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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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06 Jan 2016 New York City Protects Caregivers Under Expanded Law

  New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) signed a city council bill (Int. No. 0108-2014-A) on Jan. 5, which expanded the protections of the New York City Human Rights Law against employment discrimination to include “caregiver status” as a protected category. The bill prohibits any employee or job candidate who “provides direct and ongoing care for a minor child or a care recipient” from being subject to adverse employment actions by employers, employment agencies, and labor organizations (and any employees or agents of…

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05 Jan 2016 New Year, New Laws: Welcome to 2016 in California

  In true California fashion, new measures that took effect on Jan. 1 will benefit millions of workers while posing additional challenges for employers. Some are broad, while others have a narrower focus. Below is a round-up of the notable New Year’s laws:   Minimum Wage The state minimum wage increased to $10 perhour. The $10 rate is the highest minimum in the nation—don’t worry Californians, Massachusetts also adopted this rate. For some comparison, the federal minimum is $7.25 perhour. Keep in mind that with the…

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04 Jan 2016 New Year, New Wages

After ringing in 2016, employers may want to skip the eggnog and check their wages to make sure they are properly paying their employees.  On Jan. 1, the minimum wage rates in 14 states went up and all are higher than the federal minimum wage.  These states and rate increases include:   Alaska $9.75 per hour Arkansas $8.00 per hour California $10.00 per hour Connecticut $9.60 per hour Hawaii $8.50 per hour Massachusetts $10.00 per hour Michigan $8.50 per hour Nebraska $9.00 per hour New…

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04 Jan 2016 Friend or Foe?: Terminated HR Director Can Bring Retaliation Case, Court Says

  Most readers are aware that an employee who complains – internally or externally – about wage/hour law violations, or virtually any violation of an employment law, has the statutory right not to have an adverse job action taken against him/her because he/she made that complaint. We have discussed such claims before in the Currents blog, including here. It is the protected class of “People Who Have Asserted Their Legal Rights,” and asserting retaliation claims has long been a growth area.   But what about an…

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31 Dec 2015 What – This is MY Fault?!? Indiana Supreme Court Expands Employers’ Respondeat Superior Liability for the Acts of their Employees

  Earlier this month, the Indiana Supreme Court issued an opinion in Knighten v. East Chicago Housing Authority which expands employers’ liability for acts of their employees under the doctrine of respondeat superior.   In Knighten, the East Chicago Housing Authority contracted with a security company to provide guards at its facility. One of the security guards was romantically involved with a resident of the Housing Authority. The guard got into an argument with the resident while he was on duty and shot her, paralyzing…

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30 Dec 2015 CEO Personally Liable for Company’s Wage and Hour Violations

  As most companies are aware, running afoul of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) can prove extremely costly. What is likely less well-known, however, is that the company itself may not be the only one required to pay up.  As demonstrated by a recent case out of Pennsylvania, C-level executives may also be on the hook personally for a company’s FLSA violations.   In Perez v. American Future Systems, Inc., a federal district court granted the U.S. Department of Labor’s motion for summary judgment…

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23 Dec 2015 A Tale of Two Crews – Companies Failing to Keep Proper Time Records Risk Having Employees Fill the Void

Employees who claim they are entitled to unpaid overtime wages bear the burden of proving that they performed the work for which they were not properly compensated.  However, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) also requires employers to make, keep and preserve records regarding the total hours that their non-exempt employees work during a workweek. When an employer’s records are not sufficient, a court may “relax” the employee’s burden and allow them to demonstrate overtime compensation through other means – notably through their own testimony…

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22 Dec 2015 Nothing Could Be Finer Than To Incorporate In Carolina . . .

If anyone needs another lesson in the benefits of incorporating a company, consider a decision from earlier this week out of the Western District of North Carolina: Magaha v. W&B Trucking Co., et al.   The underlying story is a fairly typical age discrimination claim: longtime worker for company sues after she is permanently laid off at age 67. During her employment, her hours allegedly were cut for no reason and she repeatedly was the subject of age-based jokes and harassment for which she complained,…

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22 Dec 2015 DOJ Announces that Criminal OSHA Prosecutions May Also Include Felony Environmental Crimes

On Dec. 17, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that criminal prosecutions under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), the Mine Safety Act, the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Protection Act and the Atomic Energy Act are being moved to the Environmental Crimes Section of the DOJ’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.   Currently, under the OSH Act, an employer can only be prosecuted for criminal penalties in cases where the employer commits a “willful” violation of OSHA regulations resulting in the death of an…

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14 Dec 2015 Nip it in the Bud: Employer Considerations Following the Debut of Medical Marijuana in Illinois

Medical marijuana dispensaries in Illinois have officially opened their doors to patients who qualify for the drug under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act (the Compassionate Use Act). The program will be in effect for four years, at which point Illinois officials will determine whether the approved uses should be restricted or expanded. While Illinois’ Compassionate Use Act is one of the most restrictive of the 23 states that legalized the use of medicinal marijuana, employers—particularly those with zero-tolerance policies—should be vigilant…

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