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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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22 Jun 2017 Fourth Circuit Upholds ‘Mark of the Beast’ Jury Verdict

  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit unanimously upheld a West Virginia’s jury verdict of nearly $600,000 in favor of the EEOC on behalf of an employee who alleged the company failed to accommodate his religious belief. The employee believed that using the company’s biometric hand-scanning time clock would affix the “Mark of the Beast” as described in the book of Revelation in the Bible. By using the hand scanner, the employee believed he would be marked as a follower of the…

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12 May 2017 Trump’s Actual Impact on OSHA

  In November, I attempted to look into the crystal ball to see what potential impact the new Trump administration could have on the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). Here are some of results so far, which on the whole, are favorable to employers who suffered under the “regulation by shaming” mantra of past Assistant Secretary of Labor David Michaels.   Budget Cuts – As predicted, on May 5, President Trump signed a spending bill that cuts the labor department’s discretionary spending budget by…

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30 Mar 2017 Federal Contractor “Blacklisting” Rules Repealed

  As we previously covered, most of the Fair Pay and Safe Workplace Executive Orders and related regulations were halted by an injunction in a Texas federal court in October of last year. However, with President Trump’s recent signature on the joint resolution of disapproval passed by both the House and the Senate pursuant to the Congressional Review Act (CRA) as well as his execution of a new executive order revoking President Obama’s prior executive orders, all of the executive orders and related regulations (referred…

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16 Feb 2017 Trump Announces Alexander Acosta as Labor Secretary Nominee After Andrew Puzder Withdraws

  At a press conference, President Trump announced Alexander Acosta as the new nominee for labor secretary. Acosta is currently the dean of the Florida International School of Law and previously served as a member of the National Labor Relations Board and later assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division through appointments by President George W. Bush. If confirmed, he will be the first Hispanic member of Trump’s cabinet.   Yesterday, just one day prior to his Senate confirmation hearing, Andrew Puzder withdrew as…

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09 Jan 2017 OSHA Issues Enforcement Guidance on Controversial Non-Discrimination Provisions

  As we have noted in prior blog posts, the controversial non-discrimination provisions of OSHA’s electronic recordkeeping rules have been challenged in court. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas ultimately declined to issue an injunction preventing the implementation of the rule, but specifically noted “[t]hat the court has denied injunctive relief requested by Plaintiffs is not a comment or indication as to whether Defendants will ultimately prevail on the merits. This determination is left for another day.”   After the court’s…

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29 Nov 2016 The World According to Trump: Trump’s Potential Impact on OSHA

  As we have noted in a number of different blog posts since the election, there are a variety of ways that the new Trump administration could affect many different areas related to labor and employment law. In this post, we are going to look into our crystal ball to give you our best prediction regarding some of the ways we anticipate President-Elect Trump will change the course of current and pending Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) regulations as well as the administration of…

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24 Oct 2016 UPDATE: OSHA Announces Second Delay in Enforcement of Non-Discrimination Provisions

  As we noted on the blog in July, OSHA announced that it would delay the enforcement of the controversial non-discrimination provisions of its electronic recordkeeping rules until Nov. 1, 2016. The original effective date was Aug. 10, 2016. We previously mentioned that the first delay appeared to be in response to a lawsuit and motion for preliminary injunction challenging the legality of the regulations filed in the Northern District of Texas (Texo ABC/AGC, Inc. et al v. Dept. of Labor, et al., Civil Action No. 3:16-cv-1998).  …

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17 Oct 2016 Overtime Rules Challenge – Business Groups and States Seek Expedited Relief

  As we have covered in a prior blog post, two different lawsuits have been filed in the Eastern District of Texas challenging the new Department of Labor (DOL) overtime regulations that are currently set to take effect Dec. 1. The DOL’s rule more than doubles the current salary threshold for the “white-collar” exemptions.   In the lawsuit filed by the group of 21 states’ attorney generals, they filed an Emergency Motion for Preliminary Injunction on Oct. 12. The states argued that the DOL exceeded…

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12 Sep 2016 Employee Misclassification as Independent Contractor We Knew about the DOL and IRS Issues - Now the NLRB Says it May be an Unfair Labor Practice

  As we have noted in prior blog posts, the Department of Labor (DOL) has increasingly taken the position that employers more often than not are misclassifying statutory “employees” as independent contractors. Misclassifications such as this can result in back-pay, liquidated damages and attorney’s fees for individuals as well as potential civil penalties. This is in addition to the IRS penalties that may be imposed for failing to pay back payroll taxes for individuals who are actually employees and not independent contractors. As noted on…

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21 Jul 2016 OSHA Announces Delay in Non-Discrimination Provisions, Higher Fines Still Coming in August

  As we have previously covered in a recent blog post, the Occupation Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) new electronic recordkeeping rules also contain controversial anti-retaliation provisions which originally would have been effective on Aug. 10, 2016, for federal OSHA states (and up to six months later in state plan states). Last week, OSHA announced that it was delaying the enforcement until Nov. 1, 2016, of the new provisions which also include prohibitions on blanket post-accident drug testing policies and safety incentive programs.   One…

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