Virginia Employer Law

Title VII Liability for Racist Remarks of a Non Decisionmaker?

Posted on April 6, 2016

The Situation: Based on reports made by your supervisor about some performance problems of one of his subordinates, you fire him.  The terminated employee then claims that the supervisor made a number of racist statements to him.  Since the supervisor didn’t make the decision to fire the employee, can your company still face a claim under Title VII for discrimination?…

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How Far Can You Go With Medical Inquiry of a Prospective Employee?

Posted on March 30, 2016

The Situation: You have found a good candidate for an open position—the only thing between him and the job is a medical screening.  During the screening, you become aware that he had a back injury a few years ago and you are worried he can’t do the job, which is fairly physically demanding.  Can you require that he get an MRI to get more clarity on his condition?  And if he doesn’t get the MRI, can you take back the job offer?…

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Can You Take Back a Job Offer if He Becomes a She?

Posted on March 23, 2016

The Situation:  You are interviewing a number of candidates for a vacant position.  One particular candidate stands out and he seems like he will be the best fit.  After you offer him the job, he tells you that he is a transgender and will be presenting as a female by the time he begins to work. Can you rescind your job offer?…

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Did She Quit or was She Fired? In FMLA Context, Could Mean Liquidated Damages

Posted on March 16, 2016

The Situation: Your HR Director is under a lot of stress—both based on some personal issues and some issues between her and the CEO. According to the CEO, during a heated conversation, she quits. She claims she just told the CEO that she was thinking of quitting and that she was actually fired when she subsequently tried to request FMLA leave based on psychological distress. What sort of FMLA claims could you face?…

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Does Harassment Based on Sexual Orientation Count as Sex Discrimination?

Posted on March 9, 2016

The Situation: One of your supervisors has been making offensive comments to a gay employee about his sexual orientation fairly frequently.   The employee complains to you, but you don’t take it seriously and thus, don’t take any action.  The employee then quits.  Could you face a possible claim under Title VII?…

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Sick Leave for Federal Contractors—DOL’s Proposed Rule

Posted on March 2, 2016

The Situation: Your company does jobs for the federal government. You don’t currently provide employees with sick leave. Will you be required to change this practice?…

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Obesity = Impairment?

Posted on February 24, 2016

The Situation: You are hiring for a position that has some significant safety concerns. You offer the job to an applicant, contingent upon a successful medical screening. The screening ends up showing that the applicant is morbidly obese and you are concerned about the risks that could be associated with his performing the functions of the job. You decide not to hire him. Can he succeed on a claim of discrimination?…

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Can Automated Response to Online Employment Application Show Knowledge of Age?

Posted on February 17, 2016

The Situation: You have an online application process. When a candidate submits his job application online, he automatically receives an email telling him that his application has been submitted, that you will review his background to determine if his qualifications meet with posting requirements, and that you will contact him if it does. You don’t hire a particular applicant and he claims that it was because of his age-pointing to the automated email as evidence that you had knowledge of his age (which would have been obvious based upon the information in his resume). Is this enough to assert a claim under the ADEA?…

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Damages for Failure to Hire Even After Felony Drug Arrest?

Posted on February 10, 2016

The Situation: You decide not to hire a job applicant based upon a determination that he is medically unqualified for the job. He then files a charge with the EEOC, claiming that you have discriminated against him based on his actual and perceived disability. About six months later, the applicant is arrested and charged with possession and intent to distribute a controlled substance. Does this arrest (which would have likely prompted his termination had he been an employee) at least limit the damages available to him even if he could succeed on his claim?…

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Can Medical Marijuana User be Fired for Positive Drug Test?

Posted on February 3, 2016

The Situation: As part of your post-hiring process, you make new employees undergo a drug test. One such employee tests positive for marijuana—but explains that he is using marijuana medicinally at the recommendation of his doctor. Your policy states that you will terminate any new employee who does not provide a clean drug screen. Can you terminate him?…

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