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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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29 Dec 2017 As Predicted, DOL Proposes Changes to Tip Pool Rule

As predicted in an earlier post, the U.S. Department of Labor has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which would alter its 2011 rule on tip pooling.  The 2011 rule prevented employers from requiring tipped employees from sharing their tips with traditionally non-tipped workers.  Under the proposed rule, employers who directly pay tipped employees the full minimum wage may require those employees to pool their tips with traditionally non-tipped employees.   The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) generally requires employers to pay employees the minimum…

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28 Dec 2017 Nursing Mothers Protected under Discrimination Laws, says Connecticut Federal Court

  As we’ve recently outlined, the Illinois Nursing Mothers in the Workplace Act and Illinois Human Rights Act mandates that employers must be prepared to accommodate pregnant employees and nursing mothers. A recent ruling in Connecticut federal court should stand as a reminder to employers that Illinois is not the only state where the rights of pregnant employees and nursing mothers are protected.   Jill Grewcock was a nursing mother who sued her employer, Yale-New Haven Health Services Corporation, for sex discrimination and retaliation in…

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28 Nov 2017 Part 2: Sex, Power, and the Workplace – Preventing the Backlash

  Are workplaces at risk for a backlash? How do we preserve and continue to advance opportunities for women when their male coworkers are worried? Worried about exactly where the line is between friendliness and sexual harassment at work? A recent New York Times article raised this question with men at work, who wondered about their own behavior, and also raise concern for their female coworkers.   In general, although women at work acknowledge the recent conversation about sexual harassment is overdue, they now worry…

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28 Nov 2017 OSHA Extends Electronic Recordkeeping Submission Deadline to Dec. 15

  As we have covered in a prior post, the electronic recordkeeping deadline was moved from July 1, 2017, to Dec. 1, 2017, after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) filed a notice of proposed rulemaking. After the two-week debacle in August, where OSHA was forced to take down its own electronic portal for submission of OSHA records due to a potential compromise of user information, the final rule postponed the deadline for two more weeks until Dec. 15, 2017. OSHA states that this…

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28 Nov 2017 Accommodate Pregnant Employees and Nursing Mothers, or Expect Consequences

  Employers must provide pregnant employees and nursing mothers with necessary workplace accommodations or face possible legal liability in court. That’s the lesson to be learned from a recent case that is one of the first to analyze and apply certain provisions in Illinois law.   In Spriesch v. City of Chicago, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois recently ruled that a fire department paramedic could proceed with at least some of her claims against her employer alleging…

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07 Nov 2017 (Informal) Survey Says: Most Employers Not Waiting for Courts to Decide Whether Title VII Covers Sexual Orientation

  As we have discussed here and here at Currents, one of the hotly contested employment litigation issues of our decade is whether Title VII’s prohibition on discrimination “because of sex” prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Sex discrimination was an afterthought when Title VII was passed in 1964, added late in the Congressional process (reportedly added by opponents who thought it would cause Title VII to fail), and it is unquestioned that Congress was not thinking about sexual orientation at the time. Since that…

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03 Oct 2017 Will Ohio Pass a Law to Protect LGBTQ Rights?

  There has been widespread activity in the U.S. Courts of Appeals in 2017 regarding whether Title VII includes sexual orientation as one of its protected classes, but the answer is still unresolved on a national level. In an effort to provide protections where federal law does not necessarily do so, 20 states and the District of Columbia have banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment settings. However, Ohio is not one of those 20 states, and past efforts to amend Ohio’s…

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30 Sep 2017 Ohio ‘Reverse’ Racial Discrimination Ruling Reinforces Employers’ Advantage in Constructive Discharge Cases

  Our clients are typically employers, but this decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (the appellate court for Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee) on Sept. 28 illustrates one piece of advice we would give an aggrieved employee if asked: Don’t quit! (We’re not changing sides, by the way.)   Steve Fletcher, a white registered nurse, sued his employer alleging racial discrimination, and his story has many hallmarks of discrimination cases we see every day:   A new supervisor who, it…

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29 Sep 2017 The Gradual But Decided Shift to a Much More Complex World of Employment Law

  On Oct. 4, my colleagues (and fellow Currents bloggers) Jeanine Gozdecki and Doug Oldham will be presenting a program focused on increasing complexity in the employment law arena. Employment law accelerated in the 1960s when Title VII of the Civil Rights Act was passed, as well as many similar state discrimination laws. At that time, things seemed pretty cut and dried – treat people equally to avoid liability. Many factors have made the world of employment law far more complicated since then:   The number of protected…

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22 Sep 2017 Teacher’s ADA, Age Discrimination Claim Given New Life by Sixth Circuit

  A school district’s decision to eliminate a teacher’s position while the teacher was out on Family Medical and Leave Act (FMLA) leave may have been pretext to disability discrimination, according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.   While on approved FMLA leave, a high school economics teacher was notified by the school’s principal that the economics position would be one of several eliminated due to budget cuts. All teachers in the eliminated positions received notices that their contracts would be…

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