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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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15 Jun 2017 ‘You’re Doing a Great Job Brownie, er Comey . . . and You’re Fired!’ Avoiding Unforced Errors in Employment Terminations

  Last week, former FBI director James Comey testified before a Senate Committee in front of a packed house and with millions more watching on television (the event even was live-streamed in some D.C.-area bars). During the hearing, Comey expressed confusion over being fired for poor performance because before his termination, the president allegedly told him that he was doing a “good job.”   Comey’s testimony is reminiscent of the firing of another government official – Michael Brown. You may remember that Brown was the…

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05 May 2017 Avoiding the Danegeld (Part 2)

  As a follow up to my post on avoiding the Danegeld and limiting knowledge of employment settlements to those who have a need to know, here is an example of getting it right.   Recently, conservative pundit Glenn Beck and his media outlet, TheBlaze, Inc., were hit with a lawsuit from Tomi Lahren, a terminated on-air commentator. Lahren claimed that her firing was a violation of her employment agreement, arguing that the given reason – expressing an opinion that Beck disliked – was not…

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Settlement
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05 May 2017 Avoiding the Danegeld: Discouraging Me-Too Claims Following a Settlement

  A thousand years ago, Viking warriors would invade a town and threaten to destroy it if the townsfolk did not pay a tax called a “Danegeld” (meaning to pay the Dane gold). Of course, once the town paid the Danegeld tax, the Vikings saw the town as an easy mark – one to which they would return to and demand payment all over again. Essentially, this was the Middle Ages equivalent of a mobster shakedown: promising to “protect” your property to make sure nothing…

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24 Mar 2017 Easy Come, Easy Go: Appeals Court Reverses $2.6 Million Award in ADA Case

    In a helpful case for employers, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a $2.6 million jury verdict in Stevens v. Rite-Aid Corporation (Case No. 15-277), holding that the employer could not reasonably accommodate a pharmacist’s fear of needles.   The case began in 2011, when Rite-Aid started requiring that all of its pharmacists be able to administer immunization injections to customers. But, the new job requirement presented a problem for Rite-Aid pharmacist Christopher Stevens; he suffers from the fear of needles, known…

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13 Feb 2017 Hotel California Checks Out of State Forum Selection Clauses You can file your lawsuit any time you like, but you can never leave . . .

  Multistate employers know that the state of California is hostile to restrictive covenants and generally regard non-compete agreements as unenforceable. Over time, some multistate employers have developed a two-step process (one of which has been scrapped by a newly adopted law) to protect their interests in California and sidestep the state’s roadblocks:   Require employees to sign confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements so that even if unfaithful employees subsequently leave to work for a competitor, the employer still has some recourse to limit the damage…

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08 Feb 2017 2016: EEOC Charges Keep Climbing

  Well, it’s February already and the EEOC charge filing statistics for 2016 are out. Last year, we were looking at the total number of charges filed against employers beginning to tick up again. One year later, we have a definite trend beginning to build:     The above chart tracks the number of annual EEOC charges going back 20 years. As you can see, the overall number of charges tends to ebb and flow with the general nature of the economy – when a…

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30 Dec 2016 The DOL’s Final Rule on Life Support?

  Earlier this year, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued its long-awaited final rule updating the salary level for workers who are exempt from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The final rule, also commonly known as the overtime rule, was supposed to go into effect on Dec. 1, 2016.   As readers of this blog are aware, the update was met with fierce opposition from business groups and employers. In September, a group of 21 states and various business groups…

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30 Dec 2016 75,000 Reasons Why Employers Should Timely Comply With Form I-9 Requirements

  Just in time for the holidays is a nicely wrapped reminder from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit about how important it is for employers to timely complete I-9 forms on all employees, and properly retain I-9 records in the event of a government inspection.   Before getting into the case, and for the benefit of those of you who still are suffering from a bit too much “holiday cheer,” here is a brief primer to bring you back up to…

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18 Nov 2016 The World According to Trump: Executives Behaving Badly

  After the watershed election of last week, many people’s emotions are in overdrive. Sadly, some people go too far and unfortunately, some of those people are company executives.   Consider the following tweets from the CEO of tech company PacketSled:   “I’m going to kill the President [] elect.” “Bring it secret service.” “Getting a sniper rifle and perching myself where it counts. Find a bedroom in the whitehouse that suits you motherf***er. I’ll find you.”   Perhaps unsurprisingly, the company dismissed the CEO…

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16 Nov 2016 The World According to Trump: Revenge of the Pen – Overturning Obama’s Executive Orders and Employment Policies

  As my teenage daughter would say: “Well, that happened.” As I write this, a little over one week has passed since the end of days, the rain of frogs or whatever apocalyptic description you may choose to describe the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of these United States. Considering that the Chicago Cubs just won the World Series only a short time beforehand, one may be excused from thinking that the end of time is, indeed, at hand.   There can…

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