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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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14 Nov 2017 Ohio House Considers Bill to Protect Businesses from Architectural Barrier Lawsuits

  The Ohio House is considering a bill that would protect employers and business owners from unexpected lawsuits by disabled plaintiffs. House Bill 271 would create Section 4112.16 to the Ohio Revised Code’s Civil Rights Commission chapter and would require a person with a disability who encounters a potential architectural barrier to put the property owner on notice of the alleged barrier before filing suit. The theory behind the bill is that property owners could remove the architectural barrier without the cost or inconvenience of…

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10 Nov 2017 Final Rule Issued on HIRE Vets Medallion Program

  As Veteran’s Day fast approaches, on Nov. 9, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued the Final Rule implementing the Honor Investments in Recruiting and Hiring (HIRE) American Military Veterans Act (HIRE Vets Act), which President Trump signed on May 5, 2017.   The Rule establishes a HIRE Vets Medallion Program, which will recognize qualifying companies with a HIRE Vets Medallion Award for their commitment to recruit, employ and retain American military service veterans. The Program will be implemented in 2019.   Under the…

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07 Nov 2017 (Informal) Survey Says: Most Employers Not Waiting for Courts to Decide Whether Title VII Covers Sexual Orientation

  As we have discussed here and here at Currents, one of the hotly contested employment litigation issues of our decade is whether Title VII’s prohibition on discrimination “because of sex” prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Sex discrimination was an afterthought when Title VII was passed in 1964, added late in the Congressional process (reportedly added by opponents who thought it would cause Title VII to fail), and it is unquestioned that Congress was not thinking about sexual orientation at the time. Since that…

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03 Nov 2017 EEOC Complaint Inquiries Now a Click Away With New Public Portal

  The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced on Nov. 1 its new online portal available for individuals to submit discrimination and retaliation inquiries. Previously, prospective complainants either called a toll-free number or contacted a field office.   Individuals can subsequently use the public portal to digitally sign and file a charge of discrimination the EEOC has prepared for them.   An individual can use the portal to upload documents, agree to mediation, receive messages and schedule appointments, and check on the status of…

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31 Oct 2017 Attention, Class: Seventh Circuit Finds Preferred Teaching Methods Not Protected Activity Under ADA and Section 504

  A former special education teacher, who claimed to have engaged in a protected activity when she defended her teaching methods following a negative performance evaluation, could not show that the school district discriminated against her when it terminated her. Finding no evidence of discrimination, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the school in Frakes v. Peoria School District No. 150.   After receiving an “unsatisfactory” rating based on several deficiencies,…

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30 Oct 2017 OSHA Developments – More Good News for Employers

  As I mentioned in May, there have been a number of positive regulatory or enforcement developments for employers, including (1) the repeal of the Volks rule, which would have changed the statute of limitations for OSHA recordkeeping violations from six months to more than five years, and (2) the rescinding of the memo establishing union walk-around inspection rights even in a non-union setting.   Electronic Recordkeeping   The good news for employers continues with developments related to the electronic recordkeeping rule and the associated…

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26 Oct 2017 Will the DOL Rescind the Tip Pool Rule?

  On Oct. 24, the Office of Management and Budget announced that it has received a proposal from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to rescind its 2011 rule on tip pooling. The 2011 rule prevents employers from requiring tipped employees, who are paid less than minimum wage, to share their tips with traditionally non-tipped workers. The DOL has not released its proposal publicly, but its regulatory agenda for 2017 indicates that it wants to “rescind the current restrictions on tip pooling by employers that…

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24 Oct 2017 California Moves Outside the Box, Imposes New Criminal Background Check Prohibitions

  “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” Countless employees have encountered this check-the-box question on employment applications. Over the years, however, several states have introduced “ban the box” laws to restrict the use of such questions and impose barriers to pre-employment screening processes. Expanding upon that activity, California Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1008, which amends the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and imposes new restrictions on employers’ criminal background screening processes. The new law takes effect on…

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24 Oct 2017 Dawn of a New ICE Age: Are You Ready for Immigration & Customs Enforcement?

  Last week, in a speech at the conservative think tank, The Heritage Foundation, the Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that his agency is aggressively stepping up worksite enforcement on two major fronts. His announcement raises the question: is your company ready?   ICE Acting Director Tom Homan told attendees that the Homeland Security Investigations agency will increase – by four to five times – the worksite enforcement actions in the coming year. Quintupling the number of worksite enforcement actions certainly sounds…

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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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