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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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07 Jun 2016 Telecommuting as an ADA Accommodation

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: an employee calls in to work, states she has a medical condition and can’t come in to work but says she can still do her job from home.   You have your doubts about how much work will get done from home. But you know that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) obliges an employer to provide a reasonable accommodation for a qualified, disabled employee that will enable her to perform the essential functions of the job. And…

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06 Jun 2016 Employers Need Not Tolerate Workers Screaming On the Electronic Street Corner Terminating Employees For Offensive Remarks On Social Media

Over the last few days, the news media have widely covered Bank of America’s decision to fire one of its employees for posting this on the employee’s personal Facebook page:   I hate Facebook for this reason you f***ing n****rs.  And yes, if [you] can call each that well I can too.  ‘F***ing n****r go back to Africa. Get over your pity party. You created this hatred and your own kind that brought your great-great-parents [sic] over here and sold them.  ‘Do something with your…

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03 Jun 2016 EEOC Plows Ahead on Obama’s Initiatives. Next Up: National Origin Discrimination

As President Obama’s second term heads toward the finish line, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) unveiled its latest initiative on June 2 – this time focusing on employment protections for victims of national origin discrimination.   According to the EEOC, national origin discrimination, more than any other protected class, overlaps with other forms of discrimination, particularly race, color and religion. These intertwined factors create sticky legal issues for employers where, for example, Title VII requires employers to accommodate certain religious practices but there is…

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03 Jun 2016 The Seventh Circuit Rejects Class & Collective Action Waivers In Arbitration Agreements

During the last few years, employers have taken comfort in a slew of court decisions that have held – in some form or another – that an arbitration agreement can waive the right to bring a class or collective action. For example, in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, 131 S. Ct. 1740 (2011), the U.S. Supreme Court found that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) preempted state law – and specifically California law – which had expressly prohibited class action waivers. The Supreme Court recently cemented that ruling…

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24 May 2016 SCOTUS Rejects a Rule Neither Employers nor Employees Wanted: Green v. Brennan Decision

In Monday’s Green v. Brennan ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the limitations period for constructive discharge runs from the date the employee gives notice of the intent to resign. The 7-1 outcome was not a surprise following the questioning by the justices during oral arguments. The justices held that the filing period begins when an employee resigns as a result of discriminatory behavior, not when an employer creates an environment so adversarial that an employee feels forced to resign, previously ruled in 2014…

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20 May 2016 New Overtime Rules: All That Glitters Is Not Gold

With apologies to Shakespeare (the above phrase is a slight corruption of his original line from Merchant of Venice, “All that glisters is not gold”), we continue our coverage of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) controversial – to say the least – new overtime regulations. To catch everyone up, earlier this week the DOL issued its final regulations that more than doubled the minimum salary necessary to be considered for the key exemptions from overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). As of…

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18 May 2016 Applications Are Welcome; Drugs Are Not

It’s an oft-heard refrain from many of our clients: “We need good employees.” Not just any employees, but employees who know how to show up for work – consistently and on time. Employees who do good work. And, by the way, who also can pass a drug test.   Maybe it’s the lag effects of legalizing marijuana, or the crippling epidemic of opioids invading our workforce. Regardless, communities and business are seeking (with mixed success) drug-free employees. These challenges are outlined, in small part, in an…

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18 May 2016 UPDATED: DOL Unveils New Overtime Regulations

The Department of Labor (DOL) released its anticipated updated white collar exemption rule on May 18.  The new rule will take effect on Dec. 1, 2016, giving employers more time than anticipated to plan for necessary changes.   Vice President Joe Biden is expected to make the formal announcement in Columbus, Ohio, at the beloved Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream headquarters at 2:30 pm EDT.   According to the White House, “the new rule is expected to extend overtime protections to 4.2 million more Americans who…

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17 May 2016 Department of Labor to Issue Finalized White Collar Exemption Rule on Wednesday, May 18

Amid rampant predictions, late on Tuesday, May 17, the White House has announced that the Department of Labor’s (DOL) highly anticipated new white collar exemption rule will be unveiled on Wednesday, May 18.  The new rule will take effect on Dec. 1, 2016, giving employers more time than anticipated to plan for necessary changes.   According to the White House, “the new rule is expected to extend overtime protections to 4.2 million more Americans who are not currently eligible under federal law, and it is…

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16 May 2016 Ohio Pregnancy Accommodation Bill Much More “Accommodating” to Employees Than ADA

A bill named the Pregnancy Reasonable Accommodation Act was recently introduced in the Ohio Senate (S.B. 301). Although the bill is only in its infancy, it has bipartisan support in the Senate and could quickly be ratified. If the bill becomes law, it could dramatically increase the rights of pregnant employees and place additional unwanted burdens on employers.   The bill would require employers to grant pregnant employees a reasonable accommodation, which could include:   modifying equipment, seating or uniforms providing assistance with manual labor…

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