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Supreme Court Rules on Abercrombie Religious Discrimination Case

On June 1, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Abercrombie & Fitch in a high-profile religious discrimination case. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Muslim woman who was denied employment with Abercrombie due to wearing a headscarf, or hijab, in violation of the company’s “look policy.”
The Supreme Court held that to prove a violation of federal law, an applicant must only show that the need for a religious accommodation was a motivating factor in the employer’s decision. Whether the employer had actual knowledge of the need for an accommodation is irrelevant. An employer may not make an applicant’s religious practice—confirmed or otherwise—a factor in employment decisions. (more…)

Filed under: HR,Recent Headlines — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 11:37 pm July 22, 2015

The Effect of E-cigarettes on Health

E-cigarettes have become increasingly popular in recent years. While many adult smokers switch to e-cigarettes in an attempt to quit tobacco, teenagers are the largest and fastest growing population for e-cigarette use. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products reported that e-cigarette use among teens tripled in 2014.

While e-cigarettes are commonly believed to be a safer alternative to regular cigarettes, very little is known about their effect on the body. Research has found that e-cigarette vapors produce particles containing harmful chemicals. These chemicals can harm lung tissue and worsen acute respiratory diseases such as asthma and bronchitis. Consider limiting your use of e-cigarettes until further research has been conducted.

Filed under: Health & Wellness — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 11:33 pm

Spear Phishing – How to Protect Yourself from a Hacker Disguised as a Colleague or Friend

“Phishing”, a type of cyber attack in which a hacker disguises him- or herself as a trusted source online in order to acquire sensitive information, is a common and technologically simple scam that can put your employees and business at risk. However, more resourceful criminals are resorting to a modified and more sophisticated technique called “spear phishing,” in which they use personal information to pose as colleagues or other sources specific to individuals or businesses.

A spear phishing attack is often disguised as a message from a close friend or business partner and is more convincing than a normal phishing attempt; when messages contain personal information, they are much more difficult to identify as malicious.

For businesses, the potential risk of spear phishing is monumental. A report released by the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) stated that there were over 120,000 cyber crime-related complaints against businesses last year, resulting in over $800 million lost. A large majority of these attacks can be attributed to spear phishing, since the messages are designed and customized to make victims feel safe and secure. (more…)

Filed under: Cyber Liability — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 11:26 pm

Employees Can Be Fired for Off-duty Marijuana Use

A medical marijuana card is not a defense against an employer’s anti-drug policy, according to a ruling from the Colorado Supreme Court.

The case involved Brandon Coats, a quadriplegic man who used medical marijuana to treat muscle spasms while off duty from his job at Dish Network. When he violated the company’s drug policy by testing positive for marijuana—as he informed his employer he would—Coats was fired. He sued Dish, citing a Colorado statute that protects employees’ rights to engage in legal activities while off duty without fear of reprisal from their employers. (more…)

Filed under: Property & Casualty,Recent Headlines,Safety — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 11:04 pm