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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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09 Jun 2017 Lessons Learned – Engaging in Protected Activity Does Not Shield An Employee From Termination

  Navigating the FMLA, the ADA, and a myriad of state laws poses challenges for even the most knowledgeable HR professional. But as one court recently reminded us in Ibewuike v. The Johns Hopkins Hospital, employers can hold employees accountable for misconduct (such as violating leave policies) unless of course, it would be reasonable, under the facts and circumstances of the particular situation, to excuse the misconduct.   In Ibewuike, the employee applied for leave under the FMLA in connection with the anticipated birth of…

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08 Jun 2017 Ohio Court Finds New Local Minimum Wage Law Unconstitutional on Technicality

  A Franklin County, Ohio, judge has invalidated a new Ohio law that prohibited municipalities from enacting pro-employee laws raising the local minimum wage and guaranteeing additional employee rights. The law was found to be unconstitutional, but only on procedural grounds.   Ohio Senate Bill 331 started as an animal welfare bill – it regulated the sale of dogs from pet stores, prohibited cockfighting and bearbaiting, and outlawed bestiality. However, during the lame duck legislative session in December 2016, the House Finance Committee added diverse…

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06 Jun 2017 Ohio State University Considers Cutting Benefits for Unmarried Same-Sex Partners

  On June 9, the Ohio State University Board of Trustees will consider whether to stop allowing employees’ unmarried same-sex partners to obtain health insurance and other benefits. If the board approves the change, then unmarried same-sex partners already enrolled in benefit plans would keep those benefits through 2018, but no new unmarried same-sex partners would be allowed to obtain benefits.   This decision is not entirely novel. Miami University made a similar change at the end of 2016, same-sex partners must be married to…

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05 Jun 2017 Are You Recording This Conversation?

  Most of us expect to engage our colleagues without concern that our workplace conversations are secretly recorded. However, today everyone has a smartphone that readily allows for spontaneous photographic, video, and audio recording.   Until recent times, attorneys generally advised clients that it was appropriate to insist that workplace conversation not be recorded. Employers took the position that a team culture did not support recording conversations; colleagues need to be able to speak freely with each other at work.   That argument just lost-out…

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05 Jun 2017 ‘Hey Boss, F*@& You!’ Profanity-Laced Facebook Tirade Not Enough to Get the Axe

  A recent case out of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals demonstrates yet again the perils of firing an employee based on a seemingly inexcusable Facebook tirade. The matter involved an employee for a catering company who was upset that his supervisor admonished him and others in a “raised, harsh tone” about “chitchatting” with co-workers as guests arrived at a catered event. In response, the employee used his cell phone to make a public post on Facebook that said: “Bob is such a NASTY…

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02 Jun 2017 Trump-Era Immigration Worksite Raid Threats May Bring New Requirements for California Employers

  Amidst fears of increased workplace immigration raids during Trump’s presidency, California’s legislature recently introduced a bill that, if passed, would ban employers from providing workplace access to immigration and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials without a warrant. This bill could have enormous affects for California, where more than 2.6 million undocumented workers reside. Notably, almost one in every 10 California workers is undocumented, and undocumented workers make up almost half of California’s agricultural workforce.   The measure, AB 450, called the Immigrant…

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01 Jun 2017 Six Statements That May Mean Your Business Will Keep an Employment Lawyer Busy

  I recently posted elsewhere six things I hear employers say that, while understandable in some cases, may actually cost the employer money in legal fees (and, with some of them, judgments or settlements). Here are the statements and more info on why they are problematic:   “Noncompetes aren’t really enforceable. I’ll just hire him.” “I’ll just get a document off the internet.” “I’ll write it myself, then my lawyer can review it.” “Other employees are tired of having to cover for him being sick.”…

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31 May 2017 Four Potential Developments for Ohio Employers in the Workers’ Compensation Budget Bill

  The Ohio House recently passed House Bill 27, which contains the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) two-year budget. While the budget bill now goes to the Senate, the following aspects of the bill are promising for Ohio employers:   Statute of Limitations Change   An injured worker currently needs to file a workers’ compensation claim within two years of the injury date or forever be barred from pursuing said course. However, House Bill 27 requires filing within one year of the date of injury….

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23 May 2017 OSHA Delays July 1 Electronic Reporting Requirement

  Authored by Don Lawless, Mark Kittaka and Patricia Ogden   Last week, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that it “is not accepting electronic submissions of injury and illness logs at this time, and intends to propose extending the July 1, 2017 date by which certain employers are required to submit the information from their completed 2016 Form 300A electronically.” No additional detail or explanation was provided. OSHA states that additional updates will be posted to the agency’s recordkeeping website when they become…

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22 May 2017 College Not Required to Alter Academic Program for Reasonable Accommodation

  After his requests for additional accommodations were denied, a student at the Lamar Institute of Technology (LIT) who had medical issues related to a brain injury withdrew from the institution and filed suit. After a recent loss in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the student has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for consideration.   The student suffered from an anoxic brain injury that caused him to have memory problems. Similar to the accommodation analysis in an employment setting, the college…

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