This is an issue raised in the R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC case, for which the Supreme Court will hear arguments next month. In this case, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued a Detroit area funeral home chain because the owner fired an employee due to disclosing her intent to transition from male to female. The lower court ruled in favor of the funeral home, but the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision, arguing that transgender discrimination is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII. The Supreme Court agreed to review the decision.
In addition to the spread of paid leave requirements, many employers must now also comply with fair workweek laws. “Fair workweek” initiatives, also known as “predictive scheduling,” require employers to provide work schedules to employees in advance and pay employees if those schedules change without sufficient notice.
One of the most frequently asked questions we get here at myHRcounsel is: do you do employee handbooks? The answer is always an emphatic, “YES!” Anyone who is a client of myHRcounsel gets an attorney-drafted, 50-state compliant, employee handbook. However, inquiring minds still want to know, “What should be in an employee handbook?” Every state’s laws are different, so your company will need different policies for each of the states where you employ workers. To that end, this list is illustrative and not exhaustive and is mostly based on federal laws only. But here we go:
Beginning August 1, 2019 in Minnesota, e-cigarettes and vaping will be banned in most indoor workplaces and public places. As part of the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act (MCIAA) that went into effect in 2007, it was amended so that vaping will have the same rules as traditional cigarettes in the state, which means they will no longer be allowed in stores, restaurants, bars, offices or industrial workspaces, or other public spaces. Local law enforcement will have the authority to issue petty misdemeanor citations to proprietors or individuals who knowing fail to comply with the requirements of the MCIAA.
Workplace violence is a disturbing, but real issue facing employers nationwide. News stories remind us of this reality with examples such as a recent workplace shooting in Illinois, in which a disgruntled employee shot several coworkers and police officers after learning that his employment was terminated. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that about two million workers report workplace violence every year. OSHA also states that employers must provide a place of employment “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.” So what should employers do about this growing concern?