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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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24 May 2018 Letter C: Co-Workers With Criminal Records? Your Workforce May Be More Open-Minded Than You Think

Letter C is coming at you with a double-punch: Are employees comfortable with their Co-workers having Criminal records?  At least one survey indicates that the answer is yes.   A recent survey commissioned in part by the Society for Human Resource Management finds that a majority of workers say they are willing to work with individuals with criminal records.  The survey aptly notes that, as unemployment continues to decrease, individuals with criminal records might serve as a previously overlooked labor pool.  The survey also found…

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18 May 2018 The $8 Million Burrito; Or How Not To Conduct Video Surveillance

Many employers install video surveillance to stop theft and provide helpful evidence to support their employment decisions.  From a legal standpoint, video surveillance generally is allowed if reasonable – monitoring the cash register is fine; installing a camera in a bathroom stall obviously is not.  In truth, the vast majority of what is surveilled is frankly, boring: the camera largely becomes a forgotten silent witness to the daily grind.  Hardly anyone ever watches what the camera records and no one would ever want to look…

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02 May 2018 California Supreme Court Ruling to Give More Workers Employee Status

On Monday, the California Supreme Court issued an opinion in Dynamex Operations West Inc. v. The Superior Court of Los Angeles County, which reversed nearly three decades of precedent by rejecting the longstanding Borello worker classification test. The opinion effectively expands the number of workers that will be deemed as employees for purposes of California wage orders, ultimately granting such workers benefits, minimum wage, and overtime compensation, as well as rest and meal breaks.   As a result of this decision, California employers will have…

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01 May 2018 More on Medical Marijuana – Will Ohio Protect Employers’ Zero-Tolerance Policies?

When I wrote my last post on medical marijuana, I stated that once Ohio’s new medical marijuana law goes into effect in September, employers will still have a right under state and federal law to enforce zero-tolerance policies regarding marijuana use. Since then, people have pointed out to me that employees in other states have found exceptions to these laws that protected marijuana use and have questioned whether such loopholes exist in Ohio’s new law. While no courts have yet ruled on any cases regarding…

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26 Apr 2018 When Is A Sexual Harassment Policy And Training Ineffective?

As we continue our series on sexual harassment cases, here’s a play-by-play of a recent First Circuit case, Aggannis v. T-Mobile, USA, Inc.   A customer service rep (CSR) complains to her manager that her team “coach” made a sexual comment about her outfit.  Score for the manager who reports this to HR! HR follows up, but CSR says it’s no longer an issue; she stopped wearing the outfit and doesn’t want anything done.  HR drops it.  Tough call – management has an obligation to…

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24 Apr 2018 Think You Missed The 2017 EEO-1 Survey Reporting Deadline? Think Again . . . . But Act Fast!

  Employers who feared they had missed the March 31, 2018 submission deadline for their 2017 EEO-1 report are in luck – the EEOC’s EEO-1 Survey website now reflects that it has granted employers a short extension to get those reports on file.  The new deadline of June 1, 2018, is just over a month away, however, so employers required to file should not delay in gathering the required information and getting the necessary report(s) on file.  Returning filers should also be aware that the…

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24 Apr 2018 B is for “Bias” – Is Bias The Not-So-New Cause of Discrimination?

  Starbucks made national news earlier this month when two black men were arrested after refusing to leave a store.  News accounts reported that a store manager called 911 after the men remained in the store and asked to use the restroom but had not yet made a purchase.  The fallout from this event was notable to say the least: protests, calls for boycotts, and even an apology from the CEO.  The incident further has sparked a discussion on implicit bias, especially after the national…

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23 Apr 2018 Philadelphia U. S. District Court Determines Uber Drivers Are Independent Contractors

  On the heels of a San Francisco U.S. Magistrate Judge’s February 2018 ruling in Lawson v. Grubhub Inc. that Grubhub food delivery workers are independent contractors, Judge Michael Baylson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has held that Uber limousine drivers are likewise independent contractors under federal law. This is the first ruling regarding the classification of Uber drivers under federal law and it is surely to have a large impact on the ride-sharing industry.   The Philadelphia case,…

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23 Apr 2018 Employers, You Can Do This

  Being an employer can be frustrating – the rules employers need to follow seem to only increase in variety and complexity, and some employees do the darnedest things.  But BT Currents readers should also realize:  There are a lot of things that can be done proactively to minimize employee issues.  I just wrote this short article trying to pump up employers who are feeling a little down in the dumps.  Employers really can handle the challenges before them, focusing on three things:   Plain…

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20 Apr 2018 En Banc Panel Rules in Favor For Administrator In Pay Disparity Case

The question before the panel was simple: can an employer justify a wage differential between male and female employees by relying on prior salary? Based on the text, history, and purpose of the Equal Pay Act, the panel held that prior salary – whether alone or in combination with other factors – may not justify a difference in pay between male and female workers doing the same job.   The opinion was written by Judge Stephen R. Reinhardt prior to his death in early April…

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