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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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28 Aug 2015 California Strikes Again! Senate ‘OKs’ Bill Limiting Employment Arbitration

  This week the California State Senate passed a measure that would block most employers from forcing workers to agree to arbitrate labor disputes instead of filing claims with state agencies or courts.  The senate approved the measure, AB-465—which is sponsored by the California Labor Federation and has drawn fierce opposition from the California Chamber of Commerce. Following AB-465’s passage, the senate ordered the bill to the assembly. The bill would add a new provision to the Labor Code to prohibit any person from:  …

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13 Aug 2015 Employees May Soon Have Something To Lose In FLSA Lawsuits

The deck in Fair Labor Standards Act lawsuits has long been stacked against employers. Even if the employer wins at trial, its legal fees and costs will likely be hefty – six figures or more. And if the employer loses, it may have to pay double – or even triple – the plaintiffs’ actual damages and the plaintiffs’ costs and fees, on top of its own costs and fees.  It can feel like employees have nothing to lose and like employers are destined to “lose”…

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31 Jul 2015 Challenge to NLRB “Ambush Election Rules” Fails

Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has granted summary judgment in favor of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in a highly-publicized action brought by the Chamber of Commerce and a District of Columbia construction company challenging the unprecedented representation case procedures adopted by a split NLRB in 2014. Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, et. al. v. National Labor Relations Board, Civil Action No. 15-0009 (July 29, 2015). Commonly known in media reports…

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21 Jul 2015 UPS’ Employment Policies Come Under Scrutiny, Again

Last week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a class action lawsuit against the United Parcel Service (UPS), claiming that the company had repeatedly failed to accommodate certain religious beliefs. Specifically, the complaint alleges that since 2004, UPS has refused to hire or promote certain individuals whose religious practices conflicted with the company’s dress code. Under UPS’ dress policy, male employees who either have a supervisory position or who have customer contact are not allowed wear beards or grow their hair below their collars….

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01 Jul 2015 More Hope for Employers Who Have Ever Felt Bullied by the EEOC

In past entries in this blog, we have noted how multiple courts have been critical of the EEOC for failing to engage in good faith settlement negotiations with employers. These cases provide some solace for employers who feel as if the EEOC takes unreasonable settlement positions simply because it has nothing to lose if settlement negotiations breakdown and litigation ensues. A recent case from a federal court in the Southern District of Ohio is the most recent case in this line.   In EEOC v….

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19 Jun 2015 Do Not Seek DNA Information From Employees…

Do not seek DNA information from employees … even for non-discriminatory purposes. That seems to be the lesson learned from a recent federal court decision in Georgia.  A food distribution company in Atlanta, Atlas Logistics, requested several employees to submit to cheek swab genetic tests when human feces deposits were repeatedly discovered in one of its warehouses. Although the offender(s) were not identified by the genetic tests, a forklift operator and a deliveryman who submitted to the testing later sued under the federal Genetic Information…

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17 Jun 2015 Medical Marijuana Users Get Smoked by High Court of Colorado

Becoming the first state to decide the much-anticipated issue, the Colorado Supreme Court unanimously held that a statute barring the termination of workers for engaging in lawful activities outside of work does not prevent employers from firing an employee for failing a drug test, despite having a state license to smoke marijuana for medical purposes. The reason: smoking marijuana is still unlawful under federal law. The case, Coats v. Dish Network, can be found here.   The plaintiff – a quadriplegic customer service representative for…

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17 Jun 2015 EEOC Targets Minnesota Company For Alleged Transgender Discrimination

Through its 2012 Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP), the EEOC had made it a top priority to target employer-discriminatory conduct directed at “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.” In accordance with the SEP, the commission last week filed a lawsuit against Deluxe Financial Services, a Minnesota-based printing and financial services company. The EEOC alleges that Deluxe discriminated against Britney Austin, a longtime employee who recently began presenting as a woman. According to the complaint, Deluxe would not allow Ms. Austin to use the women’s restroom and…

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12 Jun 2015 Recent Case Illustrates How Types of Associational Discrimination Claims Can Play Out in Litigation

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects applicants and employees from discrimination based on their relationship or association with an individual who has a disabling condition. Generally speaking, there are three types of associational discrimination claims:   Expense discrimination: Employer fears that association with disabled person will be costly to the employer. Disability by association: A relationship with a disabled person means employee may also be disabled. Distraction: A relationship with a disabled person will prevent the employee from completing job responsibilities.   A recent…

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11 Jun 2015 Los Angeles Passes Minimum Wage Hike to $15 per Hour

  Yesterday, the Los Angeles City Council approved a minimum wage hike to $15 an hour, becoming the latest large city to increase pay.  In a 12-1 vote, the city council passed the second reading of a proposal that would make Los Angeles the largest city in the U.S. to adopt the higher minimum wage.  Los Angeles follows in the footsteps of such cities as San Francisco and Seattle. The hourly rate would more than double the current federal rate of $7.25 per hour.  …

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