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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law

01 Mar Sex, Power & the Workplace: Protecting Women who Work

With the Oscars in the spotlight this weekend, the lens of the #MeToo movement is re-focusing on Hollywood and the entertainment industry.   But, the challenges of sexual harassment transcend industry and geography.  Even Oprah, in accepting her recent Golden Globes award, powerfully reminded us about victims beyond Hollywood:  those who “had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue.”   Fundamentally, it is about those who work, at all levels, and it is incumbent on employers, legally, ethically, practically, to maintain a work…

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28 Feb U.S. Supreme Court to Take Up Independent Contractor Arbitration Case

  Our sister labor and employment blog, Labor Relations, recently posted about an important case on the horizon for those in the transportation industry. This week, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal of New Prime, Inc., a transportation company that is asking the Court to overrule the First Circuit and find that an independent contractor’s class action claim should be compelled to arbitration.   Employers who rely on arbitration agreements with their employees and independent contractors will want to pay attention as the…

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28 Feb Dodd-Frank Whistleblowers: Supreme Court Holds Internal Complaints are Not Enough

  Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court held in the Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers case  that the definition of a “whistleblower” under the Dodd-Frank Act (“Dodd-Frank”) does not cover internal complaints made only to the company.  The employee is required to file a formal complaint with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) to qualify for the increased remedies and greater protections as compared to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (“Sarbanes-Oxley”).  The Court found no ambiguity in the express definition of a “whistleblower”…

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27 Feb Another Court Reverses Course: Second Circuit Holds Title VII Forbids Sexual Orientation Discrimination

  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued an opinion on Monday of this week and explicitly held that Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.   In the closely watched case, Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc., a full panel of the Second Circuit revisited the question of sexual orientation coverage under Title VII.  In its decision, the Court cited the history and intent behind the passage of Title VII – namely, that it was intended to be a…

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26 Feb Beginning of a New Trend? Illustration of EEOC Stats Confirms Plummeting Number of Charges

  A few weeks ago, our team wrote about the latest charge filing statistics published by the EEOC.  The agency posts records of charges going back to 1997 – 20 years of data.  Since a picture speaks a thousand words, here is the latest information relative to the total number of charges filed with the agency since 1997:     Stepping back and putting the new numbers into their relative place, a few things are made clear.  The overall rise and fall of charges over…

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