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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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20 Dec 2017 Employment Visas: Changes to Expect in 2018

  Change is afoot. The Trump administration has moved full steam ahead on immigration proposals focused on, among other things, increased scrutiny of employment visas. The proposed changes were announced in a semi-unified agenda and comes at the heels of Trump’s “Buy American and Hire American” Executive Order, which was rolled out earlier this year. If implemented, these changes will affect thousands of immigrants, and may make it more difficult to obtain work authorization for certain categories of employees.   This agenda does not by…

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05 Dec 2017 Part 4: Sex, Power, and the Workplace – When to Tell the Customer They’re Wrong

  We all know the old adage: the customer always comes first. But, what about a predatory, harassing customer? Not so much.   Sexual misconduct has been ablaze in the news, and doesn’t seem to show any sign of halting. Alaska Airlines was recently pulled into the fray when Randi Zuckerberg, sister of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, accused the airline of failing to do anything about a fellow passenger’s sexual misconduct against her. The Alaska Airlines incident underscores the reputational dangers for companies that turn…

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24 Oct 2017 California Moves Outside the Box, Imposes New Criminal Background Check Prohibitions

  “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” Countless employees have encountered this check-the-box question on employment applications. Over the years, however, several states have introduced “ban the box” laws to restrict the use of such questions and impose barriers to pre-employment screening processes. Expanding upon that activity, California Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1008, which amends the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and imposes new restrictions on employers’ criminal background screening processes. The new law takes effect on…

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29 Sep 2017 California Bill Placing Restrictions on Employer Immigration Worksite Raids Awaits Governor’s Signature

  In the midst of increased immigrant arrests in California, the California Senate recently confirmed the passage of the Immigration Worker Protection Act, or AB 450, which, if signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, will place various immigration worksite inspection restrictions on California employers.   As discussed in this post, the bill prohibits California employers from allowing immigration agents to enter a workplace or view their employee’s employment records without a warrant. The bill also requires employers who provide immigration officials with employee records to notify…

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30 Jun 2017 ‘Bona Fide Relationships’ Under Trump’s New Travel Ban: Who’s In and Who’s Out?

  The U.S. Supreme Court made headlines on June 26 when it partially mandated aspects of Trump’s notorious “travel ban” barring immigrants from select countries from entering the United States. In a lengthy opinion, the court provided that people seeking visas from six restricted countries – namely Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – would be temporarily barred from entering the United States unless they can claim a “bona fide relationship” with a person or entity in the United States. This uncertain description of…

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28 Jun 2017 Content of Doctors’ Notes May Help Plaintiffs Establish Evidence of Disability Discrimination

  How often do you scrutinize doctors’ notes turned in by employees for signs of a claimed disability? A recent California case, Parker v. Comcast Cable Commc’ns Mgmt., LLC, serves as a reminder that the content of doctor’s notes can serve as strong evidence that an employer has constructive knowledge of one’s disability. Such a showing can therefore make it easier to establish and bring claims of disability discrimination against employers.   In order to be liable for a disability discrimination claim under California’s Fair…

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02 Jun 2017 Trump-Era Immigration Worksite Raid Threats May Bring New Requirements for California Employers

  Amidst fears of increased workplace immigration raids during Trump’s presidency, California’s legislature recently introduced a bill that, if passed, would ban employers from providing workplace access to immigration and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials without a warrant. This bill could have enormous affects for California, where more than 2.6 million undocumented workers reside. Notably, almost one in every 10 California workers is undocumented, and undocumented workers make up almost half of California’s agricultural workforce.   The measure, AB 450, called the Immigrant…

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25 May 2017 Need to Check an Employee’s Criminal Background? Tread Carefully

  Federal laws do not prohibit employers from asking about a job applicant’s criminal history. But equal employment opportunity (EEO) and federal laws prevent employers from discriminating against job applicants on the basis of this information. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has guidelines that establish the following rules:   Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits employers from treating people with similar criminal records differently because of their race, national origin, color, sex or religion Title VII also prohibits employers from using policies…

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24 Apr 2017 California Supreme Court Throws Down the Gauntlet on Arbitration Waivers

  The California Supreme Court is no stranger to invalidating mandatory arbitration provisions. Recently, however, the court lay down yet another challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court’s AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion case, holding that an arbitration agreement that waives the right to public injunctive relief is unenforceable under California law.   In the case, McGill v. Citibank, N.A., Sharon McGill alleged that Citbank engaged in illegal and deceptive practices in marketing a credit insurance plan she purchased. She filed a class action suit under…

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04 Apr 2017 Putting the Matter to Rest: California Court Rules Commission-Pay Employees Must Be Compensated Separately for Rest Breaks

  Delivering a stiff blow to a California retail furniture company employing commission-pay employees, the California Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently ruled that employees paid on a commission or piece-rate basis must be paid separately for their rest breaks. The decision in Vaquero v. Stoneledge Furniture, LLC, followed the filing of a class action suit by two commission-based sales associates at Stoneledge Furniture LLC, a retail furniture company doing business in California as Ashley Furniture HomeStores.   The plaintiffs, Vaquero and Schaefer,…

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