With the economy gradually improving, many employers are thinking about rehiring laid-off workers. Having clear rehire guidelines is critical to avoiding lawsuits for discrimination and wrongful termination. A positive, well-documented rehire process can also foster employee loyalty and increase employee morale.
In February 2011, businesses created an additional 192,000 jobs. Leaders in the employment increase were factories, business services, education, professional services and health care. Jobs were lost in the retail industry, and in state and local governments.
An employer who will rehire workers needs to have a clear, objective selection method in place. The employer should assume that she will have to explain the rehire criteria to a judge or the EEOC to defend herself against a charge of discrimination.
A collective bargaining agreement may specify which employees will be rehired. In the absence of such an agreement, the employer must make fair decisions according to attorney Wayne Pinkstone with Fisher & Philips of Philadelphia.
Many employees assume that workers will be recalled based on seniority, (more…)
The EEOC reports that 2011 is on track to exceed the record number of retaliation lawsuits set in 2010. Last year, the EEOC collected more money than ever before from employers charged with retaliation after a complaint was filed.
In a recent ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that employee Eric Thompson was protected from retaliation by his employer, even when the complaint was filed by his fiancée. Thompson, an engineer, was fired from North American Stainless LP three weeks after his fiancée filed a discrimination charge with the EEOC.
Initially, the 6th Circuit Court of Appealsdetermined that Thompson had no protection under Title VII because he was not the person who filed the complaint. Thompson had a workplace romance with coworker Miriam Regalado. Their engagement was well known within the company before Regalado filed the discrimination complaint with the EEOC.
In a rare unanimous decision, the Supreme Court overturned the lower court’s ruling. The justices found that earlier court rulings set a very broad definition of retaliation as “any action that would discourage a reasonable person from filing a complaint.” Penalizing a spouse, family member or other third party would fall into that category, according to the court. Read about the ruling here.
The federal OFCCP or Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs seeks suggestions from employers on more effective ways to recruit, hire, train and promote disabled workers. Comments must be received by the OFCCP by September 21, 2010.
In particular, the federal government is interested in comments about successful programs used by businesses to recruit, hire and retain qualified disabled workers. The request for comments was published in the Federal Register.
Read the proposed regulations and post comments here.
Several federal laws and executive orders require federal contractors to take affirmative action to hire disabled workers. Yet, employment of disabled workers lags far behind. According to the OFCCP, nationwide just 21.7 percent of disabled people were in the workforce in June 2010, compared to 70.5 percent of other workers. Unemployment for disabled persons was (more…)
The U.S. Department of Labor is interpreting the regulations regarding exempt salaried employees much more strictly, and taking action against employers who stray over the line. In particular, the exempt status of outside salespeople and administrators is coming under fire.
The situation is expected to get worse, not better. The U.S. Department of Labor has a backlog of opinion letters. As soon as a Wage and Hour administrator is confirmed, that backlog will be signed, and carry the force of law. Courts must defer (more…)
Employers need to be more vigilant in hiring and promotions than ever before. That’s because a new EEOC task force has increased enforcement actions against employers who lack diversity in their workforce, calling such situations “systemic discrimination.” The agency may initiate investigations, even in the absence of an employee complaint.
To cite just two examples, the EEOC recently announced a $2 million settlement with Les Schwab Tire Centers in a sex discrimination case. The company was accused of not hiring qualified females for its auto care stores in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, Nevada, Montana and Utah since 2004.
In a separate case, Wal-Mart paid $11.7 million to settle a sex discrimination case involving applicants for warehouse jobs in the London, Kentucky distribution center. Hiring officials with the retail giant told female applicants that the positions were not suitable for women, and that most new hires (more…)