News for April 21, 2014

Featured this week:

In state law news:

Featured this week:

Being yelled at by supervisor, given poor reviews, questioned about time sheets were ordinary tribulations of workplace; HWE claims fail
An African-American female employee of the Merit Systems Protection Board failed to advance her hostile work environment claims based on allegations that her superior yelled at her in front of peers and slammed a book on the table, gave her low performance review ratings, and engaged in selective enforcement of a time and attendance policy. Affirming the district court’s grant of summary judgment against her, the D.C. Circuit held that her allegations seemed more like the "ordinary tribulations of the workplace" as opposed to sufficiently severe or pervasive conduct. The appeals court also affirmed dismissal of her reprisal claim since she failed to adequately plead disparate retaliatory acts. (Brooks v Grundmann, DCCir, April 15, 201, Brown, J)

Backpay, promotion ordered for officer whose low score on interview was motivated by gender bias
Following a jury trial finding that a village discriminated against a female police officer by failing to promote her, a federal district court in Illinois ordered backpay based on her ranking as third on the sergeant promotion list absent discrimination. The court would not reduce her backpay award as a result of her extended workers' comp leave, agreeing that had she been promoted to sergeant as she would have absent the village's discrimination, it was unlikely that she then would have suffered a workplace injury as a patrol officer. Finally, the court ordered instatement to the rank of sergeant notwithstanding arguments by the village that she would be resented because other officers would perceive she had not "earned her stripes." (Geraty v Village of Antioch, NDIll, April 15, 2014, Gottschall, J)

ADA claim by manager with breast cancer fails where accommodations were provided and she failed to raise concerns about them
A clinical services manager who underwent surgery and treatment for breast cancer, and who alleged that her requested accommodations — a voice recorder and assistance from an intern or fellow — were denied by her employer, may not proceed with her claims under the ADA or various state laws, a federal district court in Louisiana ruled. Finding that the employer provided her with a Blackberry and trained her on how to use its voice recording function, and also both provided a summer intern to assist her and reassigned some of her duties to other managers, the court granted the company’s motion for summary judgment (Galarza v Ochsner Health Systems, Inc, MDLa, April 14, 2014, Brady, J).

Remarks that a 43-year-old employee could not "keep up" bolstered discrimination claim; no same-actor defense where age not obvious when hired
A 43-year-old employee of a startup internet company who was subjected to ageist remarks by his 30-something superior, discharged after only three months on the job, and replaced by a 37-year-old candidate, survived summary judgment on his age bias claim under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL), a federal district court in New York ruled. Finding that the ageist comments provided sufficient evidence from which to infer discriminatory intent and that there was sufficient evidence of pretext, the court also concluded that the employer failed to undisputedly establish that the same-actor inference defense applied since decisionmakers involved in his discharge did not necessarily know his age when he was hired. (Brown v Crowdtwist, SDNY, April 15, 2014, Baer, H, Jr)

IT administrators reveal surprising office worker habits in new study
TeamViewer has announced the findings of its IT Admin Behavioral Study in which it was revealed that 92 percent of IT administrators admit to seeing troublesome habits among workers using company computers.

CPI for all items increases 0.2% in March as shelter and food costs rise, BLS reports
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.2 percent in March on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported April 15. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 1.5 percent before seasonal adjustment.

BLS reports real average hourly earnings falls 0.3 percent in March
Real average hourly earnings for all employees fell 0.3 percent from February to March, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported April 15. This decrease stems from unchanged average hourly earnings and a 0.2 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U).



In state law news:

Minnesota governor enacts first minimum wage increase in a decade
More than 325,000 of Minnesota's lowest-wage workers just got a raise. On April 14, 2014, Governor Mark Dayton signed a bill into law raising Minnesota's minimum wage for the first time since 2005.



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Special Report

Celebrating Earth Day with a few "green" workplace initiatives


This year Earth Day will be celebrated on Tuesday, April 22. The day provides an opportunity for employers to consider implementing green workplace initiatives, such as flexible work options, recycling programs, and the like. One employer, Regus, for example, is marking Earth Day by lowering carbon emissions from employee vehicles. They are opening the doors to all of their flexible workspace business centers around the country for free (Wi-Fi and coffee included!).



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