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An Employer's Guide to Avoiding Tattoo Nightmares
By: Sarah Stula

Perhaps your parents warned you as a teenager that if you got a tattoo, you would never get a good job. But millennials have turned this adage on its head.

Tattoos are no longer taboo. Nearly half of millennials have at least one tattoo, and the workforce is becoming more inked than ever before. As the popularity of tattoos (and tattoo reality-TV shows) continues to grow, employers may wonder whether to permit the visible display of tattoos in the workplace. Here are some tattoo policy tips for both private and public employers.

Tips for Private Employers

If you are a private employer, you may generally adopt dress code policies that require employees to cover their tattoos at work if their display could harm the company’s public image or otherwise interfere with your business. But you should also take precautions to prevent discrimination claims that could arise from a tattoo-concealment policy. These precautions include: (1) stating a legitimate business reason for adopting the policy; (2) applying the dress code equally to all similarly situated employees; and (3) enforcing the dress code consistently.

Any tattoo-concealment policy should be compliant with local, state, and federal anti-discrimination laws, and employers should be careful that the policy does not disparately impact protected classes. For example, if only employees of a certain nationality or gender are disciplined for failing to cover their tattoos, then those employees might allege that the policy is pretext for illegal discrimination. The same would be true if an employer refused to hire      Continue Reading...

Don't Ask, Don't Tell? Good Reasons to Stop Asking About Salary History
By: Sarah Stula

Does your company ask about salary history during the application and hiring process? If so, you may want to re-think that approach.

Nationwide, women earn about 85% of men’s wages, and Kansas is no exception. In an effort to help reduce the gender pay bias, a growing number of states and cities have banned employers from inquiring about salary history during hiring. The rationale behind these bans is that, when salary offers are based on salary history, women who have been previously underpaid will continue to be underpaid. Thus, salary history inquiry bans aim to stop the cycle of underpaying women.

Salary history inquiry bans have been adopted from coast to coast—from California to New York City—and now, Kansas City, Missouri, has joined their ranks. Effective October 2019, the Kansas City ordinance generally prohibits an employer with six or more employees from engaging in certain hiring practices, including: (1) inquiring about a job applicant’s salary history; (2) searching public records to obtain salary history; (3) relying on salary history to make hiring decisions; and (4) retaliating against an applicant for failing to disclose salary history. These prohibitions do not apply to applicants for internal transfers or promotions with their current employer, and employers are permitted to discuss salary expectations with applicants.

If your company operates in Kansas City, Missouri, or other locations with salary history inquiry bans, you obviously need to update your hiring procedures accordingly, or risk liability and penalties down the road.

But even if an employer is not subject to a state      Continue Reading...


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Don Berner, the Labor Law, OSHA, & Immigration Law Guy
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Boyd Byers, the General Employment Law Guy
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Jason Lacey, the Employee Benefits Guy
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