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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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10 May 2016 55-Year-Old Employee Fails to Establish Age Discrimination Claim against 3D Printing Company

Last week, a Minnesota Federal District Court granted summary judgment in favor of a New Mexico company accused of age discrimination. Optomec, Inc., is a New Mexico-based corporation that develops and manufactures 3D printing systems. While Optomec is headquartered in Albuquerque, it has also has a facility in St. Paul, Minnesota.   In 2013, Thomas Nash, who was 53-years-old at the time, began working for Optomec as a paid intern in the company’s St. Paul location. During his internship, Nash received average to “tepid” reviews….

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31 Mar 2016 University of Iowa Wins Trial Against Immigration Lawyer Claiming Age Discrimination

  A unanimous jury recently determined that the University of Iowa’s (UI) decision not to hire a 55-year-old man did not amount to age discrimination. In 2010, Donald Dobkin applied for a teaching position at UI’s College of Law. When Mr. Dobkin was not chosen for the position, he brought a lawsuit, claiming he was passed over because of his age. He also asserted that UI hired a less experienced person for the job because she was younger. Following a full trial, a jury returned…

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09 Mar 2016 EEOC Continues Visible Stance on Sexual Orientation Discrimination Protection

  As predicted by many, 2016 will likely be a year the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will continue its push for the expansion of the rights afforded pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.   This month, the EEOC filed its first two lawsuits accusing employers of gender bias for discriminating against employees on the basis of sexual orientation. Specifically, both cases allege employee harassment on the basis of sexual orientation, in addition to retaliation. There are many local and…

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16 Feb 2016 Refusal to Exempt Employee from “Mark of the Beast” Hand Scanner Proves Damning for Company

  This week the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) scored a victory on behalf of a man who claimed that his former employer failed to accommodate his religious beliefs. Beverly Butcher, an Evangelical Christian who had worked at a mine operated by Consolidation Coal Co. for 35 years, feared that a biometric hand scanner used to clock employees in and out of work was really a mechanism that affixed upon its users the “Mark of the Beast,” as described in the Biblical Revelations. Butcher, who…

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05 Jan 2016 New Year, New Laws: Welcome to 2016 in California

  In true California fashion, new measures that took effect on Jan. 1 will benefit millions of workers while posing additional challenges for employers. Some are broad, while others have a narrower focus. Below is a round-up of the notable New Year’s laws:   Minimum Wage The state minimum wage increased to $10 perhour. The $10 rate is the highest minimum in the nation—don’t worry Californians, Massachusetts also adopted this rate. For some comparison, the federal minimum is $7.25 perhour. Keep in mind that with the…

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30 Dec 2015 CEO Personally Liable for Company’s Wage and Hour Violations

  As most companies are aware, running afoul of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) can prove extremely costly. What is likely less well-known, however, is that the company itself may not be the only one required to pay up.  As demonstrated by a recent case out of Pennsylvania, C-level executives may also be on the hook personally for a company’s FLSA violations.   In Perez v. American Future Systems, Inc., a federal district court granted the U.S. Department of Labor’s motion for summary judgment…

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09 Dec 2015 EMPLOYERS: The #ElderlyChristmasSongs Hashtag Is Trending On Twitter

We have posted numerous blogs discussing the need for employers to stay on top of what is trending on the Internet. Why? Because trending topics can sometimes lead to controversial discussions that might not be consistent with an employer’s EEO Policy. As a result, we explained that it would be prudent to understand what may be the current topic being discussed around the watercooler.   Here is a follow up to those posts. The #ElderlyChirstmasSongs hashtag is currently trending on Twitter. What is the relevance…

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30 Nov 2015 Do You Even Lift, Bro? How A Case Of Seemingly Innocent Workplace Bullying Can Blindside Your Company With A Title VII Lawsuit

  Is there anything wrong with a group of employees teasing a male co-worker because he doesn’t like sports? Well, the answer is obvious: of course. Employees should always treat co-workers with respect. But is this conduct unlawful? The answer to this question may surprise you.   Let’s kick off this blog post by discussing two recent federal court cases that shed light on this issue. First up is Woods v. Boh Brothers. In this case, Kerry Woods was employed by Boh Brothers as welder….

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25 Nov 2015 New Year, New Laws: Expanding California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act

  Effective as of Jan. 1, 2016, an employee’s request for an accommodation for a disability or for religious reasons will be considered to be “protected activity” for a retaliation claim under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) – further muddying the employment waters in California.   Assembly Bill 987, which was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on July 16, amends the language of the FEHA to prohibit an employer from retaliating or otherwise discriminating against a person for requesting accommodation of…

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24 Nov 2015 The Viral Spiral: How An Employee’s Facebook Post Dragged Her Employer Into A Social Media Controversy

  Instances of deplorable racism have sparked recent protests on the University of Missouri’s campus. Not surprisingly, these protests have received a significant amount of media attention. On Nov. 13, 2015, however, the world’s attention shifted to the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris. We have since been inundated with 24-hour news coverage on developments related to the war on terror.   Following the Paris attacks, the Washington Times released a story explaining how University of Missouri protestors had taken to Twitter to express disappointment with…

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