Apr 14, 2014
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Employment Law Blog Carnival – Pick Your Holiday Edition

Hello, everybody!  It’s so great to be with you! I say that sincerely, because, you know, I had a near-death experience this month. Or, rather, my blog did. See, I just formed this new law firm, and whilst moving some data over to our new domain – www.laheyeavenson.com* - I accidentally deleted Current Employment. Like deleted it. Like when you read those instructions from WordPress and they say “be careful what you do on the backend of your blog” and you’re like “what idiot would accidentally screw up the code and framework for their blog – ” Yeah, I was that idiot. You’re welcome, America.

Anywho, through some digging and the fine recordkeeping work of the Internet Archive, I revived my lifeless creation, just in time to host this month’s Employment Law Blog Carnival! Of course, all this talk of resurrection, reincarnation and near-death experiences seemed apropos during these early days of Spring, with Easter a mere week away. But it’s not Easter yet, and since this is an HR law blog, I feel it’s only right that we acknowledge all the celebretory possibilities, so that no one feels marginalized or sue-happy. So, as if the incredible crop of Employment Law articles below isn’t enough, read on to discover what folks celebrate on 4/14, even if it’s just to forget tax day for a few more hours…

In Takayama, Japan, they’re celebrating a festival so old that no one knows when it started. Which is exactly how it might feel when you’ve had an employee out on extended leave. But as Daniel Schwartz and his colleague Christopher Parkin point out, strictly following a definite period of time for “permissible” leave can get you a nice ADA lawsuit from the EEOC. Here’s their post:Spiderweb Delivery? Is One Year Enough for a Leave of Absence for a Disabled Employee?

It’s Black Day in South Korea, when singles who were snubbed on Valentine’s Day wear black and commiserate over their failed love lives, usually over a plate of jajangmyeon. (Mmm, jajangmeyon….) Of course, courtship isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. Say, when your boss offers you money to sleep with your wife. According to Eric B. Meyer, not only does this scenario lack romance, it lacks gender bias, too. Check out “When the supervisor offers an employee $$$ to have sex with his wife, that’s not gender bias, you guys.”

For Christians, today is Holy Monday, when Jesus cursed a fig tree for not bearing any fruit. The tree, of course, withered and died. If you’d like to avoid the same fate for your company, then keep an eye on those overtime hours! Both over-work and monkeying around with pay policies are great ways to disgruntle a staff in a flash. For more, check out Mike Haberman’s post on Five Acts that Violate the Overtime Provisions of the FLSA, and Ari Rosenstein’s two-parter, examining proposed changes to wage & hour laws, and the President’s recent push to extend overtime to more professional workers.

They’re celebrating Youth Day in Angola! Hooray Kids! One of the big stories for American youth has been the effect of bullying on kids’ psychology, and how it follows them into adulthood. Donna Ballman has some great thoughts on how zero-tolerance bullying policies in schools could be impacting the workplace. And, of course, we wouldn’t have kids without pregnant women. Hooray Pregnant Ladies! And that is why you should make sure your pregnancy-related policies are solid. For more, check out Mario Bordogna’s post, Accommodations for Pregnant Employees: When Laboring Means More than Just Hard Work.  Speaking of pregnant ladies, Jon Hyman’s post Lactation at work requires reasonableness on both sides shows that having a written lactation policy, and trying to find reasonable solutions, wins in lawsuits and life. Even when an employee is less-than-reasonable in their response.

One nice thing about these historical posts is that I get to talk about things I never thought I would. Like how on this date in 1846, the Donner Party left Springfield, Illinois on their doomed trek to California. In her submission, Robin Shea talks about a less-literal cannibalistic moment in American History – the Clarence Thomas hearings. Here’s 8 reasons your sexual harassment investigation is better than the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill investigation.

If you’re a word-nerd like me, then grab your party hats! Today marks the anniversary of the first edition of Noah Webster’s dictionary, copyrighted April 14, 1828. (Suck it, Oxford! ‘Merica’s gots words, too!) And just in case you need a refresher on the import of word choice and sentence structure, John Holmquist notes a recent 6th Circuit decision that upheld arbitration of an expired contract, because the arb clause wasn’t included in the survival clause. Like Holmquist puts it – “the case is another example that you need to say what you want to say.” English language, alive and well. And while we’re talking arbitration and word-jumbles, check out Robert Fitzpatrick’s post on whether Dodd-Frank’s rules will prohibit arbitration of SOX whistleblower actions. Once again, “plain language” can mean many different things to many different judges. Webster would be proud. Or horrified. I’m not sure which.

Maybe you’re one of those people who looks to science for your celebrations. If so, you should know that the first operational Space Shuttle completed its first test flight today in 1981. If you’re looking for a way to launch a plaintiff’s employment case into the stratosphere instead, you could check out Mark Toth’s post, How to Get a Big Class Action Fast for a complete, 5-step breakdown. Or check out Robin Shea’s post, Who needs HR? We all do to find out what happens if you just get rid of Human Resources altogether.

Finally, it’s New Years Day in much of Southeast Asia! Happy sidereal vernal equinox! I would explain what that means, except it involves measuring the change in location of the sun compared to certain stars, and there’s a lot of math, and I don’t really get it. Which, come to think of it, is exactly what a lot of people say about disparate impact analysis. In his post, Alleged CFPB Discrimination isn’t Likely a Disparate Impact Case, Jake Edmiston does a much better job explaining what is – and isn’t – disparate impact than I did explaining that space stuff a second ago.

That’s it, folks! Whether you’ve discovered a great event in world history or just updated your permissible leave policies, I hope you’ve found something to celebrate today. I know I did. Happy Genome Project Completion Day, everybody!

(* These are shameless plugs, I’m sorry… Also, did I mention I formed a new law firm?)

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