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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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14 Nov 2014 Another Wave of Employment Bills Proposed in Texas

Texas employers take heed — Texan lawmakers have once again been busy drafting bills which could impact you down the road. Accordingly, you should keep an eye on these items as they progress through the legislative process.   Among other things (and after having failed to attain enactment of a state equivalent of the federal Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act last year) current proposals again seek to align state law pay discrimination claims with the federal law. Specifically, S.B. No. 65 and H.B. No. 187…

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22 Aug 2014 California Governor Signs Bills Impacting California Wage Suits

  California Governor Jerry Brown signed two bills earlier this week intended to clarify California’s wage laws. The first of these bills, A.B. 2074, clarifies the statute of limitations to file suit for liquidated damages in relation to a violation of California’s minimum wage payment law. Specifically, existing law allows an employee to bring a civil lawsuit against an employer for the unpaid balance of wages/compensation owed to that individual, as well as to recover liquidated damages equal to unpaid wages plus interest in an…

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08 Jul 2014 Missouri Law Paves Way for Increase in Unpaid Volunteers on Public Works Projects

  Missouri Governor Jay Nixon recently executed H.B. 1594, which allows for workers on public works projects to agree in writing to volunteer their services and avoid being classified as “employed” for purposes of such work on the projects.  In doing so, the volunteer will not be entitled to the prevailing wage rate for any work performed. H.B. 1594 expressly defines a “workman who agrees in writing to volunteer his or her labor without pay” as someone who “volunteers his or her labor without any promise…

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29 May 2014 The Devil’s in the Details – Make Sure Your Agreements Mirror Your Intentions

In an unpublished decision issued this month, U.S. ex rel. Paige, et al. v. BAE Systems Tech. Solutions & Servs., Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed the district court’s dismissal of two whistleblowers’ False Claims Act (“FCA”) retaliatory discharge claims, while issuing a warning to employers that the meticulous crafting of arbitration provisions within employment agreements is critical to enforcement.   The Relators in this case were former employees of BAE Systems who had alleged they had complained of purported…

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18 Apr 2014 Paid and Unpaid Interns Gain Additional Protections Under New York City Human Rights Law

  Attention employers – the use of interns remains a hot topic in the legal realm, as protections for interns continue to grow.  In fact, just this week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed off on a New York City Council bill bringing interns under the umbrella of protections against workplace discrimination afforded by the city’s human rights laws (in addition to those protections already afforded to such individuals).  Specifically, the legislation, adds a new subdivision (Section 8-102) to the city’s administrative code…

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04 Mar 2014 Employers Be Warned- Look at the Big Picture When Considering Harassment Allegations

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin has issued notice to employers that they must not view employee complaints in a bubble, but rather should take into account similar co-worker complaints in assessing whether they are being placed on notice of possible harassment. Further, the Court has indicated that even remote employees can potentially establish viable hostile work environment claims based on their limited contact with an alleged harasser, if such conduct is severe or pervasive enough. In Dahlke v. Mitchell Bank,…

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24 Jan 2014 Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Analyzes the History of the ADAAA and Remands Case Involving “Temporary Disability” to District Court

In an opinion issued yesterday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (Summers v. Altarum Institute, Cause No. 12-1645, found here, employers received yet another reminder that the landscape of disability claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) significantly changed with the enactment of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (“ADAAA”), and care must be taken to ensure compliance with the ADAAA’s adjusted requirements. In this case, the plaintiff Carl Summers (“Summers”) worked for defendant Altarum Institute (“Altarum”) as a senior analyst…

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24 Jan 2014 Third Circuit Rejects Plaintiff’s Claims That Entity To Whom She Provided Consulting Services Was Her “Employer” Under Title VII or the NJLAD

The Third Circuit has provided useful guidance to employers with respect to key factors to consider in implementing consulting relationships without generating an employment relationship under the law. Specifically, in Plaso v. IJKG, LLC et. al, found here, the Third Circuit accepted the holdings of the District Court for the District of New Jersey that the defendant did not constitute an “employer” for liability purposes under Title VII or the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD.) Though the opinion is deemed not precedential by the…

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11 Dec 2013 Court Summarily Dismisses “Familial Status” Claim Under Title VII and the PHRA

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania recently rejected claims of “family status” discrimination under Title VII and the Pennsylvania Human Rights Act (PHRA), finding that “discrimination based on family status alone is not actionable under Title VII.” The case, found here, involved a 52-year old white plaintiff, who is married to an Asian ethnic Chinese woman and has seven mixed race children. Among other allegations, the plaintiff alleged that Pen Argyl Area School District (PAASD) discriminated against families with children of…

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01 Nov 2013 Untimeliness, Hearsay, and Failure to Link Alleged Negative References and Third-Party Job Rescissions to Protected Activity Doom Employee’s Retaliation Claim

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana has dismissed the retaliation claims raised against Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly) by former employee Cassandra Welch (Welch), reaffirming that discrete acts of alleged retaliation must independently meet timeliness requirements under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (imposing a four year statute of limitations), and finding a void of evidence to link eighteen job rescissions to any retaliatory animus on behalf of Lilly. Specifically, in Welch v. Eli Lilly Co., found here, Plaintiff Welch had been terminated…

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