HR Intel – President Obama Weighs in on Paid Sick Leave and More…

A roundup of workplace trends and legal developments to keep HR ahead of the curve

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President Obama leveraged the US Labor Day holiday to launch a new paid sick leave initiative for employees of federal contractors, aiming to cover some of the approximately 44 million American employees in the private sector who are not eligible for paid sick leave.

XpertHR’s downloadable report on the “Paid Sick Leave Epidemic” sheds light on this emerging and volatile area of the law and is picking up steam on the web.

Look for even more detailed coverage of this topic later in the week right here in the XpertHR Blog.

Employee rebellions around the US

Beyond the show-stealing paid sick leave news, recent trends in employment law and HR include many instances of employees “rebelling” at work. Certainly Kentucky clerk Kim Davis’s ill-considered public stance against gay marriage continues to dominate headlines, but she’s not alone in her insubordination.

Arby’s recently fired a manager and suspended a clerk for refusing to serve a police officer at its Pembroke Pines, Florida location. The clerk claimed that it was “a joke,” but the joke’s on him and his now-unemployed manager, particularly in an employment at-will society.

A flight attended at ExpressJet was suspended for refusing to serve alcohol to customers. The flight attended cited her Muslim faith and a prior agreement with the airline to grant her a religious accommodation for her objection to serving alcohol. The flight attended has filed a federal discrimination complaint and plans to prosecute her claim through the EEOC, claiming a history of discrimination against her by the airline.

Pittsburgh barbershop owner John Interval refused to cut women’s hair and is now feeling the wrath of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs. “I didn’t really consider it so much a discrimination thing as – it’s a barbershop…for guys,” Interval said, demonstrating his deep and nuanced understanding of anti-discrimination legislation in the US.

More layoffs and site closures for a major retailer

In other news, the retail brick and mortar carnage continues.  Macy’s is closing 5% of its stores in early 2016 and has entered into an agreement with Best Buy to sell electronics.  Macy’s and Best Buy can commiserate as they both reduce their workforces in the expanding shadow of online retailers like Amazon.

CEO sets a good (or bad?) example regarding maternity leave

Controversial Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer is pregnant again – this time with identical twins – but she’s standing fast on her preference not to take a long maternity leave.  Mayer plans to take only “limited time” away from work due to her “uncomplicated” pregnancy, which is either a great thing or a terrible thing, depending on whom you ask.

US DOL and Vermont make an agreement

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) entered into an agreement with the State of Vermont to protect workers from being misclassified as independent contractors.  Twenty-five other states have signed similar agreements with the DOL, enabling those states to share information and to coordinate law enforcement in response to violations.

The DOL is very much trying to catch companies for misclassifying workers, so employers should devote resources to training and prevention to avoid attention.

New York in the spotlight over minimum wage

Governor Cuomo announced that he supports a $15/hour minimum wage for the entire state, a move that would give New York the highest minimum wage by state in the country.  Potential presidential candidate Joe Biden flanked Cuomo during the announcement, suggesting the issue may get some play on the national stage as the 2016 election cycle heats up.

Meanwhile, the $15/hour minimum wage for fast food workers was official as of September 10, 2015, when Acting Labor Commissioner Mario Musolino executed the order.

XpertHR has the best tool in the business to help employers monitor volatile minimum wage changes at both the state and municipal levels.

New York State judge tells the TLC to compete or die

The Uber vs. New York City saga continues.  A state judge in Queens dismissed a challenge by taxi and limousine commission (TLC) medallion financiers, who argued that Uber is destroying an 80-year-old industry by forcing loan defaults for medallion owners who cannot earn expected profits now that Uber is on the scene. The judge was unmoved by their medallion moping, stating that the TLC should either compete with Uber and its “electronic hailing” system, or die out.

Did that really just happen?

A Chicago man interviewed for a job and received a job offer, but then responded by sending nude “selfies” to the HR department.  HR responded by – you guessed it – rescinding the job offer and calling the police.  The man claimed the nude pics went out to the wrong person by accident but suffice to say, that’s not an ideal first impression with a new employer.

How is this song relevant to HR? 

We leave you with “Karma Chameleon” by Culture Club.  Tell us how you think this 80s classic is relevant to HR in the comments below.


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