As we prepare to bring to an end 2011, I want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, and a Happy and Healthy New Year. 2012 will continue to bring many changes in the employment arena, including the following:
Immigration Law: HB 56. A reminder that any business that has contracts with the State of Alabama must begin using E-Verify effective January 1, 2012. All employers are required to use E-Verify on or before April 1, 2012. At this time, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has scheduled argument on the appeal of Judge Blackburns' orders enjoining parts of HB56. In light of the Supreme Court's decision to accept an appeal of Arizona's law, Alabama has asked the 11th Circuit to stay the appeal, while the Plaintiffs, including the Department of Justice, have asked to go forward. I will continue to post on my blog as the case winds it way through the courts.
NLRB. A reminder that the NLRB is requiring a new poster to be posted in the workplace effective January 31, 2012. I summarized the poster requirements in a prior blog entry.
11th Circuit issues 2 new discrimination decisions. In August, 2010, I posted an entry entitled "The Case that Never Ends". Tyson was sued by Mr. Hithon, a black employee, alleging that the use of the word "boy" by his supervisor constituted racial harassment. The court previously held in favor of Tyson. Just last week, the 11th Circuit revisited this case, and reversed the prior decision, awarding Hithon $364,000. Interestingly, as the Republican Presidential primary season officially starts, one of the issues being discussed is judicial activism. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the prior decision had been condemned by 11 civil rights pioneers, who had filed a brief with the court linking the use of the word "boy" to slavery. The court found that the use of the word "boy" in and of itself was not discrimination, but the facts surrounding the use of the word "boy" in this case was sufficient to find in favor of Mr. Hithon.
The 11th Circuit also issued a decision 2 weeks ago, in the case of Glenn v. Brumby, addressing harassment of an individual diagnosed with gender identity disorder. Mr. Glenn was born a biological male, and subsequently diagnoses with gender identity disorder. He/she began working for the Georgia General Assembly's Office in 2005 as a male, but in the fall of 2007 advised his/her supervisor that he/she was undergoing a gender transformation and would be coming to work as a female. Glenn was subsequently discharged, and filed a claim alleging sex discrimination and discrimination based on her medical condition. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the employee on the sex discrimination claim, and in favor of the employer on the medical condition claim. On appeal, the 11th Circuit reversed the summary judgment in favor of the employer, and found that all persons, whether transgender or not, are protected from gender based discrimination by government agents, and that discriminating against someone on the basis of gender non-conformity constitutes sex based discrimination. It should be noted that the supervisor testified that "he fired Glenn because he considered it inappropriate for her to appear at work dressed as a woman and that he found it unsettling and unnatural that Glenn would appear wearing women's clothing."
Theft by Employees. 2 articles caught my attention today concerning theft by employees. This continues to be a problem for all employers. First, Al.com reports that Walter Skrobak, the former head security guard at the McCalla OfficeMax Powermax Facility, pleaded guilty to stealing over $600,000 of computer software. Between October 2008 and November 2010, he stole at least 1,600 units of computer software and sold them, via Pay Pal, to a party residing out of state for nearly $400,000.
In New York, 3 employees stole almost $58,000 of lingerie from a Victoria's Secret Store. An internal investigation reveals that the thefts occurred over the last 6 months. Incredibly, one of those arrested stated that "My heart dropped when I saw that figure on the Internet...They exaggerated a lot, trust me. They must have charged like full price for everything, and doubled the sales tax". He admits that he only pocketed $800 during the 6 month crime spree.