Posts Tagged ‘workplace’

She secretly taped her co-workers. Can’t she keep that under the rug?

Discrimination plaintiff finds “that offers of employment have been rescinded after Google searches of her name revealed the events of this case, namely her surreptitious recordings of her co-workers.” So she asks the court to seal the case record. Nope: “strong presumption in favor of public access” not overcome [Eugene Volokh on Gilliard v. McWilliams, federal court in D.C.]

Higher education roundup

  • The less you know: new push to “de-bias” faculty recruiting by removing CVs and interviews from the process [John Morgan, Times Higher Ed/Inside Higher Ed on developments in Britain]
  • “You Can’t Make This Up: A Speech Code that Investigates Students for Discussing the Freedom of Speech” [University of South Carolina: Ilya Shapiro and Patrick Moran on Cato certiorari brief in Abbott v. Pastides]
  • “Sokal Squared” hoax runs into IRB (human subjects review) issues at Portland State, and it’s more complicated than you might think [Jesse Singal, New York]
  • “A Liberal Case for DeVos’s Reforms” [Lara Bazelon, New York Times] After initial resistance, ACLU moving to acknowledge merit of some objections to Obama-era Title IX procedure [Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic] Attorneys general from 18 states plus D.C. sign letter arguing against presumption of innocence for students accused under Title IX [same]
  • “Anti-Koch group tries to get hummus banned from university in BDS effort” [Zachary Petrizzo, The College Fix]
  • Monopoly bargaining privileges for faculty: vindication and hope after Janus [Charles Baird, Martin Center]

Bans on Independent-Contractor Status Hurt Workers (Again)

In April of last year the California Supreme Court ruled that a large class of service workers historically categorized as independent contractors, those who are under contract with a host enterprise that performs the same kind of service they do, have to be treated as employees and brought under the full range of employment laws. Some labor advocates cheered, but many California workers did not. “I lost my entire staff,” said owner Anthony Giannotti of downtown Sacramento’s Bottle and Barlow barber shop. All seven of his barbers quit, he said. The ruling is expected to disrupt the marketplace for cosmetologists and tattoo artists, yoga and Pilates instructors, and even FedEx delivery personnel. [Angela Greenwood, CBS Sacramento in September]

Discrimination law roundup

  • New EEOC chief data officer says machine learning algorithms may soon enable agency to predict, and deploy resources against, workplace bias before it happens [Paige Smith, Bloomberg Law]
  • “The BSO, in a statement, defended its pay structure, saying that the flute and oboe are not comparable, in part because the oboe is more difficult to play and there is a larger pool of flutists.” [Geoff Edgers, Washington Post/Allentown Morning Call]
  • Even they can’t comply: “The case was ironic since the commission is charged with eliminating discrimination in Pennsylvania.” [Matt Miller, PennLive, on the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission’s jury loss in a race discrimination complaint] “Do as they say, not as they do: employees accuse Planned Parenthood of pregnancy discrimination” [Jon Hyman]
  • Fourth Circuit: maybe Title VII doesn’t create a right to swipe files from HR [Jon Hyman]
  • Although libertarians support legalizing marijuana, they should not support laws that bar employers from discriminating on the basis of marijuana use [Jeffrey Miron, Cato]
  • “Why do women earn less than men? Evidence from train and bus operators” [Valentin Bolotnyy and Natalia Emanuel via Tyler Cowen]
  • Minnesota jury orders women’s football team and league to pay $20,000 to transgender applicant turned away [Mary Lynn Smith, Minneapolis Star Tribune]

Employment discrimination law roundup

  • Employee with (per Costco) history of “serious misconduct and insubordination” wins $750K after being fired for speaking at too loud a volume, the result she said of deafness-related difficulty in modulating her voice [Jon Hyman]
  • “Now What? Disciplining an Employee with a Suspected Addiction or Substance Abuse Issue” [Dale Deitchler and Jeffrey Dilger, Littler]
  • ADA: “6th Circuit says full-time work is not an essential function of every full-time job” [Jon Hyman] “So, you want to change the essential functions of a particular job, do you? Let’s talk ADA.” [Eric B. Meyer]
  • “Our group member has a fragrance sensitivity – and we’re supposed to be hugged to check for any scents” [Alison Green, Ask a Manager via Hyman]
  • “Is the sexual harassment “groundswell” starting?” [Robin Shea, Constangy; state agency volume] “Bracing For The Deluge Of EEOC Lawsuits” [Gerald Maatman, Seyfarth Shaw; EEOC filings rise]
  • “Why Doesn’t Diversity Training Work?” [Frank Dobbin and Alexandra Kalev, Anthropology Now; related, Amy Alkon (counterproductive “privilege checking”)]
  • Arbitrator orders Oregon town of West Linn to pay $100,000+ to cop fired after incendiary, racially charged Facebook posts [Everton Bailey Jr., Oregonian]

Speaking in Kansas next week

I’ll be giving lunchtime talks at two law schools in Kansas next week, courtesy local chapters of the Federalist Society. On Monday I’ll visit Washburn University Law School in Topeka, where Prof. Joseph Mastrosimone will provide comment. And then on Tuesday I’ll speak at the University of Kansas School of Law in Lawrence. My topic at both campuses will be “A Libertarian Looks at Employment Law.” Come say hello!

Labor and employment roundup

Elizabeth Warren’s proposals on business organization

Schemes like a government mandate of worker representation on corporate boards (an element of German “co-determination”) are not new, and scholars have studied their track record in Europe for years. In particular, they tend not to provide robust incentives for risk-taking and dynamism; that’s aside from their interference with the contractual liberty of all parties to adopt alternative governance methods agreed to by all parties. I talk with Cato’s Caleb Brown about that and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren’s other ideas for revamping how large companies are run. Earlier here and here.

Employers may need to accommodate claims of “digital addiction”

“If forms of ‘digital addiction’ qualify as a diagnosed psychiatric disorder, then employees who suffer from it may be protected by the ADA.” Employers might then be obliged under federal law to enter the so-called interactive process to negotiate possible courses of action and accommodations with the affected employee, rather than lay down hard-and-fast rules for what sorts of conduct will result in termination. [Jon Hyman, Ohio Employer Law Blog]

Labor and employment roundup

  • Lancaster, Calif. Mayor R. Rex Parris proposes that city ban employers from requiring male employees to wear neckties [Laura Newberry, L.A. Times]
  • Reasons to settle employment-law claims: “It’s Not the Damages, It’s the Attorneys’ Fees” [Daniel Schwartz]
  • “Court Ruling Casts Constitutional Doubt on State and City Salary-Inquiry Bans” [Marc Dib, WLF; related here, here]
  • I’m quoted hailing Supreme Court ruling on workplace arbitration [Jeff John Roberts, Fortune]
  • Federal labor regulators versus local food truck operators [Ira Stoll]
  • “What is happening to French labor law?” [Tristan Bird, On Labor]