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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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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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30 Aug 2013 Do You Have Restrictive Covenants In Texas? If So, Be Careful What You Ask For

Many employers who have multistate operations know that the enforceability of a restrictive covenant depends largely on the state in question.  While obviously no state will rubber stamp whatever restrictive covenant an employer can think up, even a properly structured and reasonable covenant – which would be enforced without question in most of the country – may not get any traction in some states. Texas is not the hardest state in which to seek the enforcement of a restrictive covenant (that distinction surprisingly lies with…

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15 Jul 2013 The Employer Mandate Has Been Moved One Year. Now What?

A Primer On What Employers Need To Know About The Affordable Care Act Many employers across the country breathed a sigh of relief upon hearing that the implementation of the employer mandate under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been delayed until Jan. 1, 2015. Of course once the revelry dies down, employers will come to the sober realization that this just means that the can has been kicked down the proverbial road.  Employers who should have been in the process of figuring out the…

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07 Jun 2013 Don’t Overlook The Gems In EEOC Files

A recent decision out of a Louisiana federal court demonstrates that all employers who are sued in cases where the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) handled an administrative charge should promptly send out a FOIA request to obtain the EEOC’s file. In Williams v. Cardinal Health Systems 200, LLC, a female employee reported to her employer that her husband had gotten into a fistfight with one of her co-workers, allegedly because the co-worker was sending her inappropriate text messages. The employee was fired shortly thereafter…

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24 Apr 2013 Congress Rejects Password Protection Amendment To CISPA

On April 23, 2013, the House of Representatives rejected a last-minute attempt to amend the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) to include a provision that would ban private employers and the federal government from asking for employees’ social media passwords. Since the advent of social media, employers have used data uploaded on sites such as Facebook, Myspace, etc. to mine for information on employees and prospective applicants for employment. As savvy users of social media sites began to erect password-protection walls, employers have…

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24 Apr 2013 Inconsistent Treatment Of Employees Gets You Every Time

Although you might think that cussing in the workplace should get an employee fired, a recent decision from the District of Colorado shows that it all comes down to the context. The court denied summary judgment for an employer, finding that the plaintiff-employee had established a prima face case of age discrimination and provided sufficient evidence of pretext. The case, Roach v. Safeway, Inc., Case No. 12-cv-1239-RBJ, involved a 60-year old store manager with 40 years of seniority in the company. The employee had an overall…

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