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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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05 Jul 2018 E is for Equal Pay: Pay Data Reporting And The Shifting Meaning Of “Equal Work”

Pay equity among men and women has been a “front and center” topic for years.  President Obama made it one of the high priorities for his administration and signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act as his first piece of legislation in 2009.  While the issue and its surrounding policies are nothing new today (nor were they in 2009), it is still leaving employers scratching their heads and is a fitting topic for the next letter up in our Letter of the Law Series, the…

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26 Jun 2018 D is for Drugs: Employee Drug Use and What You Should Know

For those left wondering what is really going on in the complicated world of employee drug use (illegal, legal, and “semi-legal”), I thought I would spend this episode of Letter of the Law highlighting a few issues employers face when they know of or suspect drug use by their employees. 1. Drug Testing – Whether and when employers can require drug testing is a loaded question.  Private employers long understood that they were often within their rights to conduct testing for new hires, based on…

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24 May 2018 Letter C: Co-Workers With Criminal Records? Your Workforce May Be More Open-Minded Than You Think

Letter C is coming at you with a double-punch: Are employees comfortable with their Co-workers having Criminal records?  At least one survey indicates that the answer is yes.   A recent survey commissioned in part by the Society for Human Resource Management finds that a majority of workers say they are willing to work with individuals with criminal records.  The survey aptly notes that, as unemployment continues to decrease, individuals with criminal records might serve as a previously overlooked labor pool.  The survey also found…

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24 Apr 2018 B is for “Bias” – Is Bias The Not-So-New Cause of Discrimination?

  Starbucks made national news earlier this month when two black men were arrested after refusing to leave a store.  News accounts reported that a store manager called 911 after the men remained in the store and asked to use the restroom but had not yet made a purchase.  The fallout from this event was notable to say the least: protests, calls for boycotts, and even an apology from the CEO.  The incident further has sparked a discussion on implicit bias, especially after the national…

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05 Apr 2018 Accommodate Much? Restrictive Seventh Circuit Leave Ruling Lives On

  Letter of the Law: A Revival!  No employment lawyer worth her salt would choose anything other than “Accommodation” for the Letter A.  And so it begins….   HR professionals know all too well that the ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities.   While accommodations often include overcoming physical obstacles such as inaccessible workplace areas and unwieldy equipment, they more commonly pertain to workplace rules. For example, employers are asked to change when or where work is performed, leave…

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05 Apr 2018 Letter of the Law – A Revival!

  Some time ago, our dutiful leader over here at BT Currents, Bill Nolan, brought you a fun and clever series, Letter of the Law, highlighting current employment issues from A to Z.   Well it’s been some time (ok, more than just some – I am pretty sure I helped Bill with the series back when I was in law school) and we are bringing it back!   Needless to say, the letter of the law has changed since then – and because we…

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16 Feb 2015 Some HR Numbers That Should Be Zero In Your Organization LETTER OF THE LAW: CURRENT EMPLOYMENT LAW ISSUES A-Z

This week’s letter is Z, and Z is for zero. As I have written here before, there is a lot of gray in employment law, so some black and white answers are refreshing every now and then.  Here are some employment law related questions to which your organizations answer should be:  zero.   How many supervisors are handling information from medical providers relating to employee health information? (This should go through HR. Supervisors are on a need to know basis, such as knowing an employee’s…

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02 Feb 2015 7 Questions Employers Should Ask Themselves Every Year LETTER OF THE LAW: CURRENT EMPLOYMENT LAW ISSUES A-Z

This week Y is for year – a good guideline for the longest employers should go without asking themselves these questions to make sure they are taking advantage of opportunities to minimize employee-related liability:   Do you have accurate job descriptions, regularly signed off on by the employees, that will help you manage and defend ADA, wage and hour, and other employment issues and claims?   Have you reviewed each employee classified as exempt to ensure proper classification under the Fair Labor Standards Act, including…

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26 Jan 2015 X-Rays Shipped Out of State Help Employee Keep Issue of FLSA Coverage Alive LETTER OF THE LAW: CURRENT EMPLOYMENT LAW ISSUES A-Z

We have been working through the alphabet with employment law topics and the dreaded X week has arrived, but fortunately there is a 2014 FLSA case involving X-rays that demonstrates the difficulty for an employer of defeating FLSA coverage. In Gashlin v. International Clinic Research, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida denied the employer’s motion for summary judgment asserting that Wendy Gashlin was not covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act. Ms. Gashlin, a clinical research employee, claimed she worked more…

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20 Jan 2015 Words That Signal Opportunities to Avoid Liability LETTER OF THE LAW: CURRENT EMPLOYMENT LAW ISSUES A-Z

One of the themes in my posts and on Currents generally is not missing out on easy liability avoidance opportunities. I want to make a stronger statement than the employment lawyer’s usual, “Hey if you do X and Y, you can minimize employee liability,” though certainly that is true and valuable. Rather: EMPLOYERS MISS OUT ON EASY LIABILITY AVOIDANCE OPPORTUNITIES, thereby diverting time, money and energy from building their organization and bettering their goods and services. Here and here are recent examples. These are lost…

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