Most business owners are aware that if their business is public-facing they need to provide access for the physically disabled under the Americans with Disabilities Act. By definition, Title III under the ADA provides that individuals cannot be discriminated against on the basis of disability, “in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations of any place of accommodation by any person who owns, leases, leases to or operates a place of public accommodation.” While classically this includes what we would typically think of as public-facing businesses, such as movie theaters, restaurants, bowling alleys, and hospitals, it does also include private businesses, like doctors’ offices, accounting firms, and even non-profits.
With the federal government's budget set to run out on April 28, a government shutdown is looming. As a federal contractor, a shutdown can have a variety of negative effects on your business and employees, whether employees are locked out of their job sites or federal funding dries up. In this Verrill Voices podcast, attorney Joanna Bowers discusses how federal contractors should prepare and steps they can take once a shutdown goes into effect.
Earlier this week, bill HB5591, which has been touted as legislation that will help to close the gender pay gap between Connecticut employees, cleared the House of Representatives with a vote of 139-9. The bill, unlike the Massachusetts law that goes into effect next year, does not include a provision that would prevent employers from asking applicants about their salary history before making a job offer.
Many other states across the country, however, have bills similar to that passed by Massachusetts pending, including in Maine, which would restrict employers’ abilities to request information concerning previous rates of pay. Prior to this legislation moving forward, Lee Hansen in the Connecticut Office of Legislative Research published a comparison of Massachusetts and Connecticut’s labor laws relative to gender wage discrimination in a Research Report on December 16, 2016.
We use the term “always connected” to describe the fact that the technology at our fingertips can connect us quickly to others across the room, across the state, or across the world. But when employers say we expect you to always be connected, do you expect that to mean microchipped? Many of us would quickly respond with “absolutely not”. But the CEO of Epicenter in Sweden may disagree. Epicenter has embedded a chip into approximately 150 workers. The chips are approximately the size of a grain of rice and function to open doors, operate printers, and buy products and services with a wave of the hand (where the chips are implanted).
Earlier this week, the Seventh Circuit in an en banc (all member of the court participating as opposed to only three) decision held that Title VII’s ban on sex discrimination encompasses discrimination based on sexual orientation. The 8-3 ruling represents the first federal court of appeals ruling to find that Title VII covers sexual orientation bias.
While many state statutes prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, Courts across the country diverge on whether sexual orientation is protected under Title VII. This decision (Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana) overruled previous Seventh Circuit precedent and makes it much more likely that the Supreme Court will grant review to determine whether Title VII prohibits sexual orientation bias. Judge Diane P. Wood authored the opinion and noted that the ruling needed to be “understood against the backdrop” of Supreme Court decisions that had discussed sexual orientation including the 2015 decision recognizing a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.
From wristwatches that can take pictures to retinal scanners to fitness trackers, wearable devices are becoming increasingly popular in everyday life, including at work. A study found that employees using wearable technology reported an 8.5% increase in productivity and a 3.5% increase in job satisfaction. Although wearable devices can have many benefits, they can also present many challenges for HR professionals. Beth Smith and Ben Ford discuss how to maximize the benefits of wearable technology in the workplace, as well as how to implement policies that can protect employers, and their employees, with HR Power Hour’s host David Ciullo.