Employment Law

/Employment Law

Employment Law Round-Up

A lot has happened in the employment law world in the last few weeks.  Here's a short round-up of some noteworthy items: The Iowa Supreme Court held that punitive damages are not permitted in claims under the Iowa Civil Rights Act.  The decision is not revolutionary and only confirms what the Court has said since the [...]

By | July 1st, 2013|Employment Law|

U.S. Supreme Court Narrowly Defines Supervisor

On Monday, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Vance v.  Ball State University.  The issue decided was which employees constitute "supervisors" for the purpose of applying Title VII anti-discrimination laws.  I previously discussed the importance of this question. In a 5-4 decision, the Court decided that an individual is a supervisor only if he [...]

By | June 28th, 2013|Employment Law|

What is a Hostile Work Environment?

The term "hostile work environment" gets used frequently by employers and employees. It's used in a so many contexts that it seems to have lost true meaning. Hostile work environment allegations range from employees being micro-managed to employees being ridiculed because of their sexual orientation. So what does hostile work environment mean and when is an employer liable [...]

By | February 27th, 2013|Employment Law|

U.S. Supreme Court to Define “Clothes”!

On Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in,Sandifer v. U.S. Steel Corp., a case involving compensable time under the FLSA. In the underlying case, a group of steel workers filed suit against their employer, U.S. Steel Corp., for unpaid wages for time spent putting on and taking off safety clothes necessary to perform their jobs. The [...]

By | February 21st, 2013|Employment Law|

U.S. Supreme Court to Define “Clothes”!

On Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in,Sandifer v. U.S. Steel Corp., a case involving compensable time under the FLSA. In the underlying case, a group of steel workers filed suit against their employer, U.S. Steel Corp., for unpaid wages for time spent putting on and taking off safety clothes necessary to perform their jobs. The [...]

By | February 21st, 2013|Employment Law|

Is the Employee Handbook Archaic

I was told last week by someone in human resources that having an employee handbook is archaic and unnecessary in today's world. The statement caused me to pause. I have been advising employers of all sizes to adopt employee handbooks to fit their company. So I stopped to think--is an employee handbook archaic? Are there certain employers that [...]

By | February 11th, 2013|Employment Law|

US Supreme Court to Decide Who is a “Supervisor”

Late last month, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear argument in Vance v. Ball State University. The facts of the case are not novel. Vance, an African-American, alleged that certain supervisors and co-workers discriminated against and harassed her based on her race. In one short paragraph, the Seventh Circuit determined that one of the purported supervisors was [...]

By | July 11th, 2012|Employment Law|

Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that pharmaceutical sales representatives were "outside salespersons" exempt from the overtime requirements of the FLSA. This is a huge victory for the pharmaceutical companies and a huge defeat to the Department of Labor (and the sales representatives, of course). It's not clear whether this opinion will be notable to [...]

By | June 19th, 2012|Employment Law|

Back to the Basics: Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act is a federal law which protects disabled employees from discrimination. Chapter 216 of the Iowa Code provides protection for disabled workers as well. A covered employer under the federal law means any business with at least 15 employees. The Iowa law covers all businesses with employees. Both the federal and state laws [...]

By | June 18th, 2012|Employment Law|

Quality Egg Settles Sexual Harassment Suit with EEOC

What's worse than having the EEOC sue your company for sexual harassment? Having it happen twice. The EEOC issued a press release yesterday that it settled a sexual harassment suit with Galt, Iowa based Quality Egg, LLC owned and operated by the Austin "Jack" DeCoster Revocable Trust for $85,000. The company is no longer operational. In 2002, the [...]

By | June 6th, 2012|Employment Law|