A new Oregon law forbids employers “to advertise a job opening if they won’t consider applicants who are unemployed.” [CNBC] Earlier on efforts to make jobless persons into a new protected class under discrimination laws here, here, etc.
A former Bethlehem, Pa. city employee who “was charged with and ultimately pled guilty to harassment” after persistently bothering an ex-girlfriend co-worker has lost his wrongful-termination suit against the city, with the Third Circuit upholding its dismissal on summary judgment. [Eric B. Meyer]
I joined Bay Area public radio host Marty Nemko (KALW) on Sunday for a discussion of the pluses and minuses of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and specifically as it applies to the workplace. I focused on the minuses, while disability rights attorney Claudia Center emphasized the pluses. You can listen here.
To get your power turned back on in the Rockaways, according to a spokesman for the Long Island Power Authority, you’re going to need a pre-inspection for your house not just from a licensed electrician, but from one licensed in NYC — nearby Nassau County, or upstate, won’t do. If occupational licensure makes any sense at all — and Milton Friedman had a thing or two to say about that — it certainly needs to be reconsidered under conditions of public emergency and disaster recovery, or so I argue in my new post at Cato at Liberty.
For more background on the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) as a political football, by the way, check out Nicole Gelinas in the New York Post. Also on disaster recovery, why this might be a good time to rethink municipal ordinances barring property owners from removing old trees [Chris Fountain]. And: “Can customers sue power companies for outages? Yes, but it’s hard to win” [Alison Frankel, Reuters]
A widely foreseen consequence of the new health-care law is coming to pass. [WSJ via Adler]
The Department of Labor seems to be taking a new tack against employers of H-1B workers [Stuart Anderson, Forbes] Related: Alex Tabarrok.
More: “the U.S. is inexplicably telling the smartest immigrants to go home.” [Sam Gustin, Time via Alkon]
The California legislature this term chose to pass a raft of exceptionally bad legislation burdening business and employers, and Gov. Jerry Brown, perhaps mindful of the state’s ongoing poor economic performance, last week vetoed many of them [Ira Stoll, NY Sun; Steven Greenhut, City Journal] Among the vetoes: bills widening the rights of housekeepers’, babysitters’ and other domestic workers to sue their employers [earlier here, here]; greatly widening the survivors’ benefits paid for public safety workers [earlier, update]; unionizing grad student research assistants [Daily Californian] and an ostensible farmworker safety measure [Ruth Evans, Fresno Bee]
P.S. “Starts” isn’t really accurate, since, as David Boaz has pointed out, Gov. Brown cast some good vetoes last year.
Yes, you do have to submit to tax withholding on that back and front pay award, says the Second Circuit [Daniel Schwartz]
An Ohio federal court decision, in the case of a woman complaining of sensitivity to the perfumes worn by co-workers, may herald a new dawn of ADA telecommuting rights. I explain at Cato at Liberty.
As a strong defender of the Second Amendment, my views more often than not align with those of the National Rifle Association, so I’m especially disappointed to see the NRA stepping up its campaign against other important elements of liberty, specifically the property- and contract-based liberty of employers to insist (if they so wish) that employees not bring guns to company premises, including parking lots. My Cato colleague Roger Pilon lays out the issue and rightly upbraids chief NRA lobbyist Chris W. Cox (not the former California Congressman) for misunderstanding the constitutional issues. Earlier on the NRA’s blind spot here, here, and here (with reader disagreement). [Corrected to fix misidentification of Cox]
Milton Friedman, posthumously, on the North Carolina paleo-diet-blogger case [Coyote, earlier here, etc.]
“If an employer fails to take employee temperature complaints seriously, that employer may be opening the company up to a discrimination claim,” premised on lack of disability accommodation. “It is also important that employers are clear about regulation of workplace temperature because employees may have a tendency to adjust the temperature to their own personal preference, disregarding the comfort of others if thermostats are openly accessible. To remedy this employers should prevent open access to thermostats and have designated individuals who are allowed to adjust the temperature.” [Bacon Wilson law firm]
P.S. James Fulford: “Thermostat conflict between secretarial staff in summer dresses and lawyers in three-piece suits is common in law firms.”
Way to make the country less free, guys [Missouri Freedom Watch] More: Stephen Bainbridge, Charles Sullivan on Mitchell v. University of Kentucky.
Jon Hyman finds the National Labor Relations Board’s policy on social media in the workplace a “bungled mess.” More: Reed Smith.
Trying to let the mentally disabled employee go from its store in Woodland, Calif., though, proved costly to retailer Target Corp., which has agreed to pay $275,000 to extricate itself from her wrongful termination claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act. [Sacramento Bee] The worker had found employment at Target with the assistance of a nonprofit organization that works with mentally disabled workers, and which had supplied her with a “job coach.” It remains to be seen whether employers like Target will continue to accept such placements with enthusiasm as the perceived legal risks of doing so keep rising.
P.S. Thanks to commenters for drawing out this point: yes, Target’s ultra-stringent employee discipline policy for failure to take timely lunch breaks does look like a lawyer-driven adaptation to its high legal exposure (especially in California) to class action suits claiming that employers permitted work during designated breaks. See, for example, this post and this one. Note that in each case the company feels constrained to fire the workers because they are putting in too much work, not too little.