By Attorney Bryan T. Symes – Weld Riley, S.C.
Recently, during a supervisor-training session I conducted with one of my colleagues to address the “#MeToo uprising,” upper-management personnel asked me about the workplace implications, if any, of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case that is set to be heard by the Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) tomorrow, December 5, 2017. I responded that reconciling religious liberty rights and anti-discrimination protections is no cakewalk [if you know me, you know this cheesy pun is totally intended]—and that I don’t envy the Justices in the slightest. Continue reading No Cakewalk: SCOTUS to Determine Proper Interplay Between Religious Liberty Rights and Anti-Discrimination Law
By Attorney Bryan Symes
Employers are generally much more restricted in connection with employee discipline in the unionized workplace setting. To that end, one hallmark of the typical employer/union relationship is the existence of a labor agreement that incorporates the so-called “just cause” standard of employee discipline—which is in stark contrast to the concept of “at-will” employment applicable to most non-union work environments. In the unionized workplace setting, what is, and what is not, appropriate in terms of discipline for employee misconduct under the “just cause” standard has developed through decades worth of labor-arbitration decisions. One recent labor-arbitration decision is the latest reminder of what an employer must do to increase the likelihood that a termination decision will withstand “just cause” scrutiny. The decision is In re ADM Trucking, Inc. and Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers International Union, Local 103G, 137 LA 1469 (Oct. 5, 2017). Continue reading Hit the Road Jack: Trucking Company Had Just Cause To Terminate Employee’s Employment for Violating Work Rules
By: Attorney Bryan Symes
Recently, the federal Second Circuit Court of Appeals [which makes decisions primarily impacting businesses located in Connecticut, New York and Vermont], in an unpublished summary order [which carries no precedential impact], upheld a National Labor Relations Board decision that the popular grocery chain, Whole Foods, violated the National Labor Relations Act by maintaining an overly-broad no-recording policy. The opinion comes in Whole Foods Mkt. Grp., Inc. v. NLRB, Case No. 16-346, Doc. No. 81-1, available here.
Continue reading Federal Court to Whole Foods – Candid Camera Policy No Laughing Matter under the NLRA
By: Attorney Bryan Symes
Okay, so there’s no crying is baseball—that much we know with certainty [thank you, Tom Hanks]. Not the case with workplaces, however. In fact, recently, a federal court sitting in Illinois addressed whether a former employee—who “began crying regularly and uncontrollably at work”—placed her former employer on notice of a need for FMLA leave. The case is Valdivia v. Township High School, District 214, available here. In Valdivia, the former employee alleged that her employer interfered with her rights under the FMLA by failing to provide her with notice that she had a right to take job-protected leave under the FMLA, even though her former employer allegedly knew or should have known that she suffered from a medical condition that made performing her job untenable.
Continue reading For Crying Out Loud: Employee’s Out-of-Character Tears Place Employer on Constructive Notice of Need For FMLA Leave