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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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04 Apr 2017 Putting the Matter to Rest: California Court Rules Commission-Pay Employees Must Be Compensated Separately for Rest Breaks

  Delivering a stiff blow to a California retail furniture company employing commission-pay employees, the California Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently ruled that employees paid on a commission or piece-rate basis must be paid separately for their rest breaks. The decision in Vaquero v. Stoneledge Furniture, LLC, followed the filing of a class action suit by two commission-based sales associates at Stoneledge Furniture LLC, a retail furniture company doing business in California as Ashley Furniture HomeStores.   The plaintiffs, Vaquero and Schaefer,…

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29 Mar 2017 Liability Waiver in Pre-Employment Disclosure Form is Unlawful, Says Ninth Circuit

  In Syed v. M-I, LLC, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently held that a prospective employer violated the disclosure requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by including a liability waiver in a job applicant’s pre-employment form. The provision of the FCRA at issue – 15 U.S.C. § 1681b(b)(2)(A) – requires prospective employers to disclose “in a document that consists solely of that disclosure” that they may obtain a job applicant’s consumer report as part of the employment application…

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10 Mar 2017 Supreme Court Nominee Gorsuch Receives ABA’s Highest Rating

  On Thursday evening, March 9, the American Bar Association (ABA) released its much-anticipated evaluation of Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch to the Senate Judiciary Committee.  After a thorough and detailed review of the candidate’s temperament, integrity, and overall competence, all 14 members of the ABA’s Standing Committee unanimously rated Gorsuch – currently a judge on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals – as being “well-qualified,” the highest rating possible.   Getting a seal of approval from the ABA, which is often viewed as aligning…

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08 Mar 2017 Transgender Bathroom Case Sent Back to Lower Courts by Supreme Court

  On March 6, 2017, the Supreme Court canceled scheduled arguments in a case involving the bathroom rights of transgender students in public schools. The Court sent the case back to the 4th Circuit to reconsider the issue in light of the Department of Justice and Department of Education rescinding Obama-era guidance clarifying protections for transgender students.   The case, Gloucestor County School Board v. G.G., involved a transgender high school student seeking to use the boys’ restrooms at his high school. The plaintiff –…

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03 Mar 2017 By the Numbers: Women in the Workforce

  In honor of Women’s History Month, the U.S. Department of Labor posted some thought-provoking statistics about working women.  While employers already know women play an important role in the U.S. job market, these figures demonstrate just how significant female workers are in our economy.  Below are some of the fascinating numbers about working women:   Nearly half of the U.S. workforce is comprised of women, with more than 74.6 million women employed in civilian jobs Almost 10 million women are business owners and account…

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01 Mar 2017 Call-In Procedures and Intermittent FMLA

  Intermittent FMLA leave and attendance issues: an employer’s nightmare. There are so many different rules that employers must follow, inquiries that can and cannot be made, and potentials for employee abuse.   Imagine this scenario: An employee is approved for intermittent FMLA leave to care for a sick child. The employer informs the employee about its process for administering this leave, which includes calling both the organization’s attendance line at least 30 minutes prior to missing work. Despite being informed of this process, the…

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17 Feb 2017 New Nominee, New Path to Confirmation – Acosta Draws Initial Support From Management and Labor

  In sharp contrast to his predecessor, new Labor Secretary nominee Alexander Acosta has received initial support from both management and labor. Management views Acosta’s private sector experience combined with his political views as reason to believe that he will adopt a more management-friendly stance. Labor is looking to Acosta’s past government service as a sign that he will enforce labor laws. In a statement yesterday, Acosta said, “I thank the president and his staff for their confidence in me and I am eager to…

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30 Jan 2017 Trump Administration Quick Hitters: Acting EEOC Chair Named, Chief of Staff Requests Regulation Freeze, and DOJ Requests Delay in Fifth Circuit Appeal of OT Rule

  It’s only been a week, but the Trump administration has already been busy making its presence felt in the world of labor and employment.   New EEOC Acting Chief   On Wednesday, President Trump appointed current EEOC Commissioner Victoria Lipnic, a Republican, as the Acting Chair of the Commission.  Originally appointed to the Commission by former President Barack Obama in 2010, her term is set to expire in 2020. Lipnic had previously served in a high-level position in the Department of Labor during the…

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14 Dec 2016 A U.S. Supreme Court ADA Showdown Is A-Brewin’: Eleventh Circuit Contradicts Seventh Circuit Regarding Non-Competitive Mandatory Reassignments

  This past week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (encompassing Florida, Georgia, and Alabama) reignited an old-fashioned statutory interpretation duel. Ok, it’s not as exciting as the Earps vs. the Clantons at the O.K. Corral, but it certainly has more far-reaching ramifications for employers and employees alike.   The issue: whether, when an employee with a disability cannot perform the essential functions of his or her current job, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires mandatory reassignment of minimally qualified individuals…

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12 Dec 2016 Litigation Battle Over Minneapolis Sick Leave Ordinance

  As explained in an earlier blog, Minneapolis passed a controversial paid sick leave ordinance in the spring. The ordinance affects all private employers with one or more employees working at least 80 hours in a calendar year in Minneapolis – which equates to 1.5 hours per week.   In response, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce commenced litigation in Hennepin County District Court, seeking injunctive relief to halt the ordinance, which is to become effective July 1, 2017. On Dec. 8, the court did not…

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