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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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20 Feb 2017 Man’s Best Friend in School – What’s Next For Administrative Remedies?

  Do individuals have to exhaust administrative remedies outlined under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) prior to bringing suit for damages in federal court? That is the question asked of the U.S. Supreme Court in Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools during oral arguments at the end of October. The Supreme Court is expected to rule this summer.   The case arose when a student with cerebral palsy wished to use a service dog, which helped her live independently, at school. Initially, the…

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17 Feb 2017 Trump Promises to Re-tool Travel Ban After Last Week’s Hit from Ninth Circuit

  During an unprecedented, unscheduled press conference Thursday afternoon, President Donald Trump promised a new and improved travel ban in the name of national security. Last week, the president’s travel ban suffered a major setback from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Its decision in State of Washington v. Trump, upheld the arguments made by the states of Washington and Minnesota—which challenged the president’s executive order, in part, because the order negatively affected their state universities’ employees and students.   President Trump’s…

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13 Feb 2017 Hotel California Checks Out of State Forum Selection Clauses You can file your lawsuit any time you like, but you can never leave . . .

  Multistate employers know that the state of California is hostile to restrictive covenants and generally regard non-compete agreements as unenforceable. Over time, some multistate employers have developed a two-step process (one of which has been scrapped by a newly adopted law) to protect their interests in California and sidestep the state’s roadblocks:   Require employees to sign confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements so that even if unfaithful employees subsequently leave to work for a competitor, the employer still has some recourse to limit the damage…

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03 Feb 2017 Lessons Learned: FMLA-Protected Employees can be Disciplined in the Event of Misconduct

  Absent a contractual obligation to the contrary, common sense dictates that if an employee lies about the reason for an absence, an employer can terminate the employee for the lie. But, what if an employer (perhaps mistakenly) believes the reason for the absence was a lie, when in fact the reason for the absence (allegedly) is for an FMLA-protected reason? According to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Frederick Capps v. Mondelez Global LLC, that’s ok, too, so long as…

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30 Jan 2017 Survey Says: About Half of Employers Offering Paid Sick Leave

  From time to time we share the interesting surveys our friends at Employers Resource Association take from their employer members on timely topics. This one is pretty straightforward:   53 percent of the employers surveyed offer paid sick leave, or PTO, that can be used for sick leave Generally this is for full-time employees only 30 hours is a very common cutoff to determine who is full time Most companies providing paid leave offer at least some at time of hire   Paid sick or…

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26 Jan 2017 Texas Supreme Court to Decide Whether Same-Sex Spouses Are Entitled to Benefits

  Traditionally, marriage is about romantic concepts like love and companionship. But it also has a practical component, such as employee benefits eligibility. Same-sex couples across the country won the right to marry as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015. However, the practical benefits of same-sex marriage are under fire in Texas and the Texas Supreme Court could limit same-sex couples’ right to spousal benefits.   In 2013, same-sex marriages were not allowed in Texas, but the…

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26 Jan 2017 Drill Deeper Than “Fit” as Reason For Termination

  It is common for employers to tell us “he is just not a fit here.” My recent article in another publication discusses how, while it is certainly true that some employees are not a good fit in your organization, it is almost always advisable to break down and articulate the more specific pieces that make up “fit” for liability prevention purposes. Read more here. Bill NolanWilliam A. Nolan serves as the Managing Partner of Barnes & Thornburg LLP’s Ohio office, which he opened in 2009. He is a…

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20 Jan 2017 Teachers File Proposed Class Action Suit Claiming Grants Were Illegally Converted Into Loans

  On Jan. 6, two teachers, Ashley Ford and David West, filed a projected class action against the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, a Pennsylvania-based student loan servicer, which the teachers allege has been improperly converting federal teaching grants into loans for its own financial gain. Such fraudulent action is alleged to be in direct violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.   Ford and West claim that the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, which is the only servicer of awards to teachers…

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18 Jan 2017 Writing Employee Policies to Address Different State and Local Laws: Three Strategies [VIDEO]

  We frequently report on the Currents blog about employment issues being addressed at the state and local levels, the two most recent examples being Ohio’s legislation on employees with concealed carry permits and efforts in Ohio to limit local minimum wage ordinances. This trend is likely to only grow with the expanding divisions in the country. This quick video discusses three different non-exclusive strategies for drafting policies to cover jurisdictions with different rules:   Have a single policy that complies with all laws (i.e. follow the strictest…

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13 Jan 2017 Are Employers Required to Predict Employee Behavior? Wrongful Death Suit Sparks Discussion

  On Jan. 10, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit heard oral arguments involving a wrongful death suit that had been dismissed by an Illinois federal judge. The plaintiff, mother of the deceased victim, sued Home Depot USA Inc. and one of its garden suppliers for failing to protect her daughter from a series of abusive behavior directed at her by her supervisor, Brian Cooper, who allegedly used his superior position to coerce the victim into accompanying him to his sister’s wedding…

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