an update for the week of february 7, 2005
today's workplace: the employee rights blog
Flash in the Pan, or Threatening Trend: Workplace Smoking Restrictions: If you follow employment trends, you've probably seen more than one story in the past two weeks about Weyco, an Okemos, Michigan company that recently adopted a no-smoking policy so strict that employees who refused to quit smoking and/or submit to a smoking test were fired after the policy went into effect January 1. For Weyco, the coverage may constitute its 15 minutes of fame, but for the rest of us, it has also been an opportunity to educate the public about how limited employment protections really are, and how intrusive employers may try to be.
this week in the courts
Hill v. Rent-a-Center, Inc.  (Eleventh Circuit; No. 03-15608)
Decision Date: February 4, 2005
In an employment race discrimination claim, plaintiff is not within a class of workers within the transportation industry, and therefore is not exempt from the mandatory arbitration provisions of the Federal Arbitration Act.
Chavez v. State of New Mexico  (Tenth Circuit; No. 02-2224)
Decision Date: February 3, 2005
In an employment discrimination suit, summary judgment in favor of defendants on plaintiffs' sexual harassment claim is reversed where there is a material issue of fact as to whether plaintiffs faced gender-based harassment severe and pervasive enough to alter the conditions of their employment.
Decision Date: January 28, 2005
An arbitration award in which an arbitrator cites language in his decision that cannot be found in the relevant collective bargaining agreement should be upheld where such a mistake does not fatally taint the balance of the arbitrator's decision.
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