Category Archives: Rights

Telling An Employee They Are Eligible For FMLA Leave May Mean They Are Eligible… Even If They Aren’t

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides 12 weeks of unpaid leaves to employees who meet a set of eligibility standards.  These standards can be somewhat complex and, even though the FMLA has been around for over 20 years, employers still get make mistakes when determining eligibility.  The question then arises, what if your employer tells you that you are covered but then fires you when they later determine you are not actually eligible?  This exactly the scenario that arose in a recent federal appeals court decision.  See Tilley v. Kalamazoo County Road Commission, 777 F.3d 303 (6th Cir. 2015) (hat tip to the Employer Law Report for bringing this case to my attention).  Hit the jump for all the details… Continue reading

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Filed under Family Medical Leave Act, Rights, Uncategorized

Sexual Orientation May Already Be Covered by Discrimination Statutes… Maybe

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently ruled that discrimination based on sexual orientation is illegal based on existing anti-discrimination statutes, and no new legislation is needed to ban sexual orientation discrimination.  This could add one more protection for lesbian, gay, and bisexual people (due to a quirk in the law, transgender people were already mostly protected from discrimination) especially with the major victory in the recent Supreme Court same-sex marriage decision Obergefell v. Hodges.  Unfortunately, there is reason to believe that these protections may not actually last for long.  Hit the jump for all the details… Continue reading

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Filed under Discrimination, Rights

U.S. Supreme Court Limits Employer Liability for Discrimination

In two cases over the summer, the U.S. Supreme Court clarified some important aspects of discrimination law. Unfortunately, in both cases they decided in favor of the employer, creating new limitations on when an employee can successfully sue for discrimination. These cases are guaranteed to have impacts for all employees so we will summarize them each below.  Hit the jump for all the details… Continue reading

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Filed under Discrimination, Rights

New Resources on Pregnancy and Lactation Rights

Pregnancy and Lactation PRresentation

Missouri NEA has developed two new resources that explain the legal rights of individuals related to pregnancy and lactation.  For those who just want a basic FAQ, there is a basic explanation designed so that anyone should be able to understand what rights they have (soon to appear on the Legal Q&A page of and available here).

For individuals who prefer a more interactive explanation, they can use this automated Prezi that includes a full voice-over presentation on pregnancy and lactation rights.  The entire presentation only takes about 7 minutes and addresses not only rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act, but also the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and Family Medical Leave Act.  Either way you choose, Missouri NEA makes it easy to learn about your legal rights!

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Filed under Family Medical Leave Act, Resources, Rights

Justifying an Increased Minimum Wage

Fortunately, many of the clients that I work with do not have to worry about making a living on only minimum wage (the state of public education isn’t quite that bad! [yet]).  However, it is clearly a major issue for many workers in the United States.  If the recent fast food strikes are any indication, the minimum-wage employee is waking up to the hardships created by a wage that has actually been decreasing (when adjusted for inflation) for the last 45 years.  Opponents of an increased minimum wage often claim that raising the wage would lead to unemployment and would unfairly help teenagers who are just beginning to work (even though nearly 50% of minimum wage earners are older than 25).

A recent scholarly article posted online analyzes these claims and finds that there are good reasons for wanting to raise the minimum wage.  See Justice at Work: Minimum Wage Laws and Social Equality by Brishen Rogers of the Temple University School of Law.  What is perhaps most interesting about this article is that it accepts, for purposes of argument, the claims of the opponents to an increased minimum wage and still finds important social reasons for increasing the minimum wage.  In particular, the author focuses on how the minimum wage works to advance “social equality” a societal good that goes beyond mere fiscal matters.

The entire article is interesting and would be well worth a read to anyone thinking about wage, employment, or social justice issues.

Hat tip to the Workplace Prof Blog for bringing this article to my attention (they are also a great resource for keeping up on upcoming scholarship).

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DOMA’s Dead, What Does that Mean for Missouri??

When the Supreme Court struck down the material portions of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), there was nationwide coverage of the, clearly historic, changes being made.  However, while it is easy to understand the substance of the Court’s decision, it’s impact is not as clear.  This is particularly true in the state of Missouri, where we have a definition of marriage, as between one man and one woman, enshrined in our state’s constitution.  In order to understand all the potential ramifications, we’ll start off by looking at the DOMA case itself, U.S. v. Windsor, discuss what it will (and won’t) mean for Missourians, take a look at what might be coming up next in same-sex marriage litigation, and talk about some practical steps that all Missourians in same-sex relationships should think about.

Hit the jump for all the ‘ding-dong the constitutionally unsound federal definition of marital couples is dead’ details… Continue reading

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Filed under Discrimination, Rights