and Tools for Building Defensible Workplaces
In workplace lawsuits, employee-side attorneys cast supervisors as villains whose statements, acts, decisions, and omissions should (1) impute liability to the overall organization; and (2) justify, in certain cases, the imposition of individual liability against them personally (e.g., FLSA, FMLA, torts). Despite their critical role and risk in employment disputes, HR practitioners and corporate counsel too often overlook the importance of “co-opting” line supervisors in building a culture of compliance. In fact, when properly trained, supervisors are the eyes, ears, and hands of HR and compliance counsel: they spot issues, detect disputes, involve appropriate stakeholders, escalate problems, and implement action plans, all of which can help stop everyday workplace clashes from degenerating into litigation.
This webinar speaks directly to your supervisors, offering practical “defensive management” tools for today’s workplace. We’ll cover (1) the current regulatory climate and corresponding need to partner closely with HR and compliance counsel on personnel decisions; (2) basic defense themes in employment litigation and how to develop effective documentation to support them; (3) common trouble spots that can result in individual liability for supervisors and how to avoid them; and (4) best practices for minimizing the risk of litigation.
This webinar is also a work in progress that can benefit from YOUR participation and input. Ultimately, based on participant feedback, we plan to re-record this webinar so that you have a FREE online training resource to share with your supervisors.
What a long strange trip Colorado’s Amendment 64 will be for Colorado’s employers
Now that the smoke has cleared (a little), Colorado’s Amendment 64 has left employers holding a bag of new workplace issues: can Colorado employers continue to maintain their drug-free workplace policies, as well as their safety, performance and disciplinary standards?
EEO Legal Solutions is delighted to partner with Julie Pate-Gurule, Esq. of Employment Compliance Solutions, LLC. As a former attorney with Mountain States Employers Counsel (MSEC) and as an in-house counsel, Julie understands the daily challenges HR practitioners and attorneys face when navigating the regulatory minefield in our workplaces. In this webinar, Julie will guide participants through the evolving law of weed at work and acquaint them with best practices for maintaining their performance and safety standards.
Systemic discrimination—particularly challenging employers’ “discriminatory hiring barriers” (i.e., qualification standards)—forms the foundation of the OFCCP’s and EEOC’s strategic enforcement plans. Since announcing the shift to systemic discrimination in April, 2006, the EEOC has investigated and/or prosecuted numerous employers for using skill-based testing, criminal history information, and credit report scores to screen applicants. These EEOC prosecutions, however, have not stood up to the scrutiny of the litigation process, garnering summary dismissals and stinging rebukes from federal judges on the threshold element of any systemic case—i.e., whether the challenged practice has statistically significant adverse impact on any protected group. In fact, the arguments carrying the day in court are statistical, not “legal.”
In this lively webinar, Patrick Nooren, PhD of Biddle Consulting Group and Merrily Archer, Esq., M.S.W. of EEO Legal Solutions will
Provide insight into the OFCCP’s and EEOC’s focus on systemic discrimination;
Decrypt theoretical terms like “systemic discrimination” and “disparate impact” and explain where these problems crop up in everyday HR practice;
Analyze two recent landmark EEOC prosecutions—EEOC v. Freeman and EEOC v. Kaplan, and showcase what went well, particularly the arguments that persuaded the court;
Offer practical suggestions about how to avoid landing in the EEOC’s systemic discrimination crosshairs, including how to use BCGi’s free, online adverse impact calculator.
We hope you can join us!
Workplace conflict is inevitable. Nevertheless, Employment Practices Liability (EPL) insurance claims rank high on most employers’ lists of big hazards to avoid in 2014. With a solid infrastructure to prevent and manage workplace disputes most ordinary “people problems” should never become legal ones that result in an EPL claim.
EEO Legal Solutions is delighted to team up with EPL guru Brit Weimer, Esq. of Jones Satre & Weimer PLLC in Minneapolis, MN to examine the most important facets of any EPL-claim prevention program. We’ll offer cost-effective solutions for standard compliance activities (e.g., training, policy posting), introduce new techniques to avoid large-scale liability (e.g., FLSA, systemic discrimination), and explore the benefits of aggressive workplace performance management and dispute resolution programs.
An application is pending for one (1) General HRCI credit.
In its most recent performance/accountability report, the EEOC stated that its historic collections from employers ($365.4m) show that it is “enforcing the law more effectively.” The EEOC then characterized its Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program as “fabulously success” and a “wonderful opportunity to settle.” Indeed, “fabulously successful” likely means that the EEOC’s ADR program has proven fabulously successful at collecting money from employers, regardless of charge merits.
Drawing on the lessons of EEO Legal Solutions’ on-going EEOC Mediation Survey, this webinar will explore what EEOC mediators say behind closed doors to make employers pay. We will then conduct some “reality testing” around these common representations, neutralizing their power to scare employers into unnecessarily high settlements. This webinar will also familiarize participants with the EEOC’s mediation process, ultimately empowering them to handle their organization’s mediations with confidence and without over-reliance on outside counsel.
EEO Legal Solutions will offer this FREE webinar again in February, 2014 through BLR/HR Hero, www.blr.com, which charges over $200 per registration. As a gift to EEO Legal Solutions’ clients, friends, and webinar regulars, we wanted to share this webinar with you free of charge. We will also record the webinar, share the link, and upload it to our new YouTube channel, the Small Employer Education Network (SEEN). We hope you can join us!
With increasing obligations to provide a variety of paid/unpaid leaves of absence, employers often wonder which, if any, employees will be at work on any given day. This webinar will tackle the leading causes of employee absences and their legal implications under the ADA and FMLA, offering practical suggestions for (1) managing employees back to work; and (2) making legally defensible workforce planning decisions.
The HR Certification Institute, www.hrci.org, has awarded one (1) General HRCI credit for this webinar.
With the steady increase in workplace legal disputes, Employment Practices Liability (EPL) Insurance has become a business necessity. Without it, many employers face defense costs and settlement demands that could easily put them out of business, even if the employee’s allegations are completely baseless. Nevertheless, many small to mid-sized employers often decline this important protection because they treat their employees “like family” and would NEVER intentionally subject them to discrimination, harassment, retaliation, or the growing panoply of regulatory violations. Particularly with the passage of HB-1136 in Colorado last term, however, EPL Insurance provides essential protection from the very real risk that a workplace people problem will someday become a legal one.
EEO Legal Solutions is delighted to team up with business insurance expert Allan Morton of Morton Insurance and Risk Management for this in-depth look at the realities of employment litigation, the benefits of EPL insurance, and the key considerations when purchasing this protection—e.g., typical coverages and exclusions, choice of counsel, deductibles, reporting “claims,” just to name a few. We have applied for One (1) General credit through www.hrci.org.
On June 24, 2013, SCOTUS handed employers a major victory that will curb the rising tide of RETALIATION claims and allow employers to manage performance without fear of them. Just last year, the EEOC took in more retaliation charges than any other kind. Before this recent SCOTUS decision, retaliation claims were easy (perhaps too easy), often just boiling down to the amount of TIME between a “protected activity” and an “adverse employment action.” As Justice Kennedy observed, however, this lenient causation standard could prompt an employee to raise discrimination/harassment allegations in response to discipline or performance counseling as a perceived immunity from discharge; no doubt, discrimination and harassment allegations often stop employers in their performance management tracks. This webinar will discuss the implications of SCOTUS’ Nassar decision on everyday personnel and performance management decisions, focusing on performance rehabilitation practices that get results and reduce employers’ legal risks.
In workplace discrimination and harassment litigation, successful litigation outcomes often start with an effective in-house investigation. By contrast, weak, perfunctory, and overly scripted investigations can squander opportunities to accurately asses risk and to gather critical evidence supportive of common defense themes. When investigating discrimination, harassment, or retaliation allegations, investigators must not only understand WHAT to look for, but also HOW to structure fact-gathering and interviews in a manner that facilitates the flow of reliable information. Effective investigations require, therefore, (1) a fund of knowledge about what facts are legally relevant; and perhaps even more important (2) tools and tricks for establishing rapport, phrasing critical questions, ensuring mutual understanding, detecting inconsistency and mendacity, and preparing investigation reports.
EEO Legal Solutions’ founder Merrily Archer, Esq., M.S.W. will draw on lessons from both the social work and litigation fields to share effective practices for conducting workplace discrimination and harassment investigations. As Merrily will explain, techniques borrowed from counseling psychology can prove invaluable in workplace investigations, often yielding legally relevant and reliable information upon which successful litigation outcomes depend.
Please find the link to this webinar recording below:
The Accommodation Conundrum: Bending Over Backwards . . .
While Enforcing Workplace Standards
With the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) covering more workers than ever before, careful reasonable accommodation management can mean the difference between disabled operations and a fully functioning workplace. The EEOC and employee-side trial attorneys recently have taken expansive views of the reasonable accommodation obligation, insisting upon accommodations that (a) fundamentally alter or remove essential job functions; (b) significantly impair employer operations; and (c) pose veritable undue hardships. EEO Legal Solutions successfully defended EEOC v. Picture People at the trial level and on appeal to the 10th Circuit, where the EEOC argued that this retail employer must allow a deaf/mute person to substitute written notes and gestures for oral conversation used sales dialogs, as a reasonable accommodation. Read more here: http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/print-edition/2012/07/20/is-eeoc-too-aggressive.html. This litigation provides helpful insights into how the EEOC envisions the reasonable accommodation obligation and how employers can successfully fight back. We will offer effective strategies for managing the reasonable accommodation process, including practical guidance about how to establish core defenses like “fundamental alteration,” “undue hardship” and “elimination of essential function.”