Quirky Questions

Real Life Employment Law

Supreme Court decides Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc., 575 U.S. ___ (2015)

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The Supreme Court of the United States recently issued its decision in Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc.  Vacating and remanding the Fourth Circuit’s decision, the Court concluded that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”) “requires courts to consider the extent to which an employer’s policy treats pregnant workers less favorably than it treats nonpregnant workers similar in their ability or inability to work” and that there was a genuine dispute regarding “whether UPS provided more favorable treatment to at least some employees whose situation cannot reasonably be distinguished from Young’s.”  Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc., 575 U.S. ___ (2015).

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Quirky Question #257, Food for thought – whistleblowing claims against agricultural companies

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Question:

My company manufactures food products and is thus regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Last month, we terminated an employee because of his chronic poor performance. I just learned that the day before he was terminated, the employee told his supervisor that he believed our company was not complying with the FDA’s nutrition label requirements. Are we at risk that he will bring a whistleblower claim?

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Quirky Question #256, Mandating vaccines for employees?

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Question

Between the flu and the current measles outbreak, we are considering imposing a requirement on each of our employees to get a flu vaccine each year and either get the MMR vaccine or provide proof that they have received it in the past.  We’re concerned not just about employee productivity, but also the health of all of our employees and our customers.  Are there any legal issues we need to worry about?

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Quirky Question #254, Foreign currency fluctuations and expat employees

Question:

I am an HR manager working for a US company that sends employees on long term assignment abroad.   One of our senior assignees recently rang me to say how worried he is about Greek politics and the potential effect on the Euro.   He wanted to know what I was going to do about it.   I was a bit puzzled at first as, obviously, I can’t sort out a European currency crisis, but it turns out that what he is really worried about is his own pay.  His salary is set in Euro, and he is worried about how he will pay his US dollar mortgage and his mother’s US care home bills if the Euro falls.  I reassured him that we would look at his salary again if that happened (which didn’t really satisfy him).  Later, I began to worry about what would happen if I promised a pay raise and then the value of the Euro rose against the dollar again.   What can we do to make things more secure for our employees working overseas without taking on too much business risk? Answer→

Quirky Question #253, Private arbitrations becoming not-so-private?

Question:

I read with interest the answer to Quirky Question #248 about mandatory arbitration. You mentioned one of the benefits of arbitration being that is more private than a dispute in court, which is certainly a consideration for our company as we determine whether to implement this type of policy. Is that really the case, given the recent legislation I’ve heard about in California requiring arbitration companies to make public everything they do? Answer→

A New Question Every Week

Nearly every day, executives and managers, and the in-house counsel and Human Resources professionals who work with them, are confronted with unanticipated questions regarding the workforce. Just when they think they have "seen it all," along comes a new and often stranger scenario involving an odd twist to an area they thought they fully understood. These individuals often find themselves back at square one when trying to construct an appropriate response and devise a creative solution to the problem presented. Sometimes these "Quirky Questions" can be resolved easily; other times, they implicate practical and legal issues that are not immediately apparent. This Quirky Questions blog addresses these unanticipated employment questions.

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