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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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15 Mar 2013 Some Basic Advice as “March Madness” Begins

It’s mid-March. That – as any fan of college basketball knows – means that the NCAA basketball tournament and “March Madness” are about to begin. As a result, a case that was handed down by the U.S Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit yesterday is timely.  In Covington v. International Association of Approved Basketball Officials, No. 11-3096, 2013 WL 979067 (3d Cir. Mar. 14, 2013), a female referee alleged that the organization that supplies referees for high school basketball games in New Jersey’s Hamilton…

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06 Mar 2013 Seventh Circuit to Employers: Be specific, ambiguities in Rule 68 offers of judgment might cost you

The Seventh Circuit recently sent a very important message to employers making offers of judgment to plaintiffs: Be specific. The message was sent via Sanchez v. Prudential Pizza, Inc. et al., Case No. 12-2208. Leading to the Seventh Circuit’s decision, the Plaintiff had sued the Defendant-employer for sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In advance of trial, the Defendant made an offer of judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68, which permits a party defending a claim to…

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01 Mar 2013 Perception Is Reality

Every first year law student learns that if a shooter aims at person A and misses, but his bullet accidentally hits and kills person B, the shooter is still guilty of murder because his intent to kill transfers. Similarly, if an employer discriminates against an employee because it perceives that employee as disabled – even though the employee is not actually disabled – the Americans with Disabilities Act expressly provides that the employer is liable for discrimination. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of…

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28 Feb 2013 Same Sex Harassment Claim Against Straight Male Supervisor Cannot Be Dismissed, Says Second Circuit

  The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that a male employee’s claim for sex discrimination under Title VII against his male supervisor could go forward, reversing the district court’s ruling in favor of the employer.   According to the plaintiff, a certain supervisor at the food manufacturing company where he worked constantly made vulgar comments toward him and other male employees regarding fellatio and using homosexual slurs. In addition, the supervisor frequently grabbed or hit the male employees in their genitalia. There was no…

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27 Feb 2013 Court Upholds Random Alcohol Testing of New Coke Plant Employees

For the last couple of years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been targeting companies that have implemented random employee drug-testing for class-action lawsuits. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers are generally limited as to when they can administer medical examinations, including drug tests. The two main exceptions to this limitation are when the examination is job-related and consistent with business necessity (which remains, in the words of the court, “a nebulous concept”), and when confirmation is needed to support an accommodation…

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12 Feb 2013 Accommodating the Commute

Most employers are aware of their duty to engage in the interactive process in order to explore accommodations that will allow an employee to perform the essential functions of their position. But what if the employee’s requested accommodation relates solely to their commute to work? Does the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) require that an employer remove barriers that exist outside the workplace? In Regan v. Faurecia Automotive Seating, Inc., 679 F.3d 475 (6th Cir. May 10, 2012), the plaintiff suffered from narcolepsy. While working…

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01 Feb 2013 The FLSA Also Requires Employers To Provide Private Lactation Break Rooms

Most employers know that the Fair Labor Standards Act (the FLSA) requires them to pay a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Most employers know, too, that the FLSA requires them to pay overtime at one-and-a-half times an employee’s regular rate of pay. But many employers may not be aware that the FLSA, as amended by the Affordable Care Act, also requires that they provide break time and private spaces – other than bathrooms – for nursing mothers to express breast milk. The FLSA amendment…

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17 Jan 2013 Can Employees Take FMLA Leave for the Flu?

With a nationwide flu epidemic in full swing, employee absences have been spiking the last several weeks. Not surprisingly, both employees and employers have been asking whether the FMLA might cover those flu-related absences. As is often the case with the law, the answer is a resounding “maybe.” While most colds, and even the flu, do not rise to the level of seriousness required to be covered under the FMLA, at least two federal circuit courts (the 4th and 8th Circuits) have recently held that as long…

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16 Jan 2013 Mixed Motive Allegation Not Enough To Sustain “Regarded as” ADAAA Case

  When the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) became effective in 2009, it was clear proving a “disability” was going to be much easier for plaintiffs than it had been in the past.  Still, interpretive guidance on other aspects on the amended act – through regulation and court decisions – has been much slower to develop.  Although not controlling outside its jurisdiction, the Southern District of Indiana, in Nayak v. St. Vincent Hospital, recently shed light on the “regarded as” method of proving…

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15 Jan 2013 No Longer A Belieber

The former personal bodyguard of “teen icon” (as he is referred to in the complaint) Justin Bieber has filed suit against the celebrity for California wage and hour violations, among other charges. The bodyguard asserts he regularly worked 14-18 hours a day, seven says a week protecting the Biebs, but was wrongly classified as exempt and never received overtime pay. The bodyguard is also suing for unpaid wages and vacation pay.  The Complaint can be found here. In addition to the employment law aspect, Bieber’s…

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