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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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21 Jul 2016 OSHA Announces Delay in Non-Discrimination Provisions, Higher Fines Still Coming in August

  As we have previously covered in a recent blog post, the Occupation Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) new electronic recordkeeping rules also contain controversial anti-retaliation provisions which originally would have been effective on Aug. 10, 2016, for federal OSHA states (and up to six months later in state plan states). Last week, OSHA announced that it was delaying the enforcement until Nov. 1, 2016, of the new provisions which also include prohibitions on blanket post-accident drug testing policies and safety incentive programs.   One…

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20 Jul 2016 Classic Conundrum: Protecting Employees from Themselves

Last week, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against a furniture company in North Carolina for firing a pregnant employee, allegedly because her job involved using potentially dangerous chemicals.   According to the EEOC’s regional attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina, “pregnant women have the right to make their own decisions about working while pregnant, including the risks they are willing to assume. Companies must not impose paternalistic notions on pregnant women, as doing so can result in unlawful discrimination.”   In the case filed against RTG…

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15 Jul 2016 10th Circuit ADA Ruling Drives Home the Importance of Written Job Descriptions

  A cancer survivor’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lawsuit against a prospective employer was rejected this week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Kilcrease v. Domenico Transportation Co. The case involved a truck driver who, after successfully overcoming cancer, applied for work with a trucking company, Domenico Transportation. The job required applicants to (1) hold a Class A commercial driver’s license, (2) have three years of recent and verifiable mountain driving (the company is located in Colorado), (3) have…

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14 Jul 2016 Posting a Resume is Now Required in Illinois to Receive Jobless Benefits

  Jobseekers in Illinois who apply for unemployment benefits on or after July 17, 2016, will have to register for employment services and post at least one resume to the state’s job search website before they can receive unemployment payments (unless an exemption applies), according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).   Although the IDES is characterizing its announcement as a “reminder” that applicants for unemployment insurance benefits must show they are looking for work by registering for employment services, the requirement to post…

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11 Jul 2016 More Flu Vaccine News – EEOC Alleges Hospital’s Mandatory Flu Vaccine Policy Violates Title VII

  As summer temperatures soar, one might think the last thing to worry about is the upcoming flu season. And while that may be true in most respects, the flu is on the minds of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). A lawsuit filed by the EEOC sheds light on the issue for healthcare employers who impose mandatory flu vaccine requirements on employees as a condition of continued employment.   The EEOC alleges in EEOC v. Mission Hospital, Inc. – a lawsuit that includes class…

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08 Jul 2016 Court Provides Roadmap for Managing ‘Intolerable’ Behavior From Employee with Disabilities

  What is an employer to do when a long-standing employee with a known anxiety disorder engages in a public display of suicidal gestures and disruptive behavior? Don’t act in haste, but if careful consideration of the situation leads to a termination, the decision-making process may withstand scrutiny in court.   That’s the outcome in a recent ruling from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Felix v. Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation, which provides a thorough and detailed analysis of a challenging situation involving an employee…

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06 Jul 2016 Survey Says: 73% of Employees Taking FMLA Are Non-Exempt, and Other Tidbits

  The latest survey from our friends at Employers Resource Association of its members focuses on employers’ practices and employees’ usage. Here are some of the findings:   Employers have several options for how they count the applicable 12 month period. Not surprisingly, the great majority (63 percent) of employers use the rolling 12-month period. 9 percent of respondents’ employees have used Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave during the last year. This includes substantial numbers of employees taking intermittent leave and substantial numbers taking longer term…

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05 Jul 2016 NLRB Hits Ceiling in Continual Push to Expand Scope of Protected Concerted Activity

  Whether the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is issuing rulings invalidating employee handbook policies that encourage civil behavior among employees or attempting to get discharged employees reinstated after profanity-laced Facebook rants against their supervisors, the board seems determined to push the limits of what can be considered “protected concerted activity” under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Regardless of whether an employer is a union shop or not, under the NLRA employers may not take adverse action if the employee’s conduct qualifies as protected…

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27 Jun 2016 What Ohio Employers Need to Know About Medical Marijuana

  Earlier this month, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed House Bill 523 into law, making Ohio the 25th state to legalize medical marijuana.  Those with HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s, cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, or one of several other medical conditions may qualify for medical marijuana with their doctor’s recommendation.  Many employers may be concerned that come September when the law goes into effect, employees will start coming into work under the influence, affecting both safety and productivity in the process.  They likely don’t need to worry, though –…

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24 Jun 2016 Minneapolis Employers Brace for Paid Sick Leave

At the end of May, the Minneapolis City Council passed a controversial ordinance that will require all employers with at least one employee working in the city of Minneapolis to provide sick leave. The ordinance will become effective on July 1, 2017.  Highlights of the ordinance include:   Eligibility:   – Eligible employees include any employee who works within the geographical boundaries of the City and works at least 80 hours in a year.  Eligible employees include full-time, part-time, and temporary employees so long as…

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