Since the last time the EEOC updated its guidance on workplace harassment (oh say, in 1990), a lot has happened. A generation was born, graduated high school and joined American culture. There have been a couple court cases. The EEOC now thinks it’s time for some spring cleaning – proposing a new guidance document found here.
Alan Bush and Lee Winkelman are routine freelance contributors for Texas Lawyer. Their latest article, "Emmy Red Carpets and HR Investigation Reports," appeared in the October 12, 2015 issue.
Beyond actually collecting evidence, there’s a lot more to investigating an employee complaint. The investigation report can make or break a defense. Here’s what Alan and Lee had to say about it:
Alan Bush often speaks at seminars for business leaders—such as line executives, finance executives, human resource professionals, CPA's and lawyers. You can hear Alan at:
Employment Law Update | The Woodlands Area Chamber
November 1, 2013
Alan will present at the update twice. His first presentation is a talk, followed by him moderating a panel discussion.
Overtime and Non-Compete Lessons from the Oil Patch
The Department of Labor and plaintiff's lawyers have recently hit the oil field. They're on the hunt for overtime pay violations in an industry with workers who pull long hours in remote locations. At the same time, the war for experienced oil field and energy service talent is heating up with non-compete agreements and the new Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act. Even outside the energy industry, employers can learn from it. The industry's creative solutions – some successful, some not – are instructive for everyone.
Tales from the Dark Side
Let's step out of the courtroom and into the business world. A panel of seasoned in-house counsel and HR professionals will discuss how to handle tricky employee issues.
Alan moderates a panel of:
- Stephanie John │ Newfield Exploration - Legal Counsel and Compliance Officer
- Stephen Eubank │ Anadarko Petroleum Corp. - Senior Counsel
- Leah Yeglin, SPHR and GPHR │ Spectrum Geo - HR Manager
- Chris Rasberry, GPHR │ HFG Wealth Management - COO
When: 8:30a - 4p
Where: Marriott - The Woodlands Waterway
Six-figures. That's what a rogue manager can cost you in punitive damages if he accidentally blows a call that HR would have caught. It's surprisingly easy for an untrained manager to step in it. We've written about a couple examples.
Don't add zeros to an employment claim.
Train your folks on your EEO and anti-harassment policy. Training, plus a solid EEO and anti-harassment policy, may give you a strong defense against punitive damages.
Never training your employees on your EEO policy strips your defense. In EEOC v. Service Temps, the company had never trained its folks. The EEOC latched onto that. At trial, the EEOC secured $68,000 in punitive damages and an injunction that imposed mandatory training. The Fifth Circuit refused to overturn the award.
Punitive damages are no stranger to the Texas Supreme Court too. In Safeshred v. Martinez, the Court expanded punitive damages to Sabine Pilot wrongful discharge claims. Some commentators say the opinion lets Texas state discrimination law plaintiffs collect punitive damages more easily.
Over the past couple years, your company may have pushed training to the backburner. The Fifth Circuit and Texas Supreme Court may have just sent you a friendly reminder to put training back on the agenda.
The NLRB once again delayed the effective date for its union poster rule. Now, employers covered by the NLRA must post a union rights notice by April 30, 2012. The NLRB's press release says it agreed to the delay to help resolve a lawsuit over the poster rule.