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Erik Eisenmann is a business lawyer and partner at Husch Blackwell who represents employers in all aspects of labor and employment law, from counseling to litigation. He frequently defends clients throughout the country that are under investigation by, or have received citations from, OSHA and MSHA.

The Division of Advice (the “Division”) of the National Labor Relations Board (the “NLRB”) recently released an advice memorandum examining the lawfulness of various key provisions – including non-solicitation, non-disclosure, and return of property provisions – contained in an employer’s standard employment agreement. The Division’s approach in this particular case serves as a helpful guide for how the agency will likely assess other similar agreements in the future. Continue Reading National Labor Relations Board Weighs in on Common Employment Agreement Provisions

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard, there has been in increase in litigation challenging employers’ Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policies and practices. In one recent example, however, a conversative panel of judges in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected an argument that a mandatory diversity training constituted unlawful discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.Continue Reading 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Affirms that Mandatory Diversity Training does not Constitute Unlawful Discrimination

In the complex tapestry of workplace dynamics, there exists an often unspoken advantage known as the beauty premium or “pretty privilege.” This phenomenon refers to the societal bias toward individuals who are perceived as conventionally attractive. Over twenty years of scholarly articles show an unconscious preference to interact with people we may find attractive, even in the employment context during the hiring process and throughout employment. While it may seem superficial, pretty privilege can significantly impact one’s career trajectory, opportunities, and overall experience in the professional world.Continue Reading Pretty-Privilege: The Ugly Truth About Appearance Discrimination

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers must provide overtime pay to employees at one and one-half times an employee’s regular pay rate for every hour the employee works beyond 40 hours in a workweek, unless the employee falls within a specified exemption. Under current U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) regulations, exempt employees include executive, administrative, professional, and computer employees who perform certain duties, and earn at least $684 per week ($35,568 annually). Highly compensated employees who perform office or nonmanual work and are paid a total annual compensation of $107,432 are also exempt.Continue Reading The DOL’s New Proposed Rule Increasing Salary Basis: What it Means for Employers

Democrats and Republicans within the House Committee on Education and the Workforce have recently expressed bipartisan interest in raising or eliminating the statutory caps on damages for claims brought under Title VII and the ADA. While the plan is still in its very early stages, any revisions to statutory damages caps would have significant implications for employers.Continue Reading Congress Considers Raising or Eliminating the Statutory Caps on Damages for Claims Brought Under Title VII and the ADA

In our ever-evolving world, fostering cultural sensitivity is paramount for minimizing legal risks and creating inclusive, respectful work environments. Language plays a crucial role in shaping our perceptions, and unfortunately, some words used in everyday conversation may perpetuate stereotypes and contribute to cultural insensitivity. As employers gear up for the new year, they should consider abandoning the following words and phrases. Encouraging their employees to do the same will help create more inclusive work environments and mitigate the risk of discrimination claims brought by members of their workforce.Continue Reading Cultivating Cultural Sensitivity in the Workplace: Words to Leave Behind in 2024

On the heels of the United States Supreme Court’s decision limiting affirmative action in college admissions, we have seen an increase in workers who do not belong to historically underrepresented demographic groups filing lawsuits challenging their employers’ diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs.[1] As a result, some businesses may wonder: Are our DEI efforts worth the legal risk? For most businesses, the consensus answer appears to be “yes.”Continue Reading Still “Business as Usual”: Recent Challenges to Company DEI Efforts

When “Gymtimidation” Turns Into Discrimination

The issues of acceptance and comfort in fitness centers can pose serious challenges for owners. A healthy gym environment can empower all individuals, regardless of age, gender, ability, and race. However, if managed by inadequately trained staff or run without oversight, a gym can become a divisive place that breeds anxiety and fear. The phenomenon of “gymtimidation” is a popular topic among fitness center owners and gym enthusiasts alike. A 2022 study of roughly 3,000 individuals revealed that 90% of gym-goers are concerned about others’ opinions and 42% of gym-goers experience appearance-based anxiety while at the gym. Notably, Gen-Z gym-goers are the most affected by “gymtimidation,” with 38% of that demographic identifying “fear of judgment” as a reason for disliking gyms.Continue Reading Employment Discrimination in Fitness Centers: How Employers Can Combat Harassment and Create an Inclusive Environment for Employees and Patrons

The Supreme Court’s recent decision on affirmative action in the SFFA v. Harvard/UNC cases has raised lots of questions for private employers. Specifically, private employers want to know what impact – if any – does the Court’s decision have on DEI programs? The short answer is not much, if any.Continue Reading Understanding the Supreme Court’s Affirmative Action Decision: What it Means for Private Employers’ DEI Programs