you tell them to do, leaves after 10 weeks, and gets a great evaluation but no paycheck? I’ll give you a minute to think about it…
Before we get to the fun and interesting details of the crotch-grabbing incident (I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried), a reminder: The National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA” or the “Act”) applies to non-union, as well as unionized workplaces. And, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or the “Board”) continues to aggressively expanding its application of the Act to non-union employers. (Now you can’t say I didn’t warn you.) This has been especially true for employer social media and at-will employment policies, as-well-as confidentiality policies and agreements. The common offense, according to the Board, is the “chilling” of employees’ rights to engage in concerted protected activities. Now it appears the Board has broadened its scope to include deciding what is, or in this case is not sexual harassment.
For years I’ve stressed the importance of employers investigating all allegations of sexual and other forms of harassment. If the facts show some type of inappropriate, and/or actual harassing behavior, the offending employee should be appropriately disciplined. That’s not just some crazy idea I had while staring devotedly at a picture of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, it has been stated and reinforced by a number of courts and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). According to guidance published by the EEOC, “[w]hen an employer receives a complaint or otherwise learns of alleged sexual harassment in the workplace, the employer should investigate promptly and thoroughly…take immediate and appropriate corrective action…[and take disciplinary] action against the offending…employee, ranging from reprimand to discharge…“Continue reading