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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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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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11 Aug 2014 OFCCP PROPOSES RULE TO COLLECT COMPENSATION DATA FROM FEDERAL CONTRACTORS

  On August 6, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking requiring certain federal contractors to submit an annual Equal Pay Report on employee compensation. Under the proposed rule, Companies that file EEO1 reports, have more than one hundred employees and hold federal contracts or subcontracts worth more than fifty thousand dollars would need to submit an Equal Pay Report each year to the OFCCP. The Equal Pay Report would “provide summary data…

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27 Jun 2014 U.S. District Court Strikes Down Indiana’s Ban On Same-Sex Marriage

  On June 25, 2014, U.S. District Judge Richard Young ruled that Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  Judge Young’s decision in Baskin et al v. Hogan et al can be found here. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has requested a stay of Judge Young’s decision pending an appeal. In the meantime, local Indiana courts have starting issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.   Unless Judge Young’s decision is stayed or overturned on…

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20 May 2014 EEOC Files ADA Claim Against Employer Due To “No Fault” Attendance Policy

  On May 9, 2014, the EEOC filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against AutoZone Inc. for discrimination, retaliation and failure to accommodate under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The EEOC recently issued a press release discussing this lawsuit. The EEOC alleges that AutoZone had a “no fault’ attendance policy under which employees received points for absences, even if those absences occurred for reasons relating to disabilities. The EEOC also alleges that AutoZone failed to accommodate an…

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04 Apr 2014 Both Sides Face Tough Questions As The Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument Regarding the Contraceptive Mandate

On March 25, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court heard the long-awaited oral argument in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius.  In both cases, for-profit employers argued that the contraceptive mandate under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act violated their religious beliefs as protected by the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  In contrast, the government argued that for-profit corporations cannot exercise religion and therefore cannot challenge the mandate on religious grounds….

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21 Feb 2014 The University of Notre Dame Asks The Seventh Circuit to Enjoin The Contraception Mandate

On Feb. 12, 2014 the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held an oral argument in University of Notre Dame v. Sebelius. In this argument, the university asked the Seventh Circuit to reverse a district court decision denying the university’s request to enjoin the application of the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act. Several other courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have enjoined the application of the contraception mandate while the courts consider whether the mandate violates employers’ constitutional rights. We discussed these earlier decisions in…

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21 Feb 2014 Wisconsin Likely to Limit Access to Social Media Accounts

In late January, both houses of the Wisconsin Legislature passed the Social Media Protection Bill aimed at protecting individuals’ social media accounts. Governor Scott Walker is expected to sign the bill into law. The bill bars employers, schools, and landlords from requiring their employees, students, or tenants to produce their social media passwords. However, the bill allows employers, schools, and landlords to view individuals’ social media postings that are available to the public. Employers would also be permitted to monitor employee usage of devices provided…

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13 Jan 2014 2013 Ends With A Flurry Of Activity Regarding the Contraception Mandate

As 2013 drew to a close, several non-profit religious employers sought injunctions to prevent the application of the contraception mandate under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on Jan. 1, 2014.  Under the current regulations, a non-profit religious employer need not pay for contraceptive services if it certifies that it has a religious objection to providing these services to its employees. The insurer is then required to provide these items to the employees at no cost to either the employer or the employees. The Obama administration…

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27 Nov 2013 It’s Official—The Supreme Court Announces That It Will Review The Contraceptive Mandate

On Nov. 26, 2013, U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will review two cases in which for-profit employers challenged the application of the contraceptive mandate under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The cases are Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialites Corp. v. Sebelius.  Both employers say that their religious beliefs bar them from providing employees with drugs or other items that they consider abortifacients. These employers argue that the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act…

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