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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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31 Aug 2016 EEOC: Drug Testing Policies Must Allow for Reasonable Accommodation

  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently filed suit against a car dealership alleging that its drug testing policy did not contain exceptions for qualified persons with disabilities. The lawsuit, EEOC v. Bell Leasing, Inc., Civil Action No. 2:16-cv-02848, was filed on August 25, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. The EEOC alleges the employer made a job offer to an applicant contingent upon a successful drug test.  When the applicant tested positive for a prohibited substance, the employer rescinded…

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30 Aug 2016 North Carolina Court Blocks ‘Bathroom Bill’ at UNC

  As an update to our previous posts (here and here) about bathroom access rights for transgender individuals, there are new developments in the North Carolina “bathroom bill” debacle. On August 26, a North Carolina federal court blocked the University of North Carolina from applying the state’s controversial bathroom bill. The bill requires transgender people to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their sex at birth rather than the gender with which they identify.   In a lengthy order filed in the U.S….

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29 Aug 2016 Seventh Circuit Discards Well-Worn Standard for Discrimination Cases Does this Herald the End of the Golden Age of Summary Judgment for Employers?

  Late last week, the often employer-friendly Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals tossed out the basis upon which discrimination claims have been analyzed for almost a generation. The decision, Ortiz v. Werner Enterprises (Case No. 15-2574), foreshadows dramatic and huge repercussions for employers in Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin.   Background on Direct and Indirect Tests   For more than 20 years, courts in the Seventh Circuit have recognized two avenues of proving discrimination: the direct and indirect methods. Before last week, a plaintiff-employee in the…

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25 Aug 2016 Ray of Hope Peeks Through a Mound of Proposed EEOC Data Requirements: Senators Fight to Nix EEOC Plan

  The way things are going at the EEOC, the next time it requires additional information on the annual EEO-1 report, it will want to know what kind of underwear each employee wears broken down by race, sex and national origin. OK, that’s an exaggeration, but many employers probably wouldn’t be surprised.   In January, the EEOC proposed a rule requiring larger employers to report pay and hours worked data, in addition to standard demographic data. The new information is intended to give government agencies…

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23 Aug 2016 Bathroom Chronicles: Texas Judge Stops Government From Imposing Transgender Student Guidelines on Schools

  While many of us watched the conclusion of the Rio Olympics this weekend, a federal judge in Texas was issuing a nationwide injunction – stopping the federal government from enforcing guidelines for the country’s public schools regarding the accessibility of bathrooms for transgender students.   On Aug. 22, 2016, Judge Reed O’Connor of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued a 38-page decision in response to a petition from 13 states and two school districts that collectively disputed the government’s…

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19 Aug 2016 More Flu Vaccine News: EEOC Once Again Alleges Hospital’s Mandatory Flu Vaccine Policy Violates Title VII

  For years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been silent over whether a hospital’s mandatory flu vaccine program violates Title VII’s prohibition against religious discrimination. The courts also generally have been silent (or have not reached decision) on the issue, with the notable exception of Robinson v. Children’s Hospital Boston, issued by the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts earlier this year, which found that the hospital’s mandatory flu vaccine program did not violate Title VII, which was reported here.  …

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15 Aug 2016 Fifth Circuit Triples Down on the Legality of Class Action Waivers in Arbitration Agreements

  On August 10, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals – for the third time – rejected the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) position that class action waivers in arbitration agreements are invalid under the National Labor Relations Act. In a short opinion, the Circuit said it was bound by its two previous published opinions directly addressing this issue and ruling that such waivers are valid pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act.    The ruling last Wednesday was the first time the Fifth Circuit has…

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12 Aug 2016 Seventh Circuit Addresses EEOC’s Stance that Sexual Orientation is Protected by Title VII

  In a recent opinion, the Seventh Circuit held that a plaintiff who claimed she was discriminated against on the basis of her sexual orientation had failed to state a claim under Title VII, reaffirming the Seventh Circuit’s stance that sexual orientation is not a protected classification. However, Judge Rovner’s opinion presents a more nuanced opinion than the Court has taken on the issue in the past, acknowledging logical difficulties in the state of the law.   The plaintiff was a former community college employee…

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04 Aug 2016 Five Lessons from Fox News on Sexual Harassment

  The recent accusations of sexual harassment against Roger Ailes at Fox News, and the response of a high-profile candidate for public office about how women should respond to sexual harassment have crystallized into an opportunity to learn from the mistakes of others.   Since the mid-1980s, we’ve all read about sexual harassment and been trained on it. For the last 25 years, I’ve studied it, investigated it, seen it, taught about it, warned about it, developed policies to guard against it, and defended companies…

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equal pay equality in rigths for man and women
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03 Aug 2016 Massachusetts Mandates Pay Equity

  Earlier this week, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law “An Act to Establish Pay Equity,” which will go into effect July 1, 2018, and mandates:   No employer shall discriminate in any way on the basis of gender in the payment of wages, or pay any person in its employ a salary or wage rate less than the rates paid to its employees of a different gender for comparable work; provided, however, that variations in wages shall not be prohibited if based upon:…

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