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Different Promotion Standards For Women Risk Discrimination Claims

"Although Title VII was passed more than 50 years ago, women nationwide continue to be passed over for promotion because of their sex," says one EEOC regional attorney.

Passing over qualified candidates based merely on their sex violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits most gender-based discrimination. To avoid potential liability for sex discrimination, employers would be advised to adopt objective criteria for promotions that are used to evaluate every candidate.

CBS' Les Moonves Out After More Sexual Misconduct Claims Arise

During much of CEO Les Moonves' tenure at CBS Corp., CBS has been America's most popular broadcast network. Hits like "The Big Bang Theory" and "NCIS" helped make Moonves one of the industry's highest-paid and most powerful executives. He has now resigned from the network after a new round of allegations were brought against him by six women who worked with him in the past.

According to Reuters, Moonves had been expecting to receive about $100 million in severance. Now, CBS has announced that it will place Moonves' expected severance into a trust pending the outcome of an internal investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations. Moonves may end up with nothing if the investigation finds fault. The board will decide by Jan. 31, and its decision will be subject to binding arbitration.

Considering Demoting An Employee? Consider The Pros And Cons

According to a recent survey by the staffing firm OfficeTeam, 14 percent of American workers have experienced a demotion -- asked to assume a lower-level role with or without a pay cut. Slightly more than half (52 percent) of demoted employees will choose to leave the company, and there is the risk of disgruntlement and potential lawsuits.

In today's robust job market, however, some employers are using demotion as a way to retain otherwise sound workers who are underperforming in their current positions. Demoting an employee can be an efficient way to fill a position further down the corporate hierarchy with a trusted person who is familiar with how the company operates.

Could There Be A Pro-Disability Culture Change In Medicine?

"This profession historically has viewed themselves as able-bodied in the extreme," says a Harvard Medical School graduate who learned she had multiple sclerosis in medical school.

One day, she scrubbed in for a surgery and was flatly told by the surgeon that she had no business going into medicine. He said she lacked the field's most important quality -- 24/7 availability. Although the woman graduated medical school, she never became a practicing physician. This was before the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed, and she simply lacked the support to continue.

Virginia Task Force To Study Worker Misclassification

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam recently signed an Executive Order establishing a task force charged with examining payroll fraud and worker misclassifications, which is when employers classify workers as "independent contractors" when they are really "employees."

As reported by the Claims Journal, Gov. Northam has said, "Every employer in the Commonwealth should be playing by the same rules and this task force will come up with a comprehensive plan to make sure workers aren't missing out on the protections and benefits they would receive if properly classified."

Lawsuits To Test Whether Age-Based Recruitment Violates The ADEA

Can employers legally limit the ages of job prospects by recruiting only on college campuses? Can they cap the years of experience applicants are allowed to have? Can they set up social media recruitment campaigns that exclude older people? Or would taking active steps to minimize a job's visibility to workers over 40 violate the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)?

According to the EEOC, the ADEA does apply to job applicants and job advertisements. Specifically, these advertisements generally cannot specify an age limit unless that limit can be shown to be a bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the business -- which the agency describes as a rare circumstance. However, the ability to target job advertisements exclusively to younger people is part of a new frontier.

Proposed SEC Whistleblower Rule And Your Company's Compliance

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently proposed a change to how it rewards private citizens who blow the whistle on securities violations under the Dodd-Frank Act. Under the proposal, the commission would have the discretion to increase some whistleblower awards beyond the 30-percent statutory maximum, up to $2 million. It would pay for this by discretionarily reducing some of the larger awards.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, between the whistleblower program's inception in 2011 and 2017, the commission received 22,000 tips that led to enforcement actions. As a result, the SEC has recovered $1.4 billion. Fifty-five whistleblowers received a total of $266 million in awards. However, just four people received about $112 million of that total.

In Most Complaints, The Goal Is Ending The Sexual Harassment

Thatcher logo.jpgThe #MeToo movement has arguably brought down scores of men who have been credibly accused of sexual harassment or misconduct, along with colleagues and executives who had looked the other way in the past. That may give the impression that the goal of filing a sexual harassment complaint is to get the harasser fired. In many or even most cases, that is not true.

Consider Dinah Kirgo, an Emmy-winning writer and television producer who, along with five other women, has accused CBS chairman Les Moonves of sexual harassment and misconduct. She recently told NPR that her goal is not to destroy Moonves but to destroy the culture that allows sexual misconduct to continue.

Do Employees Have Workplace Speech Protections?

When we think about speech protections, we often think of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The First Amendment only prohibits governmental actors from abridging freedom of speech, so it doesn't apply to private actors such as non-government employers. (The First Amendment does apply to government employers.)

Certain employee speech is protected, however, even in the context of private-sector employment. A prime example is the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which guarantees most workers the right to engage in concerted activity to improve their wages or working conditions. Speech reasonably related to such activity is protected in both union and non-union workplaces.

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