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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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15 Aug 2017 Single Use of Racial Slur Sufficient to Assert Harassment Claim

  In a recent decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that a single use of a derogatory term can sustain a workplace harassment claim. In Castleberry v. STI Group and Chesapeake Energy Corporation, the parties disputed whether or not a single use of a racial slur could be “severe” enough to support the plaintiff’s claim of harassment and survive a motion to dismiss.   The plaintiffs, two African-American employees, brought claims for harassment, discrimination, and retaliation after they were terminated…

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28 Apr 2017 Can Employers Terminate an Employee Because of Vacation Photos Posted to Facebook?

  It is no secret that employers can and will make employment decisions based on employee social media postings—but will those employment decisions hold up in court? In a recent case, Jones v. Gulf Coast Health Care of Delaware, the Eleventh Circuit held that an employee could proceed on a claim for retaliation under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) following his termination for posting vacation photos to his Facebook.   Rodney Jones worked at Accentia Health and Rehabilitation Center of Tampa Bay. Mr….

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17 Mar 2017 Does Same-Sex Harassment Support Gender Discrimination Claims? Texas Supreme Court to Decide

  The Texas Supreme Court agreed to determine whether a school teacher’s allegations of a hostile work environment by her same-sex superiors can support a claim of gender discrimination in violation of the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act (TCHRA). The court will also decide whether the circumstantial evidence presented to prove the teacher’s retaliation claim is sufficient to support a violation of the TCHRA.   The teacher alleged that a fellow coach began to sexually harass by allegedly making comments about the teacher’s body…

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03 Feb 2017 Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act: Legislature’s Quick Fix

The Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act went into effect on Jan. 1, 2017. As previously reported, the act requires employers who provide sick leave benefits in Illinois to allow employees to use the sick leave time for the injury, illness or medical appointment of the employee’s children and certain other family members. In its original form, the act was confusing to employers with respect to its breadth and applicability. In an effort to clear up the confusion, and less than two weeks after the act…

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21 Nov 2016 Using an Employee’s Social Media Posts to Prove Laziness? Think Again

  Is it permissible for an employer who is subject to an unpaid overtime claim to request an employee’s social media postings over a three-year period? The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida found such requests to be overly broad, unduly burdensome and unreasonable.   A sales representative sued her employer for uncompensated off-the-clock work. During discovery, the employer, Orange Lake Country Club, requested the following information from the employee:   All online profiles, postings, messages (including, without limitation, tweets, replies, retweets,…

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22 Jan 2016 Meowing Dogs and Barking Cats: Supreme Court Grants Certiorari to Determine Service Advisors’ Eligibility for Overtime Pay

  The Supreme Court recently granted certiorari in Navarro v. Encino Motorcars, LLC, after the Ninth Circuit found that the FLSA exemption for overtime pay does not apply to car dealership service advisors. The relevant FLSA exemption applies to “any salesman, partsman, or mechanic primarily engaged in selling or servicing automobiles.” Service advisors diagnose vehicle service needs and suggest additional services for the maintenance of vehicles. They are paid on a commission basis only, and receive neither an hourly wage nor a salary.   Car…

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14 Dec 2015 Nip it in the Bud: Employer Considerations Following the Debut of Medical Marijuana in Illinois

Medical marijuana dispensaries in Illinois have officially opened their doors to patients who qualify for the drug under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act (the Compassionate Use Act). The program will be in effect for four years, at which point Illinois officials will determine whether the approved uses should be restricted or expanded. While Illinois’ Compassionate Use Act is one of the most restrictive of the 23 states that legalized the use of medicinal marijuana, employers—particularly those with zero-tolerance policies—should be vigilant…

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