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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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12 Aug 2016 Seventh Circuit Addresses EEOC’s Stance that Sexual Orientation is Protected by Title VII

  In a recent opinion, the Seventh Circuit held that a plaintiff who claimed she was discriminated against on the basis of her sexual orientation had failed to state a claim under Title VII, reaffirming the Seventh Circuit’s stance that sexual orientation is not a protected classification. However, Judge Rovner’s opinion presents a more nuanced opinion than the Court has taken on the issue in the past, acknowledging logical difficulties in the state of the law.   The plaintiff was a former community college employee…

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22 Jul 2016 North Carolina Governor Keeps ‘Bathroom Bill’ Mostly Intact, Pending Court Review

  As a follow-up to my previous post about transgender bathroom access in the workplace, earlier this week, on July 18, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed into law a revised ‘bathroom bill’ that leaves intact the provisions that sparked national controversy by limiting protections for transgender people.   The bill was revised to restore workers’ ability to use state law, and not just federal law, to sue for employment discrimination. However, it leaves intact the provisions that require transgender people to use public bathrooms…

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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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15 Jul 2016 10th Circuit ADA Ruling Drives Home the Importance of Written Job Descriptions

  A cancer survivor’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lawsuit against a prospective employer was rejected this week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Kilcrease v. Domenico Transportation Co. The case involved a truck driver who, after successfully overcoming cancer, applied for work with a trucking company, Domenico Transportation. The job required applicants to (1) hold a Class A commercial driver’s license, (2) have three years of recent and verifiable mountain driving (the company is located in Colorado), (3) have…

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23 Jun 2016 OSHA’s New Mandatory Electronic Recordkeeping Rule The Hidden Requirements for Anti-Retaliation and Discrimination Require Action Before Aug. 10, 2016

As you may be aware, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published a new final rule revising the recordkeeping and reporting requirements. OSHA’s summary of its new final rule can be found here and the full text of the recordkeeping regulations can be found here.   While a lot of buzz is occurring around the new electronic submission requirements that become effective Jan. 1, 2017, there are significant developments which are not explicitly referenced in the regulations which require action by Aug. 10,…

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03 Jun 2016 EEOC Plows Ahead on Obama’s Initiatives. Next Up: National Origin Discrimination

As President Obama’s second term heads toward the finish line, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) unveiled its latest initiative on June 2 – this time focusing on employment protections for victims of national origin discrimination.   According to the EEOC, national origin discrimination, more than any other protected class, overlaps with other forms of discrimination, particularly race, color and religion. These intertwined factors create sticky legal issues for employers where, for example, Title VII requires employers to accommodate certain religious practices but there is…

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24 May 2016 SCOTUS Rejects a Rule Neither Employers nor Employees Wanted: Green v. Brennan Decision

In Monday’s Green v. Brennan ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the limitations period for constructive discharge runs from the date the employee gives notice of the intent to resign. The 7-1 outcome was not a surprise following the questioning by the justices during oral arguments. The justices held that the filing period begins when an employee resigns as a result of discriminatory behavior, not when an employer creates an environment so adversarial that an employee feels forced to resign, previously ruled in 2014…

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13 May 2016 A Smorgasbord of Termination Reasons That Might Be Used Against You

One of the most frequently asked questions in employment law counseling is “Can I terminate Employee X?” The better and more salient question is “For what reason(s) should I terminate Employee X?”   Not all reasons are created equal. There is a perception that the more reasons provided the greater the strength of the employer’s defense. And it’s true. Each discrete reason proffered by the employer must be rebutted. So, the more, the better? No, says the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in a recent…

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10 May 2016 55-Year-Old Employee Fails to Establish Age Discrimination Claim against 3D Printing Company

Last week, a Minnesota Federal District Court granted summary judgment in favor of a New Mexico company accused of age discrimination. Optomec, Inc., is a New Mexico-based corporation that develops and manufactures 3D printing systems. While Optomec is headquartered in Albuquerque, it has also has a facility in St. Paul, Minnesota.   In 2013, Thomas Nash, who was 53-years-old at the time, began working for Optomec as a paid intern in the company’s St. Paul location. During his internship, Nash received average to “tepid” reviews….

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06 May 2016 Transgender Bathroom Access Addressed in New EEOC Fact Sheet

In the midst of news coming out of North Carolina, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued a new fact sheet that addresses bathroom access rights for transgender employees. The fact sheet’s key point is that transgender employees have the right to equal access to bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity. This right is provided by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s protection against sex discrimination—even if there is state law to the contrary.   Employers should note that, as…

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