Follow Us
twittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube
Subscribe to the BT Currents Blog

By signing up, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Recent Posts
The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
0 0

22 Jan 2014 Supreme Court to Examine First Amendment Retaliation Claim

Last Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review a First Amendment retaliation claim brought by a public employee against his former employer following his termination after testifying against a state legislator. In Lane v. Central Alabama Community College, Steve Franks, Dr., the petitioner, Edward Lane, previously worked as the Director of the Central Alabama Community College’s Community Intensive Training for Youth Program (“Program”).  Shortly after joining as the Director, Lane audited the Program’s finances and discovered then-Alabama state representative, Suzanne Schmitz, was listed on…

READ MORE
0 0

21 Jan 2014 Contractors Await Ruling On Legal Challenge to OFCCP’s New Disability Regulations

As federal contractors prepare to comply with new “Section 503” disability regulations adopted by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), the enforceability of those regulations has come under a significant legal challenge. Although those regulations are set to take effect in March 2014, a legal challenge to the enforceability of those regulations – which now has the support of the HR Policy Association – may delay that deadline for all contractors. On Sept. 24, 2013, the OFCCP published its new regulations in the…

READ MORE
0 0

16 Jan 2014 Play it Safe: Always Remember to Consider Potential Disability-Related Accommodations For Workplace Restrictions

A recent lawsuit filed by a former professor underscores the importance of taking time to explore potential accommodations for disability-related workplace restrictions – even in situations where it may be the last thing on an employer’s mind. The Plaintiff filed suit against his employer alleging that the institution failed to accommodate his depression and Asperger’s syndrome when he was barred from campus after losing his temper with students and staff. According to his judicial complaint, problems began after he chastised maintenance workers for not rearranging…

READ MORE
0 0

09 Jan 2014 Against the Anchorman: California Court of Appeal Deems Hiring Young, Female Weather Anchors a Protected Exercise of Free Speech

In a recent opinion, a California Court of Appeal held that a television broadcasting company’s decisions to hire young, female weather anchors constituted free speech in connection with a matter of public interest and was thus protected by California’s anti-Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (“anti-SLAPP”) statute.  Like anti-SLAPP statutes in other states, California’s anti-SLAPP statute was enacted to stop lawsuits brought to chill the valid exercise of the constitutional rights of freedom of speech and petition for the redress of grievances. In Hunter v. CBS Broadcasting,…

READ MORE
0 0

09 Jan 2014 Happy New Year: Minnesota’s “Ban the Box” Law Now In Effect

As of January 1, 2014, Minnesota employers are required to comply with “Ban-the-Box” legislation that Governor Mark Dayton signed into law last year. The law prohibits many employers from asking job applicants about criminal backgrounds prior to selection for an interview, or until after making a conditional job offer. The law now applies to private employers, and aligns such pre-employment restrictions with those placed upon public employers in 2009. “Ban-the-Box” refers to the criminal history question commonly including on most job applications that asks an…

READ MORE
0 0

02 Jan 2014 The Dangers of Employees Taking A “Working Lunch”

An Employer’s liability may turn out to be more than anticipated when employees work through their meal breaks. The Department of Labor’s FLSA regulations say that “meal breaks” of 30 minutes or longer ordinarily may be unpaid. By contrast, “rest periods” of 20 minutes or less must be paid. “What happens,” a wary human resources manager might ask, “if my company allows its employees to take breaks that are longer than 20 minutes and less than 30 minutes?”  And, if the company’s timekeeping system automatically…

READ MORE
0 0

31 Dec 2013 Cruising into 2014: New Year, New Driving Laws in Illinois

Two new Illinois laws may impact employers with employees who drive as part of their job duties. Effective Jan. 1, 2014, Illinois drivers can speed up as long as they put their phones down. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will commence changing speed limit signs on designated Illinois Interstates, which will increase the limit from 65 mph to 70 mph. At the same time, use of all hand-held mobile devices will be prohibited. Changing the speed limit signs is estimated to take two weeks….

READ MORE
0 0

31 Dec 2013 EEOC Measures its Performance in FY 2013

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released its Performance and Accountability Report (PAR) for Fiscal year 2013. The report summarizes the agency’s activity and assessment of its financial performance from October 2012 through September 2013. It reveals some interesting details about the agency’s work this past year. Highlights from the EEOC’s report include the following: 1. The agency received a total of 93,272 private sector charges of discrimination, a 6,000 charge decrease from the prior three fiscal years. 2. 97,252 charges were resolved, nearly…

READ MORE
0 0

18 Dec 2013 Criminal Background Checks Remain on EEOC’s Radar

Although not an official opinion or interpretation, the EEOC just released discussion letters giving another peak behind the curtain as to the agency’s stance on criminal background discrimination. Answering the letter of an incarcerated veteran who anticipated having a tough time finding employment upon his release, the EEOC, through its Assistant Legal Counsel, reiterated that “[e]xcluding people from employment due to criminal records may raise issues under Title VII, especially if it disproportionately harms people of a particular race or national origin.” While not banning the…

READ MORE
0 0

16 Dec 2013 Introduction of Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act

Late last week, Democratic lawmakers introduced the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act), which would create a national paid family and medical insurance leave program funded by both employee and employer contributions as well as eliminating eligibility requirements currently under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA allows an eligible employee to take up to 12 weeks of protected, unpaid leave to care for the birth or adoption of a child, the serious illness for an immediate family member, or the…

READ MORE