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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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09 Mar 2017 Unwise Old Sayings? Watch Out For Stereotypes That Might Trigger An Age Discrimination Lawsuit

  By this point, most employers know not to make explicit ageist remarks such as calling an employee Grandpa, saying an employee is old, or inquiring about when an employee will retire. However, employers should also be mindful that less explicit remarks, even if not intended to be ageist, can evoke certain stereotypes and result in allegations of age discrimination.   In a recent Eighth Circuit case, an employee sued for age discrimination after his termination. His supervisor had noted that tasks requiring “physical skill…

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08 Mar 2017 Transgender Bathroom Case Sent Back to Lower Courts by Supreme Court

  On March 6, 2017, the Supreme Court canceled scheduled arguments in a case involving the bathroom rights of transgender students in public schools. The Court sent the case back to the 4th Circuit to reconsider the issue in light of the Department of Justice and Department of Education rescinding Obama-era guidance clarifying protections for transgender students.   The case, Gloucestor County School Board v. G.G., involved a transgender high school student seeking to use the boys’ restrooms at his high school. The plaintiff –…

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03 Mar 2017 By the Numbers: Women in the Workforce

  In honor of Women’s History Month, the U.S. Department of Labor posted some thought-provoking statistics about working women.  While employers already know women play an important role in the U.S. job market, these figures demonstrate just how significant female workers are in our economy.  Below are some of the fascinating numbers about working women:   Nearly half of the U.S. workforce is comprised of women, with more than 74.6 million women employed in civilian jobs Almost 10 million women are business owners and account…

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01 Mar 2017 Call-In Procedures and Intermittent FMLA

  Intermittent FMLA leave and attendance issues: an employer’s nightmare. There are so many different rules that employers must follow, inquiries that can and cannot be made, and potentials for employee abuse.   Imagine this scenario: An employee is approved for intermittent FMLA leave to care for a sick child. The employer informs the employee about its process for administering this leave, which includes calling both the organization’s attendance line at least 30 minutes prior to missing work. Despite being informed of this process, the…

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01 Mar 2017 EEOC Subpoena Rejected by Tenth Circuit

  In its opinion issued in EEOC v. TriCore Reference Labs, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit offered hope to employers within that Circuit facing overly broad information requests and/or subpoenas from the EEOC. Specifically, the Tenth Circuit upheld the denial of the EEOC’s effort to enforce such a subpoena, weighing in on the boundaries placed on the EEOC’s administrative subpoena powers.   By way of background: In this matter, as part of its investigation into a single charge of sex/pregnancy discrimination…

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27 Feb 2017 Federal Lawsuit Over Mass Layoffs Not on the Menu for California Restaurant Group

  A California restaurant chain recently got lucky and avoided a proposed class action filed by former workers who claimed the chain failed to provide proper notice before laying off approximately 3,000 employees.   The lawsuit alleged that the Catalina Restaurant Group’s April 2015 restructuring – the chain was sold, restaurants were closed and layoffs occurred at corporate headquarters – left about 3,000 employees out of a job without prior warning. Additionally, the suit claimed that those affected were offered no severance pay and were…

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21 Feb 2017 A Charge-d Atmosphere: A Few Pointers When a Current Employee Files a Charge

  Most employers have had to respond to a discrimination charge filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and/or a corresponding state agency. A large percentage of such charges are brought by terminated employees, claiming that a termination was discriminatory. When that happens, employers gather documentation, provide requested information and prepare a position statement. A significant amount of the time, the charge is dismissed and the employer prevails.   But some charges are brought by current employees, alleging discrimination in the form of:…

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20 Feb 2017 Man’s Best Friend in School – What’s Next For Administrative Remedies?

  Do individuals have to exhaust administrative remedies outlined under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) prior to bringing suit for damages in federal court? That is the question asked of the U.S. Supreme Court in Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools during oral arguments at the end of October. The Supreme Court is expected to rule this summer.   The case arose when a student with cerebral palsy wished to use a service dog, which helped her live independently, at school. Initially, the…

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17 Feb 2017 New Nominee, New Path to Confirmation – Acosta Draws Initial Support From Management and Labor

  In sharp contrast to his predecessor, new Labor Secretary nominee Alexander Acosta has received initial support from both management and labor. Management views Acosta’s private sector experience combined with his political views as reason to believe that he will adopt a more management-friendly stance. Labor is looking to Acosta’s past government service as a sign that he will enforce labor laws. In a statement yesterday, Acosta said, “I thank the president and his staff for their confidence in me and I am eager to…

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17 Feb 2017 Trump Promises to Re-tool Travel Ban After Last Week’s Hit from Ninth Circuit

  During an unprecedented, unscheduled press conference Thursday afternoon, President Donald Trump promised a new and improved travel ban in the name of national security. Last week, the president’s travel ban suffered a major setback from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Its decision in State of Washington v. Trump, upheld the arguments made by the states of Washington and Minnesota—which challenged the president’s executive order, in part, because the order negatively affected their state universities’ employees and students.   President Trump’s…

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