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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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18 Nov 2016 The World According to Trump: Executives Behaving Badly

  After the watershed election of last week, many people’s emotions are in overdrive. Sadly, some people go too far and unfortunately, some of those people are company executives.   Consider the following tweets from the CEO of tech company PacketSled:   “I’m going to kill the President [] elect.” “Bring it secret service.” “Getting a sniper rifle and perching myself where it counts. Find a bedroom in the whitehouse that suits you motherf***er. I’ll find you.”   Perhaps unsurprisingly, the company dismissed the CEO…

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28 Oct 2016 Arbitration Agreement Enforced Based on Continued Employment

  According to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, two University of Phoenix employees agreed to mandatory arbitration agreements by continuing to work after receiving, but purportedly not electronically signing, the acknowledgment of the agreements.   In the unpublished decision in Aldrich v. University of Phoenix, Inc., the court found that the employees each electronically received the arbitration agreements, which were contained in the employee handbook.  The court also found that the university’s records showed each employee completed the acknowledgment form electronically (both individuals deny…

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28 Oct 2016 Cook County, Illinois, Approves Increased Minimum Wage for Suburban Workers Beginning Next Year

  Employees making minimum wage in suburban Cook County, Illinois, can look forward to a jump in their wage rate in the years ahead, under an ordinance passed by the Cook County Board of Commissioners earlier this week.   Under the tiered increase set forth in the ordinance, the minimum wage will increase according to the following schedule:   An initial increase to $10 an hour effective July 1, 2017 $11 an hour in July 2018 $12 an hour in July 2019 $13 an hour…

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24 Oct 2016 UPDATE: OSHA Announces Second Delay in Enforcement of Non-Discrimination Provisions

  As we noted on the blog in July, OSHA announced that it would delay the enforcement of the controversial non-discrimination provisions of its electronic recordkeeping rules until Nov. 1, 2016. The original effective date was Aug. 10, 2016. We previously mentioned that the first delay appeared to be in response to a lawsuit and motion for preliminary injunction challenging the legality of the regulations filed in the Northern District of Texas (Texo ABC/AGC, Inc. et al v. Dept. of Labor, et al., Civil Action No. 3:16-cv-1998).  …

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20 Oct 2016 Jury Gets to Decide: Are Prolonged Walking, Standing Essential Functions of Employee’s Job?

  A New York federal court has decided to take another look at whether prolonged walking or standing are essential functions of an employee’s job. On Oct. 13, 2016, in the case of Reyes v. Phoenix Beverages, Inc., the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued an order that granted employer Phoenix Beverages’ motion for reconsideration in part.   In issuing the order, the court agreed with the employer’s contention that the court had overlooked portions of testimony provided by the…

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17 Oct 2016 Job Descriptions: Define the Target to Minimize Liability

  Job descriptions can be critical to helping employers avoid liability. Here are a few of my key points from this recent article published by Successful Business News:   Job descriptions define the target for a number of legal purposes – setting forth duties to determine exempt (or not) status under wage/hour laws, accommodation analyses under disability discrimination laws (as Currents blogger Hans Murphy wrote about here), and really any employment dispute that might involve whether the employee was adequately performing duties communicated to her/him (i.e….

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12 Oct 2016 No Matter Who Becomes President, Expect More Change in National Labor and Employment Policy

No matter who occupies the White House in January, the theme of national labor and employment policy is likely to be change.   President Obama has illustrated the powerful influence of the executive on labor and employment policy without the input of Congress. The Obama Administration has raised the minimum wage to $10.10 and granted paid sick leave to approximately 1.5 million employees working under federal contracts. Under President Obama, the DOL changed the salary threshold for finding an employee exempt, the EEOC demanded detailed…

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07 Oct 2016 Employer Strategies for Surviving Election Season

  Once again, the “silly season” is upon us. Every four years, battle lines are drawn and many employees take sides, touting their preferred candidate’s merits over what they regard as the utterly despicable nature of the other candidate. Fortunately for employers (and everyone else who values their sanity) this should be over in about a month. I hesitate only because I lived in Florida during the 2000 election, and if you think things are contentious now – pray the current election cycle doesn’t go…

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21 Sep 2016 Loose Lips Sink Ships

  Late last week, a political firestorm brewed over the hacking of various email accounts belonging to politicians and national security officials. It was reported that the hack revealed that Colin Powell, the almost universally well-liked and well-regarded retired general, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs and Secretary of State, had some less than kind things to say about the current crop of presidential candidates. Powell’s emails, for example, reportedly used provocative words like “national disgrace” in one instance and “greedy” and “unbridled ambition” in…

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03 Aug 2016 Massachusetts Mandates Pay Equity

  Earlier this week, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law “An Act to Establish Pay Equity,” which will go into effect July 1, 2018, and mandates:   No employer shall discriminate in any way on the basis of gender in the payment of wages, or pay any person in its employ a salary or wage rate less than the rates paid to its employees of a different gender for comparable work; provided, however, that variations in wages shall not be prohibited if based upon:…

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