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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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20 Oct 2017 Batten Down the Hatches, an ‘ICE’ Storm Is About to Blow In…

  Authored by: Michael Palmer, Jeff Papa, Mariana Richmond and Mercedes Badia-Tavas   It’s official! Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will extend its immigration actions in the workplace.   Since the 2016 election, we have talked with employers about the effect the Trump administration’s policy on immigration could have in the workplace. In fact, the Barnes & Thornburg Immigration and Global Mobility Practice Group has trained hundreds of employers this year on the importance of addressing this risk.   On Oct. 17, the acting director…

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16 Oct 2017 The Government Seal on EEOC Anti-Harassment Training: Is It Worth It?

  Does putting the U.S. government seal on workplace training make it more or less appealing? The EEOC’s recent announcement that it is offering workplace training modules on Respect in the Workplace has colleagues on the employment and human resources circuit asking each other, “At its core, is this a really a good idea for us?”   After all, there appear to be some immediate advantages: Pre-packaged. The EEOC is offering turn-key, ready-to-deliver training for employees. Let’s face it, who has enough time to develop and…

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13 Oct 2017 Attention Illinois Employers: 3 Handbook Policies to Revisit Now

  If you haven’t reviewed your attendance, sick leave, or pregnancy-related policies in a while, the time is right to ensure you stay up to date and prevent potential pitfalls.   Parental leave and pregnancy accommodation policies may need updates   Recent lawsuits, such as the one that the EEOC filed against Estee Lauder, claim companies’ parental leave policies violate sex discrimination laws if they provide male employees with less bonding leave upon the birth of a child than female employees receive. This serves as…

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06 Oct 2017 R-E-S-P-E-C-T in the Workplace? The EEOC Becomes Trainer-in-Chief

  The EEOC announced this week that it is launching training programs to help employers foster respectful, inclusive work environments.   The EEOC Training Institute is offering to send trainers into your workplace and lead separate modules for supervisors and employees. Supervisor training titled “Leading for Respect” is a four-hour program; the one for all employees, “Respect in the Workplace,” is a three-hour program.   This week’s announcement culminates a long inquiry into workplace harassment. In January 2015, the EEOC formed the Select Task Force…

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03 Oct 2017 Will Ohio Pass a Law to Protect LGBTQ Rights?

  There has been widespread activity in the U.S. Courts of Appeals in 2017 regarding whether Title VII includes sexual orientation as one of its protected classes, but the answer is still unresolved on a national level. In an effort to provide protections where federal law does not necessarily do so, 20 states and the District of Columbia have banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment settings. However, Ohio is not one of those 20 states, and past efforts to amend Ohio’s…

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30 Sep 2017 Ohio ‘Reverse’ Racial Discrimination Ruling Reinforces Employers’ Advantage in Constructive Discharge Cases

  Our clients are typically employers, but this decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (the appellate court for Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee) on Sept. 28 illustrates one piece of advice we would give an aggrieved employee if asked: Don’t quit! (We’re not changing sides, by the way.)   Steve Fletcher, a white registered nurse, sued his employer alleging racial discrimination, and his story has many hallmarks of discrimination cases we see every day:   A new supervisor who, it…

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29 Sep 2017 The Gradual But Decided Shift to a Much More Complex World of Employment Law

  On Oct. 4, my colleagues (and fellow Currents bloggers) Jeanine Gozdecki and Doug Oldham will be presenting a program focused on increasing complexity in the employment law arena. Employment law accelerated in the 1960s when Title VII of the Civil Rights Act was passed, as well as many similar state discrimination laws. At that time, things seemed pretty cut and dried – treat people equally to avoid liability. Many factors have made the world of employment law far more complicated since then:   The number of protected…

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29 Sep 2017 California Bill Placing Restrictions on Employer Immigration Worksite Raids Awaits Governor’s Signature

  In the midst of increased immigrant arrests in California, the California Senate recently confirmed the passage of the Immigration Worker Protection Act, or AB 450, which, if signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, will place various immigration worksite inspection restrictions on California employers.   As discussed in this post, the bill prohibits California employers from allowing immigration agents to enter a workplace or view their employee’s employment records without a warrant. The bill also requires employers who provide immigration officials with employee records to notify…

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28 Sep 2017 Survey Says: Employers Generally Settled, Favoring Traditional Vacation Over PTO

  From time to time, we report on surveys conducted by our friends at Employers Resource Association. This month’s survey focuses on how employers provide paid time off (PTO) to employees. The results here are straightforward:   A strong preference to offer traditional vacation (61 percent of respondents) over PTO (39 percent) Only 13 percent of respondents indicated they are considering a change, so it seems that this preference is stable A fairly even distribution among different answers for the smallest amount of leave an employee…

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26 Sep 2017 Seventh Circuit Declares ‘The ADA is an Antidiscrimination Statute, Not a Medical Leave Entitlement’

  On September 20, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit clarified a question that many employers struggle with: Is an employee entitled to additional long-term leave under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) after Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave expires? According to the Seventh Circuit, that answer is no when the leave requested spans multiple months.   In Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc., Raymond Severson took a 12-week medical leave under the FMLA to deal with serious back pain. On…

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