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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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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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07 Oct 2016 Employer Strategies for Surviving Election Season

  Once again, the “silly season” is upon us. Every four years, battle lines are drawn and many employees take sides, touting their preferred candidate’s merits over what they regard as the utterly despicable nature of the other candidate. Fortunately for employers (and everyone else who values their sanity) this should be over in about a month. I hesitate only because I lived in Florida during the 2000 election, and if you think things are contentious now – pray the current election cycle doesn’t go…

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21 Sep 2016 Loose Lips Sink Ships

  Late last week, a political firestorm brewed over the hacking of various email accounts belonging to politicians and national security officials. It was reported that the hack revealed that Colin Powell, the almost universally well-liked and well-regarded retired general, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs and Secretary of State, had some less than kind things to say about the current crop of presidential candidates. Powell’s emails, for example, reportedly used provocative words like “national disgrace” in one instance and “greedy” and “unbridled ambition” in…

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29 Aug 2016 Seventh Circuit Discards Well-Worn Standard for Discrimination Cases Does this Herald the End of the Golden Age of Summary Judgment for Employers?

  Late last week, the often employer-friendly Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals tossed out the basis upon which discrimination claims have been analyzed for almost a generation. The decision, Ortiz v. Werner Enterprises (Case No. 15-2574), foreshadows dramatic and huge repercussions for employers in Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin.   Background on Direct and Indirect Tests   For more than 20 years, courts in the Seventh Circuit have recognized two avenues of proving discrimination: the direct and indirect methods. Before last week, a plaintiff-employee in the…

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15 Jul 2016 10th Circuit ADA Ruling Drives Home the Importance of Written Job Descriptions

  A cancer survivor’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lawsuit against a prospective employer was rejected this week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Kilcrease v. Domenico Transportation Co. The case involved a truck driver who, after successfully overcoming cancer, applied for work with a trucking company, Domenico Transportation. The job required applicants to (1) hold a Class A commercial driver’s license, (2) have three years of recent and verifiable mountain driving (the company is located in Colorado), (3) have…

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06 Jun 2016 Employers Need Not Tolerate Workers Screaming On the Electronic Street Corner Terminating Employees For Offensive Remarks On Social Media

Over the last few days, the news media have widely covered Bank of America’s decision to fire one of its employees for posting this on the employee’s personal Facebook page:   I hate Facebook for this reason you f***ing n****rs.  And yes, if [you] can call each that well I can too.  ‘F***ing n****r go back to Africa. Get over your pity party. You created this hatred and your own kind that brought your great-great-parents [sic] over here and sold them.  ‘Do something with your…

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