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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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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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05 Jun 2017 Court Invites EEOC’s Opinion on Whether Title VII Prohibits Sexual Orientation Discrimination

  We recently updated you on the Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc., case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The Second Circuit granted en banc review of the plaintiff’s claim to consider whether Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Now the court has taken an additional step of inviting the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to give its two cents.   The EEOC is already on record in other courts arguing that Title VII covers sexual orientation…

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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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30 May 2017 Another Review of the EEOC’s Subpoena for ‘Pedigree Information’

  In a prolonged battle over the issue of whether an employer must respond to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) subpoena for “pedigree information” in connection with its investigation of a sex discrimination charge, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ordered the District Court in Arizona to review the matter again.   In 2013, former employee Damiana Ocho filed a charge of discrimination against McLane Company, alleging that the company discriminated on the basis of sex when it fired her…

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26 May 2017 Second Circuit Takes Second Look at Sexual Orientation Discrimination Under Title VII

  The issue of whether Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is in the hot seat once again, this time being considered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit as part of an en banc rehearing granted in Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc. d/b/a Skydive Long Island. The grant of the rehearing, to include all active judges and those senior judges involved in the original appeal, comes after the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New…

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25 May 2017 Need to Check an Employee’s Criminal Background? Tread Carefully

  Federal laws do not prohibit employers from asking about a job applicant’s criminal history. But equal employment opportunity (EEO) and federal laws prevent employers from discriminating against job applicants on the basis of this information. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has guidelines that establish the following rules:   Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits employers from treating people with similar criminal records differently because of their race, national origin, color, sex or religion Title VII also prohibits employers from using policies…

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