Manager Training

Welcome to today's training!

This course will provide company leaders with a basic understanding of employment law.  Information regarding how to handle workplace harassment, discrimination, and the steps to take to report non-compliance of federal and state employment law will also be discussed.

Employment Law 101

Equal Pay Act (EPA)

  • The Equal Pay Act requires that men and women in the same workplace be given equal pay for equal work.
  • Job content (not job titles) determines if jobs are substantially equal.
  • All forms of pay are covered: salary, overtime pay, bonuses, profit sharing, life insurance, vacation and holiday pay, benefits, etc.
  • If there is inequality in wages between men and women, employers may not reduce the wages of either sex to equalize their pay.
  • An individual alleging a violation of the Equal Pay Act (EPA) may go directly to court and is not required to file an EEOC claim beforehand.
  • The time limit to file a claim:
    • Two years
    • Three years if the violation was willful

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)

  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967 prohibits employment discrimination against any individual at least 40 years of age.
  • The ADEA includes a broad ban against age discrimination, and also specifically prohibits:
    • Discrimination in hiring, promotions, wages, terminations, and layoffs
    • Statements of specifications in age preference or limitations
    • Denial of benefits to older workers
  • The ADEA does not protect workers under the age of 40.
    • It is not illegal for an employer or other covered entity to favor an older workers over a younger one, even if both workers are age 40 or older.
  • 180 days to file a charge with the EEOC

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act  (ADA) of 1990 is a civil rights law that prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of workers' disabilities.
    • Prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies, and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in applying for jobs, hiring, firing, and job training.
  • The ADA also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to allow employees with disabilities to do their jobs.
    •  A reasonable accommodation is assistance or changes to a position or workplace that will enable an employee to do his or her job despite having a disability - outside of the essential functions.
    • Under the ADA, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified employees with disabilities, unless doing so would pose an undue hardship (significant difficulty or expense). 
    • A family member, health professional, or other representative may request an accommodation on behalf of an EEOC employee or applicant. 
  • A worker has a disability as defined by the ADA only if he or she falls into one of these three categories:
    • 1.  A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities;
    • 2. A record of such an impairment; or
    • 3. Is regarded as having such an impairment. 

 

Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)

  • The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
  • Under the PDA, employers may not discriminate against employees or job applicants on the basis of pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition in all aspects of employment, including:
    • Hiring
    • Firing
    • Promotion
    • Pay
    • Other employee benefits
  • The PDA does not require employers to accommodate pregnant employees (ex. light-duty work, schedule changes, or time off).
  • Employers must treat pregnant employees the same as non-pregnant employees who are similar in their ability or inability to work.
    • If an employer does not offer reasonable accommodation to employees who are temporarily disabled for other reasons, it does not have to accommodate pregnant employees either.
  • 180 days to file a claim with the EEOC

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

  • The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year.
    • Applies to companies with 50 or more employees
    • Employees are eligible for leave if they have worked for their employer at least 12 months, at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months, and work at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles.
  • FMLA is designed to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities by allowing them to take reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons.  The employer must provide an eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave (may be used consecutively or intermittently) during any 12-month period for any of the following reasons:
    • for the birth and placement of the newborn child of an employee;
    • for placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care;
    • to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition; or
    • to take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition.
  • A final rule effective on January 16, 2009, updated the FMLA regulations to implement new military family leave.
    • A covered employer must grant an eligible employee up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job protected leave during any 12-month period for qualifying exigencies that arise when the employee's spouse, son, daughter, or parent is on covered active duty or has been notified of an impending call or order to covered active duty.
    • A covered employer must grant an eligible employee up to a total of 26 weeks of unpaid, job protected leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness.  The employee must be the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of the covered service member.
  • There is no absolute right to continued employment provided under either workers' compensation or the ADA for an employee whose FMLA leave is exhausted and who cannot return to work. However, an employer would want to consider options other than termination and seek advice of legal counsel before terminating the employee under this circumstance (SHRM, 2016).

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers.
  • Employees whose jobs are governed by the FLSA are either "exempt" or "non-exempt".
    • Non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay at a rate of no less than one and one-half times their regular rates of pay after 40 hours of work in a workweek.
    • With few exceptions, to be exempt, an employee must:
      • be paid at least $23,600.00 per year ($455.00 per week)
      • be paid on a salary basis
      • perform exempt job duties
  • There are a number of employment practices which the FLSA does not regulate.  For example, the FLSA does not require:
    • vacation, holiday, severance, or sick pay;
    • meal or rest periods, holidays off, or vacations;
    • premium pay for weekend or holiday work;
    • pay raises or fringe benefits; or
    • a discharge notice, reason for discharge, or immediate payment of final wages to terminated employees
  • Employee may file a claim with the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor, or they may file a lawsuit in court.
    • Must be filed within two years of the date the employer violated the law, or within three years if the employer committed a willful violation.

 

Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act

  • The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) includes provisions on:
    • Antidiscrimination.  Employers may not discriminate against members of the uniformed services.
    • Reinstatement. Employers must reinstate employees upon their return from  up to five years of leave for service in the uniformed services.
    • Benefits. Employers must restore all benefits to returning service members.  Time spent on leave for service in the uniformed services must be treated as time worked.
    • Job Security. Employers may not fire returning service members except for cause for up to one year after they return from military duty.

 

This section will provide company leaders with an opportunity to practice identifying various employment laws through various multiple choice, text matching, and true/false questions.

Knowledge Check:  True or False

  • According to the FLSA, employees classified as exempt are eligible for overtime pay.

In order to be eligible for FMLA an employee must (select all that apply):

  • Be classified as full-time
  • Have worked for an employee for at least 12 months
  • Have worked at least 1250 hours for the employer in the 12 months immediately preceding the leave
  • Work at a location with 100 or more employees within a 75-mile radius

Knowledge Check:  Match the appropriate law to the applicable text.

  • Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)
    Requires employers to treat pregnant employees the same as non-pregnant employees who are similar in their ability or inability to work.
  • Equal Pay Act (EPA)
    Employers must give equal pay to women and men for doing equal work.
  • Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment     Rights Act (USERRA)
    Employers must reinstate employees upon their return from up to five years of leave for service in the uniformed services.
  • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
    Sets the minimum wage for all covered employees.

Knowledge Check:  True or False

  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits age discrimination against employees age 40 or older.

Workplace Harassment and Discrimination

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal law that prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of:
    • Sex
    • Race
    • Color
    • National Origin
    • Religion
  • In the state of Iowa, Title VII also covers:
    • Sexual Orientation
    • Gender Identity
  • It is unlawful to discriminate against any individual in regard to recruiting, hiring, and promotion, transfer, work assignments, performance measures, the work environment, job training, discipline and discharge, wage and benefits, or any other term, condition, or privilege of employment.
  • Title VII prohibits not only intentional discrimination, but also neutral job policies that disproportionately affect persons of a certain race or color that are not related to the job and the needs of the business.
  • Retaliation against an employee or applicant of employment who has been involved in a legally authorized investigation, or as a witness or a party in any legal proceeding about its alleged discriminatory practices or policies is illegal.

Workplace Harassment

  • Harassment - to trouble, worry or torment someone on a persistent basis.
  • The guidelines of the EEOC define unlawful harassment as unwelcome conduct of a discriminatory nature against a member of a protected class because of his or her membership in that protected class.
    • Harassment is a form of discrimination
    • Unwelcome + Severe or Pervasive Conduct = Unlawful Harassment
  • Severe - a single incident of extremely inappropriate behavior (something that a reasonable person would consider outrageous).
  • Pervasive - behavior that is less severe on its own but - when repeated over time or considered in combination with other conduct - creates an unreasonable working environment.  Pervasiveness is evaluated from the perspective of a reasonable person.
  • Hostile Environment Harassment - Ongoing, pervasive or severe behavior that interferes with an individual's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
    • Can be verbal, visual and/or physical in nature
    • In order for it to be illegal, must be directed towards a protected class
  • Quid pro quo - "this for that". Refers to workplace situations in which an employee or job applicant's submission to or rejections of sexual advances or conduct of a sexual nature is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting that individual.
  • Sexual Harassment - any sexually related behavior that is unwelcome, offensive or that fails to respect the rights of others.  Includes any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favor (verbal and nonverbal), or other unwelcome physical or visual contact or conduct of a sexual nature, by someone of the same or opposite sex.
  • Third-party Harassment - an employer may be liable for harassment committed by third-parties including, vendors, clients, and others who are not company employees.

Manager Responsibility

  • Managers play a particularly key role in supporting a workplace free of harassment and discrimination.
  • By working with Human Resources in all significant employment decisions, managers will be better able to supervise in a way that is neither intentionally or unintentionally discriminatory.
  • The law requires managers to take all reasonable steps to prevent discrimination and harassment from occurring.
  • There could be legal repercussions to managers, supervisors, and the company if they know and do nothing. 
    • Managers may be named personally liable in harassment or discrimination suits.
  • Prevention is the best policy. If harassment does occur, managers must take effective steps to stop any further action and to correct an effects of harassment.
  • Managers should not participate in any discriminatory or harassing behavior in the workplace.  
    • Responsible for setting an example and enforcing company policies.
  • Managers should speak up if they have any concerns about anyone else's behavior on the job or in work-related environments.
  • If you feel you are being harassed, speak up right away.
  • Checklist for managers:
    • Promptly respond to complaints
    • Work with HR to conduct full and fair investigations
    • Perform workplace inspections/audits
    • Prepare clear, complete documentation
    • Take reasonable measures to resolve problems
    • Apply appropriate discipline, if necessary

Harassment and Discrimination in the News

This section provides content on current harassment and discrimination in the news, as well as, the remedies provided to the impacted parties.

The Associated Press: 1-17-17 (Discrimination- EEO)

The Department of Homeland Security and the Secret Service have agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging racial discrimination in promotion practices by the agency that protects the president. More than 100 black Secret Service agents alleged in the 2000 lawsuit that they were routinely passed over for promotions in favor of less-qualified white agents. Homeland Security Secretary Johnson says in a statement released Tuesday night that he is "pleased that we are able to finally put this chapter of Secret Service history behind us." The Secret Service says that while it "denies any and all liability or damages ... the agreement is a means of resolving this almost 2-decades-old matter."

 

 

The Washington Post is reporting that the agency has agreed to pay $24 million to the plaintiffs.

When Employee Harassment Goes Online- (Unacceptable Use of the Internet, Online Harassment)

In a case filed in California, a plaintiff sued for harassment based on disability after his co-workers made repeated harassing and derogatory comments about his physical disability on a blog. The blog was created by a co-worker. When the employer learned about the blog, its investigation determined that several employees were accessing the blog from the employer’s computers using generic login passwords and identifiable names. The employer blocked access through the use of generic passwords, but employees could still access the blog using specific login names. The court noted that while the employer was able to completely block access to the website, it did not do so until two months after it learned of the blog.

 

 

At trial, the jury found for the plaintiff and awarded over $800,000 in damages. After the trial, the employer argued that the court should not have admitted the blog posts as evidence because the blog was separate from the workplace, and was non-workplace activity that was not dictated or authorized by the employer. The court rejected this argument based on evidence showing that employees had accessed the blog from the workplace, that the postings referred to the plaintiff, and that the postings discussed work-related issues. The court stated that an employer can be liable for actions of nonsupervisory employees if it was or should have been aware of those actions and failed to take remedial action. The court concluded that the employer was liable for failing to take prompt corrective action.

1-3-17: Illinois Costco Sexual Harassment Case (Hostile work environment, Responsibility of management, No reasonable steps to create a workplace free of harassment for this employee)

Costco failed prevent a male customer from sexually harassing and stalking a Costco female employee for more than a year. Although the employee reported the customer’s conduct to Costco management, and the customer himself repeatedly reported his ongoing contact with the employee to Costco, the store took no effective action to prevent the harassment. As a result, the employee was forced to obtain a restraining order against the customer. 

A federal jury has awarded $250,000 in compensatory damages to the former employee.

This section will provide company leaders with an opportunity to identify workplace harassment and discrimination.  A series of scenario questions, will provide managers with further practice in regards to their response to these items in the workplace.

Workplace Harassment Scenario 1

Workplace Harassment Scenario 2

Reporting Non-Compliance of Federal and State Laws

Reporting Non-Compliance

  • If you believe that your employer is not complying with State or Federal laws, it is important to speak up.  We encourage you to file a complaint internally with Human Resources or your manager to allow the employer to address the matter at hand.
  • The following agencies may also assist:
    • Discrimination in Employment
      • EEOC - Washington, DC 20507 - (800)669-4000
      • Iowa Civil Rights Commission - Des Moines, Iowa - (515)281-4121
    • Family Medical Leave Act
      • Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor
      • Des Moines District Office, Des Moines, Iowa - (515) 284-4625
    • Fair Labor Standards Act
      • Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor - (866)487-9243
  • Federal law protects employees from retaliation when employees complain either internally or to an outside body like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) about workplace discrimination or harassment. This is true even if the claim turns out to be unfounded, as long as it was made in good faith.
    • If you suspect your employer is retaliating against you, first talk to your manager or human resources.  If needed, contact the EEOC or Iowa's fair employment agency.