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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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28 Feb 2018 U.S. Supreme Court to Take Up Independent Contractor Arbitration Case

  Our sister labor and employment blog, Labor Relations, recently posted about an important case on the horizon for those in the transportation industry. This week, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal of New Prime, Inc., a transportation company that is asking the Court to overrule the First Circuit and find that an independent contractor’s class action claim should be compelled to arbitration.   Employers who rely on arbitration agreements with their employees and independent contractors will want to pay attention as the…

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20 Dec 2017 Employment Visas: Changes to Expect in 2018

  Change is afoot. The Trump administration has moved full steam ahead on immigration proposals focused on, among other things, increased scrutiny of employment visas. The proposed changes were announced in a semi-unified agenda and comes at the heels of Trump’s “Buy American and Hire American” Executive Order, which was rolled out earlier this year. If implemented, these changes will affect thousands of immigrants, and may make it more difficult to obtain work authorization for certain categories of employees.   This agenda does not by…

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05 Dec 2017 Part 4: Sex, Power, and the Workplace – When to Tell the Customer They’re Wrong

  We all know the old adage: the customer always comes first. But, what about a predatory, harassing customer? Not so much.   Sexual misconduct has been ablaze in the news, and doesn’t seem to show any sign of halting. Alaska Airlines was recently pulled into the fray when Randi Zuckerberg, sister of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, accused the airline of failing to do anything about a fellow passenger’s sexual misconduct against her. The Alaska Airlines incident underscores the reputational dangers for companies that turn…

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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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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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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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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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11 Sep 2017 Employment Authorization Issues Related to DACA Rescission

  Alert Overview: On Sept. 5, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security began an “orderly wind down” of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA, and a related program, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), were created by executive order of President Barack Obama in 2012. As the result of a lawsuit brought by several states against the DAPA program, DAPA was rescinded after courts determined that legal and constitutional problems existed with the program.   In June 2017, several states informed the U.S. Attorney…

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21 Aug 2017 Don’t Get Caught in the Weeds: Hiring Issues and Medical Marijuana

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 29 states have “comprehensive public medical marijuana and cannabis programs” and 16 states have more limited programs that allow for the use of “low THC, high cannabidiol” products for certain medical reasons. This legalization of medical marijuana has created challenges for employers and their hiring practices when many companies desire to have a zero-tolerance policy on drugs and alcohol in the workplace, especially for safety-sensitive positions.   The courts also have weighed in regarding employers’ decisions not…

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07 Jul 2017 Firing an Employee? Avoid Litigation by Carefully Reviewing the Issues

Many times before proceeding with a termination, an employer will call on its counsel and explain the rationale for the decision to avoid potential legal issues if it should follow through on firing an employee. As labor and employment attorneys, this is what we would call “best practices”: Having a third-party neutral review the decision for the termination, play devil’s advocate, and determine if there may be some other reason for the decision that could lead to a claim of discrimination or retaliation.   Other…

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