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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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09 May 2016 Survey Says: Smoke-Free Campuses a Minority, But Employers Addressing E-Cigarettes

This month’s survey results from our friends at Employers’ Resource Association look at employer tobacco policies.  Here are some of the interesting results:   Only 28 percent of respondents have a smoke-free campus (Not included in the survey is how many companies won’t even hire smokers – undoubtedly a much smaller number) 86 percent prohibit smoking while driving a company-owned vehicle 70 percent address e-cigarettes in their policies and 61 percent prohibit smokeless tobacco   The complete infographic can be viewed here. Bill NolanWilliam A….

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01 Apr 2016 Survey Says: Telecommuting Increasingly Common But Somewhat Ad Hoc

  The latest survey infographic from our friends at the Employers Resource Association (ERA) looks at flexible work schedules and telecommuting among its largely Ohio-based membership. The survey indicates that telecommuting is very common, but fewer than 1 in 5 of respondents have a formal telecommuting policy. While a formal policy may not be necessary, it is usually advisable to have an individual agreement with telecommuting employees. Also, remember that telecommuting could be a reasonable accommodation for employees with a disability. Bill NolanWilliam A. Nolan…

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07 Mar 2016 Survey Says: Paternity Leave Significantly Lags Maternity Leave in Ohio (and other good information)

  Barnes & Thornburg’s Ohio office is a member of the Employers Resource Association (ERA). ERA has been doing a monthly survey of its member employers and publishing a nifty infographic of the results that they have allowed us to share with our readers. One recent infographic compares employers’ maternity and paternity leave policies, underscoring the marked difference.  Forty-two percent of companies reported offering a maternity leave policy, while only 15 percent had a paternity leave policy.  Likely, many of those companies not reporting a policy are…

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01 Mar 2016 How to Respond to a Subpoena Regarding One of Your Employees

  From time to time, an employer will be served with a subpoena for information relating to one of its employees. Most commonly, this is in the context of a domestic dispute in which the employee is involved. A subpoena imposes a legal obligation on the organization receiving it and it is important that it be treated accordingly. Failure to properly respond can result in fines or other sanctions for contempt of court.   Here are some basic steps to help your company respond to…

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29 Feb 2016 State Noncompete Statutes, Your Company, and the Economy: One Perspective

  We write a lot on Currents about noncompetes. Even if your company does not use them, you may find yourself hiring somebody who has signed one with a former employer, and as a Currents reader, you know that the rules about noncompetes vary widely from state to state and you need to have some awareness of how they vary before making decisions. For example, even if an Ohio noncompete specifies the application of Ohio law, if litigation is commenced in another state, the other state’s courts…

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15 Feb 2016 Massachusetts and the Impending Death of Noncompetes Part II: De Facto Enforcement of Noncompetes

  Last week I wrote about Massachusetts legislation to ban noncompetes. As I wrote, from our position of representing businesses, we do not have an inherent preference for or against noncompetes because there are business interests on either side of the issues (as the Massachusetts debate illustrates). Rather, our job is to guide clients through the changing and varied rules across the states about noncompetes.  However, I do feel that opponents of noncompetes often make statements about the prevalence of noncompetes, the decline of noncompetes,…

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08 Feb 2016 Groundhog Day: Declaring the Impending Death of Massachusetts Noncompetes

  For the last three years, we have reported on legislative efforts to ban noncompetes in Massachusetts. You can see each of those reports here. Thus far none of those efforts have been successful. Here again in 2016, legislative efforts to ban noncompetes promise to continue in Massachusetts, with one commentator declaring, “This is the year.”   Our job as business lawyers is to advise clients on how widely varying state laws affect their ability to use noncompetes, then they can make their business decisions…

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04 Jan 2016 Friend or Foe?: Terminated HR Director Can Bring Retaliation Case, Court Says

  Most readers are aware that an employee who complains – internally or externally – about wage/hour law violations, or virtually any violation of an employment law, has the statutory right not to have an adverse job action taken against him/her because he/she made that complaint. We have discussed such claims before in the Currents blog, including here. It is the protected class of “People Who Have Asserted Their Legal Rights,” and asserting retaliation claims has long been a growth area.   But what about an…

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19 Nov 2015 Pennsylvania Supreme Court “Considers” Noncompetes: Mere Continued Employment Not Enough

In what has been a remarkable run of state supreme court cases out of the heartland addressing the question of what consideration will be sufficient to support a noncompete, yesterday the Pennsylvania Supreme Court came down on the anti-enforcement side of this question, holding that any restriction on employment requires some additional benefit beyond continued employment. In other words, an employer cannot hand a noncompete to a long-term employee and have it be enforceable unless the employer provides some additional value to the employee. Pennsylvania…

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12 Oct 2015 Think Before You Shoot on Noncompete: Why The Threatening Letter May Not Be Your First Move

I recently wrote an article about the importance of thinking a few steps ahead before businesses have their lawyers send the proverbial nasty lawyer letter.  Those letters certainly have their place in many contexts, but the article explains why you should think through the possible responses to the letter and be sure before the letter goes in the mail that you are ready to deal with the consequences.   So it is when an employee departs and is believed to be working for a competitor…

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