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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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22 Aug 2014 California Governor Signs Bills Impacting California Wage Suits

  California Governor Jerry Brown signed two bills earlier this week intended to clarify California’s wage laws. The first of these bills, A.B. 2074, clarifies the statute of limitations to file suit for liquidated damages in relation to a violation of California’s minimum wage payment law. Specifically, existing law allows an employee to bring a civil lawsuit against an employer for the unpaid balance of wages/compensation owed to that individual, as well as to recover liquidated damages equal to unpaid wages plus interest in an…

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15 Aug 2014 When “I Love You” May Be Too Much

  Normally, the words “I love you” make a person feel good, happy, confident and host of other emotions. However, in the employment context, saying these three little words can cause a host of potential issues for both employers and employees. Typically, as employment attorneys, we see these words leading to claims of sexual harassment. But, now it appears saying “I love you” (among other things) also can create a claim of religious discrimination.   In June of this year, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity…

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13 Aug 2014 Notice of San Francisco’s Fair Chance Ordinance Required as of August 13, 2014

  Companies located or doing business in San Francisco that have a total of 20 or more employees worldwide should prepare to provide notice of San Francisco’s Fair Chance Ordinance starting today, August 13, 2014. The Fair Chance Ordinance restricts inquiries regarding a job applicant’s criminal history and imposes other related requirements, including that notice be provided to employees and applicants. The required notice, available here, must be posted in a conspicuous place in every San Francisco worksite that is frequently visited by employees or applicants….

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12 Aug 2014 Add New Jersey to the List of “Ban-the-Box” States

  Yesterday, New Jersey joined 12 other states in its enactment of the “ban-the-box” legislation whereby employers will be prohibited from asking job applicants at the outset about their criminal records. Following New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s execution of the Opportunity to Compete Act (Act), New Jersey became the fifth state – in addition of Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Rhode Island – to impose the “ban-the- box” prohibitions on private-sector employers.   Under the Act, an employer is barred from conducting any pre-application inquiry regarding…

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25 Jul 2014 Illinois Governor Signs Law Banning Criminal Background Questions from Job Applications

  Illinois employers should review their job applications and hiring policies to ensure they comply with a new Illinois law, effective January 1, 2015, that will prohibit questions about criminal history at the initial application stage.   Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has signed the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act into law. The Act prohibits covered private employers with fifteen or more employees and employment agencies from inquiring about or into, considering, or requiring disclosure of an applicant’s criminal history, until an applicant: (1) has…

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23 Jul 2014 U.S. Supreme Court to hear pregnancy accommodation case in its fall term

  Must employers that provide work accommodations to non-pregnant employees with work limitations also provide work accommodations to pregnant employees who are similar in their ability or inability to work?   That is a question that the U.S. Supreme Court justices have decided they will consider in their next term,  agreeing to take up the case of Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc. The issue is whether the federal  Pregnancy Discrimination Act, 42 U.S.C. §2000e(k) requires accommodations for pregnant workers such as “light duty” or…

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15 Jul 2014 New EEOC Guidance – Pregnant Employees May Now Be Entitled To Accommodations

  On July 14, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued its first new comprehensive enforcement guidance regarding the Pregnancy Discrimination Act since 1983, significantly expanding protection for pregnant employees. The EEOC’s guidance goes so far as to state that pregnant employees may be entitled to accommodations even if they do not have pregnancy-related disabilities.   The Pregnancy Discrimination Act requires employers to treat pregnant employees in the same manner as other workers who are not pregnant, but are similar in their ability or inability to…

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03 Jul 2014 Age Discrimination and Technology: Don’t Take a “Mechanized” Approach Letter of the Law: Current Employment Law Issues A-Z

  From robots performing minimally invasive surgical procedures to computerized payroll, almost all businesses look to the latest technology to optimize day-to-day operations.  Employers need to remain mindful, however, of potential employment implications of being “cutting edge.”   For example, in Marlow v. Chesterfield Cnty. Sch. Bd., 749 F. Supp. 2d 417 (E.D. Va. 2010), a terminated school administrator sued her former employer based on circumstantial evidence of age discrimination. Prior to termination, the Superintendent questioned the plaintiff employee’s “21st Century skills.” Additionally, the school corporation…

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10 Jun 2014 Illinois moves to ban criminal background questions from job applications

Private employers in Illinois with 15 or more employees will have to revamp their job applications to remove questions about criminal background history and postpone such inquiries to the job interview or conditional job offer stage of the hiring process under legislation that is expected to be signed into law by the governor.   The so-called “ban the box” measure, titled the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act will take effect January 1, 2015, if, as expected, Governor Pat Quinn approves it. The governor already…

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29 May 2014 The Devil’s in the Details – Make Sure Your Agreements Mirror Your Intentions

In an unpublished decision issued this month, U.S. ex rel. Paige, et al. v. BAE Systems Tech. Solutions & Servs., Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed the district court’s dismissal of two whistleblowers’ False Claims Act (“FCA”) retaliatory discharge claims, while issuing a warning to employers that the meticulous crafting of arbitration provisions within employment agreements is critical to enforcement.   The Relators in this case were former employees of BAE Systems who had alleged they had complained of purported…

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