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Why Would Employees Tease About Nooses In 2013?

It was surprising and disappointing to read about a punitive damages award against a North Carolina employer who allegedly tolerated employees referring to an African-American coworker as a “coon” and offering him a hangman’s noose. It’s 2013, not 1960. It’s bad enough when one has to defend against fabricated allegations about racial slurs and name calling, ...
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Deep-Fried Discrimination Claim: Lisa T. Jackson v. Paula Deen, et al.

The whole country watched as celebrity chef Paula Deen was roasted over the lawsuit filed by a former general manager of a Deen-affiliated restaurant. Now that the media storm is starting to fade, what lessons can employers and human resources professionals learn from what happened? Keep reading for a recipe to keep you “out of the frying pan” ...
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When is a Union Not a Union? When It’s a “Worker Center”

When the word union is thrown around everyone seems to cringe. Steve Bernstein walks us through the ins and outs of what “worker centers”  concept. The fast-food industry has fallen prey to coordinated demonstrations by a number of loosely affiliated groups, rallying around wages, benefits and other conditions. The strategy invoked by these so-called “worker centers ” (or ...
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Managerial Exemption and Class Actions

On March 20, 2013 a California Appellate court reinforced the fact that employees who attempt to certify class actions claims of “misclassification” of exempt employees (and related meal- and rest-period claims) face an uphill battle. William Dailey v. Sears, Roebuck and Company. Background Sears operates several auto centers throughout the San Diego area. The auto centers ...
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Love is in the Air: Workplace Romance Policies

Ria Chattergoon of Fisher & Phillips recently published an article titled “Love is in the Air” in our partner publication In the Mix. In this piece, she discusses some factors that lead to romantic attraction between employees, and the steps companies should take to ensure a relationship won’t end in litigation. Read More (Page 34)!
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What Came First — Management Discipline or the Employee Complaint?

You finally have decided to take the long overdue disciplinary action. Just before you do, the employee to be disciplined, possibly sensing what’s about to happen, makes a complaint of harassment. This is the first you’ve heard of this problem. Is the complaint legitimate? What do you do? Continue with the planned disciplinary action? Put ...
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State of the Unions – New Tactics Target Unorganized Workers

If you’ve been following the news, you probably realize that it has been a busy year for organized labor. The percentage of unionized workers in the private sector has fallen to historic lows, leaving unions with fewer dues-paying members, and motivating them to adopt new tactics to stem the decline. Exploiting a more favorable environment created by recent ...
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What Hotel Leadership Should Know About the Emerging Trend of Assault and Battery Claims

Ask nearly any leader in the hotel industry and/or their HR manager for the definition of a “hostile work environment,” and they will have a pretty solid answer. That’s because many of them have had to handle employee claims for illegal harassment. Further, these leaders, for the most part, have dealt with such employee issues ...
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