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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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24 Jun 2016 Minneapolis Employers Brace for Paid Sick Leave

At the end of May, the Minneapolis City Council passed a controversial ordinance that will require all employers with at least one employee working in the city of Minneapolis to provide sick leave. The ordinance will become effective on July 1, 2017.  Highlights of the ordinance include:   Eligibility:   – Eligible employees include any employee who works within the geographical boundaries of the City and works at least 80 hours in a year.  Eligible employees include full-time, part-time, and temporary employees so long as…

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22 Jun 2016 New Trend Alert – Websites Must be Accessible to the Blind to Comply with the ADA

A new trend seems to be emerging at the intersection of employment law, technology and e-commerce – companies getting sued for not making their websites compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).   In recent months, a spate of class action lawsuits have been filed against several online retailers, including H&M, Tory Burch, Hugo Boss and Urban Outfitters, for failing to design their websites so that they can be read by screen-reader software that allows websites to be understood by people who are blind…

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17 Jun 2016 EEOC Addresses Women’s Issues at White House’s United State of Women Summit

As a participant in the White House’s United State of Women Summit, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued three new documents addressing challenges that women face in the workplace: equal pay, pregnancy discrimination and pregnancy accommodation. The summit, which took place on June 14 and 15, aimed to bring leaders together to examine issues affecting women and girls and to consider best practices for action moving forward.   The first of the three new EEOC documents, “Equal Pay and the EEOC’s Proposal to Collect…

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20 May 2016 New Overtime Rules: All That Glitters Is Not Gold

With apologies to Shakespeare (the above phrase is a slight corruption of his original line from Merchant of Venice, “All that glisters is not gold”), we continue our coverage of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) controversial – to say the least – new overtime regulations. To catch everyone up, earlier this week the DOL issued its final regulations that more than doubled the minimum salary necessary to be considered for the key exemptions from overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). As of…

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14 May 2016 Employer’s Delay Results in Waiver of Arbitration

In sports, a team could be penalized if there is a delay in game. In law, a company could lose its right to compel arbitration if it delays in exercising its arbitration rights. This is exactly what happened in a recent 8th Circuit Court of Appeals decision, Messina v. North Central Distributing, Inc. d/b/a Yosemite Home Decor.   In Messina, the former vice president, Richard Messina, signed a two-year employment agreement with North Central Distributing, Inc., d/b/a Yosemite Home Decor (Yosemite) as well as a…

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11 May 2016 How Confidential is Your Information?

As I recently sat in the airport waiting for my flight, I became fascinated by watching and listening to people on their phones.  What astonished me the most was how much “confidential” business information really was not confidential.   During a 30 minute wait, I sat near a gentleman who proudly wore his employer’s logo on his golf shirt and jacket. He also loudly explained, while on his phone, that this same company’s anticipated product now had at least a two-year waiting period for FDA…

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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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06 May 2016 Transgender Bathroom Access Addressed in New EEOC Fact Sheet

In the midst of news coming out of North Carolina, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued a new fact sheet that addresses bathroom access rights for transgender employees. The fact sheet’s key point is that transgender employees have the right to equal access to bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity. This right is provided by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s protection against sex discrimination—even if there is state law to the contrary.   Employers should note that, as…

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07 Apr 2016 Morbid Obesity Not Necessarily a Disability Under Americans with Disabilities Act

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals held this week that obesity in and of itself is not covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Instead, obesity generally is a physical characteristic and “qualifies as a physical impairment (and thus would be covered under the ADA) only if it falls outside the normal range and it occurs as the result of a physiological disorder.” (Emphasis added.)  Even morbid obesity has to have physiological underpinnings to qualify as a disability, ruled the Eighth Circuit.  Such disorders…

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31 Mar 2016 New Pregnancy Poster Available for California Employers

  The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has released a new pregnancy poster for employers to use in satisfying posting requirements under California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave law. This law applies to all California employers with five or more employees.   The new poster, which is directed toward pregnant employees, replaces the “Notice A” that California employers have been required to use until now. The two posters share the same title, “Your Rights and Obligations as a Pregnant Employee.”  The effective date of…

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