Monthly Archives: November 2010

EMPLOYMENT LAW: JURY AWARDS, TRENDS, AND STATISTICS

Every year, I read the Jury Award, Trends, and Statistics report on employment law published by Jury Verdict Research. I used this report during my litigation career to help position cases for settlement purposes. Because it takes a long time to gather these statistics, the report doesn’t appear until October of the following year. The… Read more »

EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION: THE CALIFORNIA EXPERIENCE

The DFEH has released a summary of the cases filed in 2008-2009. The breakout of claims is similar to those filed nationwide. As you can see, disability and retaliation claims are the two biggest areas of concern. The second tier of exposures includes age, race, and sexual harassment claims. Here’s the question: No matter where… Read more »

YOU CAN DISCRIMINATE — BUT ONLY IF YOU HAVE A BFOQ (BONA FIDE OCCUPATIONAL QUALIFICATION)

Employers often believe that they need a certain type of person to do a certain job because of physical requirements, client demands, privacy reasons, and tradition. Understand this: Any such discrimination will come under judicial scrutiny unless there’s a high level of correlation between gender, race, or nationality and the ability to perform job functions…. Read more »

ABERCROMBIE & FITCH SETTLES I-9 PAPERWORK VIOLATIONS FOR MORE THAN $1 MILLION

At the end of September 2010 – and with little fanfare – the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced settlement of an enforcement action against Abercrombie & Fitch, the nationwide clothing retailer. This settlement is remarkable for several reasons. The settlement amount is $1,047,110, which is an enormous monetary penalty… Read more »

SMALL WORKPLACES

The June 2010 issue of INC Magazine featured an excellent article entitled “Learning from the Best,” by Lee Buchanan, which discusses strategies from the Top Small Company Workplaces winners and finalists. Here’s a brief summary of the article’s recommendations: Engage in open-book management. No surprise there. I’ve been preaching this ever since Jack Stack published… Read more »

GREEN HR

I’m an environmentalist. I’ve even hugged a few trees, but I don’t claim that they’ve talked back to me. I’ve also sat on environmental non-profit boards and ran a non-profit environmental agency. That was the three-year environmental phase of my career. Then I had to start making money again. But during this period I learned… Read more »

TAKE NOTE!

Medical Examinations. Requiring an employee to undergo a fitness for duty examination (FFDE) does not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, if the employer has an objective, legitimate basis to doubt the employee’s ability to perform his or her duties. Under the ADA, an employer may require an employee to undergo medical testing only where… Read more »

SO YOU HAVE A GREAT IDEA…

You just might be lucky enough to hire or manage employees that want to help improve the company. How you handle their ideas greatly impacts the future of your relationship. Mishandle this conversation, and you’ll pay the price. Here are some approaches that won’t burn bridges: Sounds interesting; keep talking so I understand this better…. Read more »

EDITOR’S COLUMN: HIGH TOUCH

I read some interesting research in Scientific American on how touch affects how people feel. It turns out that “everything we think is somehow tied to the physical experiences we have.” These experiences fall into these categories: Weight, texture, and hardness. For example, weight itself implies that something is more important. People who simply held… Read more »

QUIT SMOKING AND GREATLY REDUCE YOUR RISK FOR CANCER

We have all heard time and time again that smoking isn’t good for us. But, just to refresh our memories, here are a few selected statistics from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). According to the 2009/2010 Cancer Trends Progress Report published by the NCI, smoking causes approximately 30% of all cancer deaths in the U.S…. Read more »