Indiana News & Analysis

  • FBI defeats religious bias by documenting agent's performance

    Khalid Khowaja worked as a special agent (SA) for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for a year and a half before being terminated. He claimed he was let go because he is Muslim and sued for religious discrimination. The FBI, however, pointed to several instances during his employment when he demonstrated extremely poor judgment, an understandably important quality for an SA to possess. Ultimately, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings cover employers in Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin) agreed with the FBI, noting that "the record conclusively reflects that Khowaja had ongoing judgment-related issues" and further underscoring the well-known mantra "Document, document, document!" Let's take a closer look at the case.

  • NLRB pilot program to encourage alternative dispute resolution

    On July 10, 2018, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) launched a pilot program to enhance the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) by parties involved in unfair labor practice charges. The NLRB's goal is to increase participation opportunities for parties in its existing ADR program and facilitate mutually satisfactory settlements.

  • Employees purring over 'pawternity leave' and other pet-supportive benefits

    As the next generation of professionals enters the workplace and the job market tightens, employers are rolling out new benefits and finding more creative ways to attract and retain employees. Things like "pawternity leave" are gaining traction. Implementing new pet-supportive benefits in this uncharted territory requires careful consideration.

  • 'Fair-share' fee ruling brings new day for public employers, employees

    With proponents of a U.S. Supreme Court decision against the collection of "fair-share" fees claiming a victory for First Amendment rights and critics calling the ruling an example of the Court siding with billionaires against workers, employers are adjusting to a major change in the world of agency shops in the public sector.

  • DOL loosens rules for association health plans

    Employers may soon have new options to obtain group health insurance through association health plans (AHPs) under new regulations recently issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). A brief primer on the mechanics of insurance may be helpful before we dive into the new rules and what they could mean for you.

  • Agency Action

    EEOC reports on age discrimination 50 years after ADEA. Age discrimination remains too common and too accepted 50 years after the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) took effect, according to a report from Victoria A. Lipnic, acting chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The report, released June 26, 2018, says only about three percent of those who have experienced age discrimination complained to their employer or a government agency. Studies find that more than three-fourths of older workers surveyed report their age is an obstacle to getting a job. The report includes recommendations on strategies to prevent age discrimination, such as including age in diversity and inclusion programs and having age-diverse hiring panels. The report says research shows that age diversity can improve organizational performance and lower employee turnover and that mixed-age work teams result in higher productivity for both older and younger workers.

  • Workplace Trends

    Research finds people of color less likely to get requested pay raises. Research from compensation data and software provider PayScale, Inc., shows that people of color were less likely than white men to have received a raise when they asked for one. The research, announced in June, found women of color were 19% less likely to have received a raise and men of color were 25% less likely. The research also notes that no single gender or racial/ethnic group was more likely to have asked for a raise than any other group. The most common justification for denying a raise was budgetary constraints (49%). Just 22% of employees who heard that rationale actually believed it. Of those who said they didnt ask for a raise, 30% reported their reason for not asking was that they received a raise before they felt the need to ask for one.

  • Union Activity

    AFL-CIO launches campaign leading up to elections. The AFL- CIO kicked off its Labor 2018 campaign in June with a nationwide day of action aimed at educating voters in advance of the midterm elections. Were unleashing the largest and most strategic member-to-member political program in our history, sparking change by doing what we do best: talking to each other, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said. Street-by-street and person-by-person, were having conversations about the issues that matter most: higher wages, better benefits, time off, a secure retirement, and a fair return on our labor. The campaign includes canvasses and phone banks taking place in at least 26 states.

  • Trend toward simplicity: 7th Circuit applies one-step 'control' test in ADA case

    Courts and regulatory agencies across the country have long struggled with exactly how to draw the line between an "employee" and an "independent contractor." Some jurisdictions follow a three-factor approach (commonly known as the "ABC test"), some adhere to a five-to-seven-factor test (known as the "economic realities test"), and some rely on as many as 20 factors to make the determination. The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Indiana employers) takes the view that the various checklists can be distilled down to a single word: control.

  • Gig is up: New IN law softens independent contractor requirements

    The "gig economy" now appears to comprise a significant part of the U.S. workforce. According to 2015 and 2017 reports by the Federal Reserve and The Freelancers Union, respectively, contingency workers are estimated to make up approximately 36 percent of the U.S. workforce. Whatever the exact percentage, the gig workforce has become significant enough to engage the attention of legislators.