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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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19 May 2017 Current Administration Considers EEOC and Labor Department Subagency Merger

  The Trump administration is reportedly considering a potential merger between the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and a Labor Department subagency that enforces nondiscrimination requirements and affirmative action on government contractors.   The recommendation to merge the two entities originated from The Heritage Foundation, a Washington-based conservative research think tank. In its report, “Blueprint for Reform: A Comprehensive Policy Agenda for a New Administration in 2017,” The Heritage Foundation previously called for a complete phasing out of the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal…

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06 Apr 2017 Lesson: Don’t Underestimate Court’s Ability to Change Its Mind Minor Leaguers’ Wage Suit Gets Certified and Comes Back From the Dead

  While Major League Baseball (MLB) can celebrate its new season, which began on April 2, the last pitch has yet to be thrown when it comes to addressing a minimum wage and overtime lawsuit filed by thousands of minor league players.   A lawsuit filed by a class of thousands of Minor League Baseball (MiLB) players in February 2014, which is part of a feeder system into MLB clubs, claims that minor league ballplayers are not paid the proper minimum wage or overtime. The…

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27 Feb 2017 Federal Lawsuit Over Mass Layoffs Not on the Menu for California Restaurant Group

  A California restaurant chain recently got lucky and avoided a proposed class action filed by former workers who claimed the chain failed to provide proper notice before laying off approximately 3,000 employees.   The lawsuit alleged that the Catalina Restaurant Group’s April 2015 restructuring – the chain was sold, restaurants were closed and layoffs occurred at corporate headquarters – left about 3,000 employees out of a job without prior warning. Additionally, the suit claimed that those affected were offered no severance pay and were…

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20 Jan 2017 Teachers File Proposed Class Action Suit Claiming Grants Were Illegally Converted Into Loans

  On Jan. 6, two teachers, Ashley Ford and David West, filed a projected class action against the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, a Pennsylvania-based student loan servicer, which the teachers allege has been improperly converting federal teaching grants into loans for its own financial gain. Such fraudulent action is alleged to be in direct violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.   Ford and West claim that the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, which is the only servicer of awards to teachers…

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01 Dec 2016 California Approves Strongest Standard for Prevention of Violence Against Health Workers

  On Oct. 21, after close to two years of work, regulators within the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) approved a standard that should reduce workplace violence against healthcare workers by requiring hospitals and other employers of health professionals to develop violence prevention protocols in conjunction with the healthcare workers. Workers in healthcare and social assistance were involved in 52 percent of workplace violence incidents in 2014, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, and rates of workplace violence incidents increased…

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20 Oct 2016 Jury Gets to Decide: Are Prolonged Walking, Standing Essential Functions of Employee’s Job?

  A New York federal court has decided to take another look at whether prolonged walking or standing are essential functions of an employee’s job. On Oct. 13, 2016, in the case of Reyes v. Phoenix Beverages, Inc., the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued an order that granted employer Phoenix Beverages’ motion for reconsideration in part.   In issuing the order, the court agreed with the employer’s contention that the court had overlooked portions of testimony provided by the…

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08 Sep 2016 EEOC Issues Anti-Retaliation Guidance First Guidance in Nearly Two Decades Puts Employers on Notice of EEOC’s Workplace Retaliation View

  On Aug. 29, the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) issued its much awaited Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related Issues – its first enforcement guidance on workplace retaliation in more than 18 years. In addition to retaliation, this guidance also addresses the “interference” provision under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits threats, coercion or other actions that inhibit the exercise of ADA rights.   This guidance was highly anticipated as “retaliation is asserted in nearly 45 percent of all charges [received]…

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