News & Analysis

Trump order pulls back on race, sex stereotyping training

President Donald Trump recently signed an Executive Order (EO 13950) that seeks to "combat offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating" and end so-called "divisive concepts" covered in certain workplace trainings. Proponents say the aim is to promote "unity in the Federal workforce" by prohibiting messages in trainings that imply "an individual, by virtue of their race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously."

Employers unsure about benefits for furloughed workers

Many struggling but optimistic employers have continued to offer medical, dental, and other benefits to employees on furlough during the COVID-19 pandemic. But with no immediate end in sight, they're wondering what to do next.

Talk is (not) cheap! Racial remark leads to hefty judgment against MS firm

It's 2020, folks—a year that will always be associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. But for some, the year also represents a time of missed opportunity given the racial divide that's still present in our country. Employment lawyers hear the stories almost daily, and employers must be reminded that not everyone has moved beyond our nation's past. But if a business owner turns a "blind eye," what are the repercussions? A Mississippi employer recently found out.

5th Circuit rejects discrimination, hostile work environment claims

A former employee failed to establish she was subjected to a hostile work environment and discriminated and retaliated against by her former employer, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit (which covers Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi employers) recently ruled, affirming the district court's decision. The appellate court's opinion offers guidance on how you should respond to such allegations to avoid liability.

Florida voters pass minimum wage increase to $15 by 2026

On November 3, Florida voters approved Amendment 2 to the state constitution, gradually raising the state's minimum wage to $15 by 2026. The ballot measure needed 60 percent support to pass and narrowly cleared the threshold by winning approximately 60.8 percent of the votes cast. Florida becomes the first state in the South (and the eighth overall) to vote "yes" to the eventual $15 wage.

Racist Facebook posts support employee termination, maybe

Despite the proliferation of employer social media policies over the last decade and frequent cautionary tales in the news about employee social media mishaps resulting in serious consequences in the workplace, social media issues continue to arise. In a recent case from the Mississippi Court of Appeals, however, what seemed like a classic case of social media misconduct rightfully leading to termination wound up in a finding for the employee. Let's take a closer look.

Can nonemployees sue under Title VII? 5th Circuit says 'no'

In a recent employer-friendly decision, the 5th Circuit concluded nonemployees can't sue under Title VII based on allegations they were the intentional target of an employer's retaliatory animus against an employee.

Twitter, Tiktok, and termination: navigating employees' social media usage

With approximately 3.6 billon people expressing themselves on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, employers have to ask themselves some important questions. For example, should you set boundaries for what you will or won't accept in employees' online posting activities? Can you legally fire them for posting something on their personal social media accounts?

What The Addams Family teaches us about diversity and inclusion

Because of the COVID-19 crisis, there was no trick-or-treating or family party at my house for Halloween 2020. Instead, we opted for a movie night by the campfire, complete with s'mores. We searched for a spooky (but not scary) movie appropriate for an 8-year-old. We ultimately settled on the animated version of The Addams Family. I knew we were in for laughs and gore but had no idea I'd also be schooled on diversity and inclusion.

Combating isolation just one more priority for employers during COVID era

Back in March, when a rapidly proliferating pandemic forced workers across the country out of their offices and into their homes, most thought the arrangement would be short-lived—a few weeks, maybe a month or so. As the year winds down, with many people still working from home—and coping with the kind of isolation they never expected—various surveys have shown that most workers miss the office. They may like the flexibility of working from home and hope to continue the arrangement in a limited way postpandemic, but they want the kind of interaction with colleagues they get in the office. This many months into the pandemic, workers are seeing that the isolation of working alone in their homes is taking a toll.