Week In Review

February 29, 2016

DOL Proposed Rule Implements Paid Sick Leave Requirements for Federal Contractors
On February 25, the Department of Labor (DOL) published its proposed regulations implementing Executive Order 13706, which requires federal contractors (and subcontractors, including lower-tier subcontracts) to offer their employees up to seven days of paid sick leave each year, including paid leave allowing for family care. Employees of federal contractors and subcontractors will earn a minimum of one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked.
The proposed rule would also provide that a covered contractor may not limit annual paid sick leave accrual at less than 56 hours. Accrued sick leave would carry over from one accrual year to the next. Workers would be able to use the paid sick leave to care for themselves or a family member, or for absences resulting from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

Restaurant Franchisee to Pay $450K to End Allegations of Sexual Harassment by Managers
A franchisee of the restaurant chain, Cheddar’s Casual Café (Cheddar’s), has agreed to pay $450,000 to 15 individuals and for permitting two managers at a Memphis restaurant to subject female employees to sexual harassment. Cheddar's violated Title VII by maintaining a hostile work environment at its restaurant in Memphis by permitting sexual conversations and jokes and allowing a general manager and bar manager to subject several female employees to sexual harassment. Cheddar's managers made requests for sexual favors and explicit sexual comments, and subjected female employees to unwelcome touching. Even though Cheddar’s received complaints from female employees, the restaurant failed to respond to those complaints in a prompt and appropriate manner.

No New Trial In EEOC Case After Finding Of Failure To Accommodate Anti-Christ Fears
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) brought a religious discrimination suit on behalf of an employee against his coal mining employer. The EEOC alleged that employer refused to provide the employee a religious accommodation by subjecting him to a biometric hand scanner for purposes of clocking in and out of work. Specifically, the employee believed the hand scanner was used to identify and collect personal information that would be used by the Christian Anti-Christ, as described in the New Testament Book of Revelation, to identify followers with the “mark of the beast.” After the jury returned a verdict in favor of the EEOC, and awarded the employee $150,000 in compensatory damages and over $436,000 in front pay and back pay damages, employer filed a renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law, a motion for a new trial, and a motion to amend the Court’s findings and conclusions. A federal court reviewing the decision denied all three of employer’s motions.

Employers should take an open-minded and thorough approach when assessing any and all religious accommodation requests in order to avoid potentially costly EEOC litigation.

SESCO recommends that clients review all applicable policy and practices to ensure compliance. For assistance, contact us at 423-764-4127 or by email at sesco@sescomgt.com