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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law

15 Aug Common Sense Prevails in California Wage Victory, Falters in PAGA Action

Section 226 of the California Labor Code requires employers to provide and maintain accurate wage statements, including all applicable pay rates. A plaintiff is “injured” “if the accuracy of any of the items… cannot be reasonably ascertained from the four corners of the wage statement.”   In the recent case Raines v. Coastal Pacific Food Distributors, Inc., an employee sued her employer complaining that she could not readily figure out her overtime wage rate without using a calculator. She also brought a similar PAGA action…

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13 Jul Binary Bathrooms? Schools Emerge As Fulcrum On This Issue

Deliberations over the adoption of policies regarding bathroom access can be tricky, especially when the disputes involve young children and concerned parents.  Within the last year, profound disagreement has arisen among what schools should do regarding transgender students and bathroom policies.    In February, President Donald Trump’s Education Department confirmed that it is no longer investigating civil rights complaints from transgender students barred from school bathrooms that match their gender identity. The Education Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Hill in response to questions from The Washington Post…

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03 Jul Establishing Direct Threat: How to Leverage the “Individualized Assessment”

Successfully asserting the Americans with Disabilities Act’s (ADA) direct threat affirmative defense is difficult.  It is disfavored because of the fear that well-intentioned concerns of injury will otherwise result in qualified disabled individuals being excluded from work.  A recent federal trial court decision, involving an operator at an ExxonMobil chemical plant shows how an employer can establish a direct threat disqualification in the face of conflicting medical opinions. The case is Spencer-Martin v ExxonMobil Corp., M.D. La., No. 16-789 (June 15, 2018).   The ADA’s…

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29 Jun Round Up: Court Rules Rounding Payroll System Permissible Even When (a slight) Majority of Employees Lose Time

A California state appeals court recently held that two California hospitals’ practice of rounding all employee time punches to the nearest quarter-hour was allowed, even when a majority of employees lost time. California law permits employers to round time entries when the payroll rounding system is neutral on its face “without an eye toward whether the employer or the employee is benefiting from the rounding,” and when it does not “systematically undercompensate employees over time.”   In this case, one hospital’s rounding payroll system subtracted time…

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28 Jun Seventh Circuit Revisits Contractor Misclassification

Courts in the U.S. have been grappling with the misclassification of independent contractors for more than 20 years. As our readers well know, there is no standardized test to determine whether a worker is a contractor. Various courts and government agencies all have adopted their own criteria. Fortunately, most of them overlap, but there can be critical differences in the factors and how they are applied.   In 2015, the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) firmly supported the “economic…

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