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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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20 Sep 2017 Pregnancy Discrimination Act Requires Employers to Accommodate Breastfeeding Employees

  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit recently affirmed a district court decision in favor of a police officer who argued that her employer failed to accommodate her so she could breastfeed.   In Hicks v. City of Tuscaloosa, officer Hicks requested an alternative duty upon her return from maternity leave. Normally, she was required to wear a bulletproof vest, but her doctor said that wearing the vest could cause infection and prevent her from breastfeeding. Hicks requested a duty that would…

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17 Feb 2017 Trump Promises to Re-tool Travel Ban After Last Week’s Hit from Ninth Circuit

  During an unprecedented, unscheduled press conference Thursday afternoon, President Donald Trump promised a new and improved travel ban in the name of national security. Last week, the president’s travel ban suffered a major setback from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Its decision in State of Washington v. Trump, upheld the arguments made by the states of Washington and Minnesota—which challenged the president’s executive order, in part, because the order negatively affected their state universities’ employees and students.   President Trump’s…

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31 Aug 2016 EEOC: Drug Testing Policies Must Allow for Reasonable Accommodation

  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently filed suit against a car dealership alleging that its drug testing policy did not contain exceptions for qualified persons with disabilities. The lawsuit, EEOC v. Bell Leasing, Inc., Civil Action No. 2:16-cv-02848, was filed on August 25, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. The EEOC alleges the employer made a job offer to an applicant contingent upon a successful drug test.  When the applicant tested positive for a prohibited substance, the employer rescinded…

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01 Feb 2016 UGH!! Now They Want Wage Info on the EEO-1?!?

  On Jan. 29, the White House announced that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will issue proposed regulations to modify the Employer Information Report, known as the EEO-1, to include collecting pay data from employers with more than 100 employees. The EEOC says it needs this pay data to “assist . . . in identifying possible pay discrimination and assist employers in promoting equal pay in their workplaces.”   Currently, the EEO-1 gathers information on employers’ workforces by race, ethnicity, sex, and job category….

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31 Dec 2015 What – This is MY Fault?!? Indiana Supreme Court Expands Employers’ Respondeat Superior Liability for the Acts of their Employees

  Earlier this month, the Indiana Supreme Court issued an opinion in Knighten v. East Chicago Housing Authority which expands employers’ liability for acts of their employees under the doctrine of respondeat superior.   In Knighten, the East Chicago Housing Authority contracted with a security company to provide guards at its facility. One of the security guards was romantically involved with a resident of the Housing Authority. The guard got into an argument with the resident while he was on duty and shot her, paralyzing…

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14 Nov 2015 Going Before a Higher Power – Nuns Take on Obamacare

On Nov. 6, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeals of several religious employers challenging the contraceptive mandate under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The court will consolidate seven cases, the most prominent of which was brought by the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Catholic nuns who dedicate their lives to helping the elderly poor.  The other employers include several Catholic dioceses, a religious non-profit group and several Christian colleges.   The contraception mandate requires religious…

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31 Aug 2015 Are Your Employees Religious Enough For The NLRB?

The NLRB is at the center of the most recent battle over religious freedom. At issue is the religious character of faculty at religious colleges and universities. Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in NLRB v. Catholic Bishop of Chicago, the board has been barred from regulating employees in religious educational institutions. However, in recent years, the board has tried to narrow the reach of the Catholic Bishop of Chicago case by arguing that it only applied to institutions of a “substantial religious character.” When…

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17 Apr 2015 EEOC RELEASES PROPOSED RULE ON EMPLOYER WELLNESS PROGRAMS

On April 16, 2015, the EEOC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would amend the regulations and interpretive guidance under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as they relate to employer wellness programs. A copy of the proposed rule can be found here.   Barnes & Thornburg has issued an Employment Alert on the proposed regulations. This proposed rule was highly anticipated as recent lawsuits filed by the EEOC raised questions about when wellness plans violated the ADA. Mark ScudderMark D….

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11 Dec 2014 Unanimous Supreme Court Denies Compensation for Time Spent in Security Checks

On Dec. 9, 2014, U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require an employer to pay its employees for time spent undergoing security screenings at the end of their shifts. Justice Thomas wrote the Court’s opinion in Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk, with Justice Sotomayor filing a concurring opinion which Justice Kagan joined. Barnes & Thornburg has issued an Employment Alert on this case which can be found here.  This case has been closely watched…

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22 Sep 2014 CAUTIONARY TALE FOR PUBLIC EMPLOYERS – REMEMBER THE FIRST AMENDMENT

  When a public employee makes unpopular public statements, the employer must remember that the employee’s statements could be protected by the First Amendment. On September 15, 2014, the Firth Circuit Court of Appeals in Christian Cutler v. Stephen F. Austin State University affirmed the trial court’s ruling that the University and four University officials had no immunity from a First Amendment retaliation claim. Cutler, the University’s Director of Art Galleries, received an invitation from a member of Congress to judge a high school art…

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