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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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26 Mar 2014 Have You Double-Checked The Language Of Your Non-Compete Lately? If Not, You Need To…

A recent decision of the Indiana Court of Appeals could drive a stake through the heart of many non-compete agreements.  The case, Clark’s Sales and Service, Inc. v. Smith and Ferguson Enterprises, involved a long-time salesman for an appliance retailer.  Mid-way through his 14-year employment tenure (and after a key colleague went to go work for one of the company’s competitors), his employer required him to sign a non-compete agreement. The key provisions of the non-compete should be familiar to most employers.   For two…

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11 Feb 2014 Obamacare Employer Mandate Delayed Again For Mid-Size Employers

The Employer Mandate of the Affordable Care Act (the “ACA” or its more commonly known sobriquet “Obamacare”) originally was slated to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014. Last year employers were given a reprieve when the government pushed the mandate back until the start of 2015. Yesterday, the government pushed back the employer mandate for one more year until 2016. However, there is a significant catch that could trap unwary employers: the change applies only to those employers with between 50 and 99 full-time…

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10 Feb 2014 EEOC Charges Drop In 2013, But Wait, There’s More!

The EEOC has disclosed the number of charges filed last year and the overall trend for employers is positive. For the third year in a row, the number of charges dropped – to 93,727 down from 99,412 in 2012 and the record high of 99,947 in 2011. The chart below illustrates the drop and puts the numbers into perspective back to 1997. As illustrated, the good news is that the number of charges are down; the bad news is that the number of charges essentially…

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03 Jan 2014 The Importance and Limitations of Internal Investigations

Many companies pride themselves on maintaining and rigorously enforcing equal employment opportunity (EEO) policies. From a business perspective, EEO policies help ensure a company is regarded as a fair place to work – improving employee morale and productivity. From a legal perspective, strong EEO policies (a) help protect the company from discrimination, harassment or retaliation claims by identifying and (hopefully) resolving problems ahead of costly litigation; (b) force the company to create a record of its position with respect to an employee’s claims and the…

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03 Jan 2014 Different Strokes for Different Folks (or Red, Blue, and Purple-Pencil America): How The 50 States Differ On Revising Non-Competes

Employers with multistate operations who utilize non-compete covenants to protect their businesses frequently run into questions about whether those agreements will be enforceable across state lines.  While many states (fortunately) tend to view restrictive covenants somewhat similarly, there are some critical – and perhaps surprising – exceptions.  For example, North Dakota will not enforce non-compete agreements by statute, and while Oklahoma may enforce a non-compete, the terms spelled out by that’s states law are extraordinarily more restrictive than in other jurisdictions.   One key distinction…

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26 Nov 2013 GINA: Much Ado About Nothing?

Earlier this year it was reported that the EEOC had filed two lawsuits against employers, one in New York and the other in Oklahoma, for violating the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) by requesting family medical information from employees.  GINA, which became law over five years ago, prohibits discrimination on the basis of genetic information, and specifically makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate, refuse to hire or discharge any employee because of the employee’s genetic information. After GINA went into effect, there was…

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25 Nov 2013 Creating a “Maternity Projection Chart” Probably Isn’t A Good Idea

Does your company have a “maternity projection chart?”  Well, the defendant in Stotler v. Institute for Integrative Nutrition, et. al., Case No. 13-civ-1275 (S.D. N.Y. Nov. 18, 2013) created one to keep track of its female employees’ potential for having children. The chart included information on the women’s ages, marital status and maternity status, with the last category rating each employee on whether they were “likely” or “fairly likely” to have children. The defendant was a health coaching and nutritional educational school and most of…

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20 Nov 2013 Contractor Misclassification Is Back On The Agenda

Most employers that utilize independent contractors know that the classification of workers as “contractors” has been subject to considerable scrutiny over the last few years. At least as far back as 2007, then-Senator Barack Obama sponsored the Independent Contractor Proper Classification Act.  The Senator’s proposed law would have eliminated a 1978 tax code provision that provides a safe harbor to employers that misclassify workers based on commonplace “industry practice.” Further, it would have required employers to notify contractors (a) about their tax obligations; (b) that labor and…

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20 Nov 2013 Useful Online Guide To Keeping Tabs On The ACA

Many employers have spent the last several years trying to understand the intricacies and nuances of the Affordable Care Act. The various delays in the roll-out, which have been underscored in recent weeks with the problems associated with the launch of the website, have done nothing to quiet the air of uncertainty that surrounds the Act. Further, while the delay of the employer mandate last summer provided a temporary respite, this also has only added to the growing number of headaches employers face in keeping…

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30 Oct 2013 Informal Layoff Decision Survives Age Discrimination Claim – But You May Not Want To Try This At Home

A recent decision from the Northern District of Ohio rejected a truck driver’s claim that his selection for a layoff was due to age discrimination where his evidence consisted of (1) the fact that younger drivers were not laid off and (2) his supervisor’s comment that driving was a “young man’s game.” The case, McCormick v AIM Integrated Logistics, Case No. 4:11cv01524, involved a full service truck leasing company which laid off three drivers, ages 55 (the plaintiff), 54 and 51, but which kept drivers…

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