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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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24 Mar 2017 Easy Come, Easy Go: Appeals Court Reverses $2.6 Million Award in ADA Case

    In a helpful case for employers, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a $2.6 million jury verdict in Stevens v. Rite-Aid Corporation (Case No. 15-277), holding that the employer could not reasonably accommodate a pharmacist’s fear of needles.   The case began in 2011, when Rite-Aid started requiring that all of its pharmacists be able to administer immunization injections to customers. But, the new job requirement presented a problem for Rite-Aid pharmacist Christopher Stevens; he suffers from the fear of needles, known…

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27 Feb 2017 Federal Lawsuit Over Mass Layoffs Not on the Menu for California Restaurant Group

  A California restaurant chain recently got lucky and avoided a proposed class action filed by former workers who claimed the chain failed to provide proper notice before laying off approximately 3,000 employees.   The lawsuit alleged that the Catalina Restaurant Group’s April 2015 restructuring – the chain was sold, restaurants were closed and layoffs occurred at corporate headquarters – left about 3,000 employees out of a job without prior warning. Additionally, the suit claimed that those affected were offered no severance pay and were…

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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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