Mississippi News & Analysis

  • Jury strips Jackson cabaret of $3.1M+ for discrimination and retaliation

    Locals in Jackson most likely recognize the name Danny's Cabaret. And now, thanks to a jury verdict against Danny's in excess of $3.1 million, HR personnel and employment lawyers across the country are familiar with the establishment as well.

  • Does new chair of the EEOC mean a new day at the the agency?

    On May 15, 2019, Republican Janet Dhillon was officially sworn in as the 16th chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)—the federal agency that administers and enforces civil rights laws against workplace discrimination and harassment. Dhillon had been nominated by President Donald Trump in 2017 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on a vote of 50-43 on May 8. Her term as chairwoman will expire on July 1, 2022.

  • DOL updates opinion on independent contractors for the gig economy

    Under the Trump administration, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has taken a decidedly industry-friendly approach to the independent contractor analysis. If there was any doubt before, that was made clear by its recent issuance of a whopping 10-page opinion letter examining the nature of the relationship between a virtual marketplace company (think Uber) and the "gig" workers they employ (e.g., Uber drivers).

  • Supreme Court ruling raises stakes in Title VII claims

    If an employee files a timely Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charge, can she later raise new discrimination allegations after the filing deadline has passed? That's the issue addressed in a new decision from the U.S. Supreme Court. Spoiler alert: The answer is no, unless the employer—or more accurately, its attorney—doesn't notice. To understand the Court's ruling, it's helpful to understand the EEOC's role in discrimination claims.

  • Behind the times: Is rounding employees' time outdated?

    Time clocks have long been an accepted method for tracking how much time an employee puts in. Many time clocks track time in tenths of an hour or quarter hours. However, time clocks are being replaced by more sophisticated time-tracking systems, such as electronic and computer time trackers, which are better equipped to track the exact number of minutes an employee is on the job. Nevertheless, employers continue to wonder whether they should round an employee's time and whether rounding time worked is legal. This article discusses some of the best practices for rounding if you are going to do it.

  • Using FMLA to help a parent transition into a nursing home

    Q An employee who is eligible for Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave has requested to use it to spend time with her father, who is in a nursing home but having difficulty settling in. He has dementia and will listen only to family members. Is this a qualifying event? She wouldn't be the primary caregiver.

  • Workplace Trends

    Think you've made a hire? Maybe not. A survey from staffing firm Robert Half shows that more than a quarter of workers (28%) have backed out of a job offer after accepting the position. Why would a jobseeker do that? The survey says 44% of those changing their minds backed out after receiving a better offer from another company. For 27%, a counteroffer from their current employer led to the change of heart. In 19% of the cases, the jobseeker reported hearing bad things about the company after receiving the offer. The cities where jobseekers are more likely to renege are San Diego, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, Austin, and Miami.

  • Is retaliation based on sexual orientation unlawful under Title VII?

    In a recent case before the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Mississippi employers), an employee claimed her former employer retaliated against her when it fired her because of her sexual orientation and because of a company executive's reaction to her pro-heterosexual remarks on Facebook. Recognizing that a claim for retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires, among other things, a showing that an employee opposed activity she reasonably believed to be unlawful, the court dismissed the employee's claims, finding she couldn't have reasonably believed the employer's actions to be unlawful since sexual orientation discrimination isn't unlawful under Title VII. That ruling should come as no surprise to Mississippi employers—at least for now.

  • Promoting employer-sponsored volunteering without running afoul of FLSA

    Volunteering is an effective way for organizations to maximize their impact on the community while minimizing costs. In recent years, as corporate social responsibility has received increased attention in academia and from the media, corporations have begun to play a larger role in global, national, and local efforts to remedy broader societal issues. Corporate volunteering initiatives have grown exponentially over the last decade as consulting groups such as Deloitte and popular business publications such as Forbes laud volunteering as beneficial for company morale, productivity, and brand perception.

  • Supreme Court will decide whether LGBT discrimination is unlawful

    The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide the long-unresolved question of whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The issue has been percolating in the lower courts for quite a while. As it frequently does, the Court declined to consider the question until there was a conflict between several appellate courts. Let's take a look at the history of the Court's decisions, the arguments on both sides of the issue, and what we can expect next.