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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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11 Sep 2017 Employment Authorization Issues Related to DACA Rescission

  Alert Overview: On Sept. 5, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security began an “orderly wind down” of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA, and a related program, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), were created by executive order of President Barack Obama in 2012. As the result of a lawsuit brought by several states against the DAPA program, DAPA was rescinded after courts determined that legal and constitutional problems existed with the program.   In June 2017, several states informed the U.S. Attorney…

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29 Aug 2017 Illinois Governor Vetoes Employment Bills Aimed at Salary History Inquiries, Wage Issues

  Legislation in Illinois that would have outlawed employers from seeking job applicants’ compensation history has failed to become law, following Gov. Bruce Rauner’s recent veto.   The bill would have amended the Illinois Equal Pay Act and was aimed at the practice of seeking job applicants’ compensation history during the hiring process, which equal pay advocates contended has the effect of perpetuating the salary differences between male and female employees that may have been the result of past discriminatory practices. The proposed changes to…

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25 Aug 2017 Get a Room! Rethink Conducting Employee Reviews Over Lunch

  The other day while visiting my dentist, the oral hygienist told me about her prior job, where her supervisor took her out to lunch to discuss her performance review – and frequently did the same with other employees. She thought this was great, especially since the supervisor had a penchant for really good, high-priced seafood.   While that all sounds tasty, one has to question how effective a performance review can be when attempting to crack open crab legs. This brings me back to…

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24 Aug 2017 Massachusetts Law Latest to Bolster Protection for Pregnant Employees

  On July 27, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which amends the state’s antidiscrimination law to include pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, such as breastfeeding, as protected classes. The new law, which goes into effect on April 1, 2018, also requires employers to provide pregnant employees and new mothers with reasonable accommodations unless such accommodations would cause the employer undue hardship.   Potential accommodations identified in the statute include: more frequent or longer breaks paid or unpaid leave to recover from…

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22 Aug 2017 Ohio House Proposes Hurdles to Hiring Process

  The Ohio House has proposed a bill designed to protect the privacy of employment applicants, but the bill also could making hiring more cumbersome for employers.   House Bill 187 provides that no employer may request an applicant’s Social Security number, date of birth, or driver’s license number before making an offer of employment. This language is problematic for employers, because these are pieces of information an employer uses to check criminal records, driving history, credit history, and history of previous employment with the…

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17 Aug 2017 Seventh Circuit Says EEOC May Press on With Enforcement Efforts After Right-to-Sue

  In a matter of first impression for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (which covers Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana), the Court considered whether the EEOC’s authority terminates upon its issuance of a “right to sue” letter or the dismissal of a subsequent lawsuit on the merits. The Court’s decision in EEOC v. Union Pac. R.R. Co., arose out of the EEOC’s efforts to enforce a subpoena in a matter in which a “right to sue” letter had been issued (after the…

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15 Aug 2017 Single Use of Racial Slur Sufficient to Assert Harassment Claim

  In a recent decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that a single use of a derogatory term can sustain a workplace harassment claim. In Castleberry v. STI Group and Chesapeake Energy Corporation, the parties disputed whether or not a single use of a racial slur could be “severe” enough to support the plaintiff’s claim of harassment and survive a motion to dismiss.   The plaintiffs, two African-American employees, brought claims for harassment, discrimination, and retaliation after they were terminated…

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11 Aug 2017 Survey Says: Almost All Employers Use Background Checks (and Other Notes on Pre-Employment Testing)

    As we sometimes do, we turn our attention to one of the monthly surveys from the Ohio-based Employers Resource Association (ERA). This survey focuses on a number of interesting questions about hiring trends as practices, such as who interviews applicants (24 percent of respondents have peers interview applicants) and what resources are used to find candidates (not surprisingly, online job boards leads at 89 percent).   More on the employment law side, I thought the question showing what percent of employers use various kinds…

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03 Aug 2017 What’s Mine Is Not Yours! School Districts Reminded of FERPA’s Sole Possession Exception

  Many school districts throughout this upcoming school year will likely be faced with requests for student records from various sources. Student records are protected by one of the strongest privacy protection laws in the nation, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). All educational institutions that are recipients of federal education funds are required to adhere to FERPA’s strict regulations prohibiting the release of student information. While FERPA safeguards the release of student education records, parents essentially have an unhindered right to inspect…

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26 Jul 2017 DOL Invites Public Input: Rethinking the Stalled Questions on Overtime

  Perhaps lost amidst other issues in Washington, D.C., the Department of Labor (DOL) announced on July 25 that it is tackling the long-awaited questions about overtime regulations.   The DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is publishing a formal Request for Information that asks for public feedback on the Obama administration’s overtime rule. Once the RFI is published in the Federal Register, the public will have 60 days to submit comments. You’ll remember that the overtime regulations, which doubled the minimum salary levels for…

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