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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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09 Mar 2016 EEOC Continues Visible Stance on Sexual Orientation Discrimination Protection

  As predicted by many, 2016 will likely be a year the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will continue its push for the expansion of the rights afforded pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.   This month, the EEOC filed its first two lawsuits accusing employers of gender bias for discriminating against employees on the basis of sexual orientation. Specifically, both cases allege employee harassment on the basis of sexual orientation, in addition to retaliation. There are many local and…

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07 Mar 2016 Survey Says: Paternity Leave Significantly Lags Maternity Leave in Ohio (and other good information)

  Barnes & Thornburg’s Ohio office is a member of the Employers Resource Association (ERA). ERA has been doing a monthly survey of its member employers and publishing a nifty infographic of the results that they have allowed us to share with our readers. One recent infographic compares employers’ maternity and paternity leave policies, underscoring the marked difference.  Forty-two percent of companies reported offering a maternity leave policy, while only 15 percent had a paternity leave policy.  Likely, many of those companies not reporting a policy are…

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04 Mar 2016 Should Charging Parties Read Your Position Statement? EEOC Says Yes.

  The EEOC is implementing nationwide procedures that will disclose employer position statements – submitted in response to charges of discrimination – to charging parties and their attorneys upon request during the course of the EEOC’s investigation of the charge.   If the employer’s position statement is provided to a charging party, there is a 20-day period for the charging party to provide a response to the EEOC, but that response will not be provided to the respondent/employer during the investigation, according to a summary…

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01 Mar 2016 How to Respond to a Subpoena Regarding One of Your Employees

  From time to time, an employer will be served with a subpoena for information relating to one of its employees. Most commonly, this is in the context of a domestic dispute in which the employee is involved. A subpoena imposes a legal obligation on the organization receiving it and it is important that it be treated accordingly. Failure to properly respond can result in fines or other sanctions for contempt of court.   Here are some basic steps to help your company respond to…

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29 Feb 2016 Seventh Circuit to Review Wellness Program Under Americans with Disabilities Act

  Employers with incentivized wellness programs should keep a close eye on the Seventh Circuit’s treatment under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of a plastic-maker’s policy that requires medical exams as part of its voluntary wellness program. Previously, a federal court in Wisconsin ruled that the employer’s policy – which required enrolled employees to answer medical history questions, have blood drawn, and have their blood pressure measured – came within the ADA’s “safe harbor” provision because the employees were not at risk of losing…

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29 Feb 2016 State Noncompete Statutes, Your Company, and the Economy: One Perspective

  We write a lot on Currents about noncompetes. Even if your company does not use them, you may find yourself hiring somebody who has signed one with a former employer, and as a Currents reader, you know that the rules about noncompetes vary widely from state to state and you need to have some awareness of how they vary before making decisions. For example, even if an Ohio noncompete specifies the application of Ohio law, if litigation is commenced in another state, the other state’s courts…

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25 Feb 2016 Bill Proposes to Streamline Ohio’s Outdated Antidiscrimination Statutes

  Ohio’s antidiscrimination statutes are currently some of the least friendly in the country to employers. There are long statutes of limitations, individual liability for managers, and uncapped damages. Not to mention, the laws can be incredibly confusing – there are four different ways to file an age discrimination claim and they have different statutes of limitations, remedies and jurisdictions.   Hopefully for employers, this system will soon be corrected. Senator Bill Seitz has introduced Senate Bill 268, the Employment Law Uniformity Act. If the…

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18 Feb 2016 West Virginia Becomes Next Right-to-Work State Over Protest, Veto of Governor

  Employers take note and review your agreements and practices – On Feb. 12, the West Virginia house and senate overrode Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s veto of SB 1 (known as the West Virginia Workplace Freedom Act), which amends the Code of West Virginia to prohibit employment agreements that require membership in a labor organization as a condition of employment, or any requirement that a person becomes/remains a union member as a condition of employment.   Additionally, SB 1 prohibits any requirement that, as a condition…

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17 Feb 2016 How to Minimize Retaliation Claims During the Termination Process

Last week, the EEOC recently released its enforcement data for Fiscal Year 2015. Unsurprisingly, retaliation claims continue to rise and made up nearly 45 percent of all charges filed. This statistic is unsurprising given the relative ease it is for an employee to assert a claim.   In most jurisdictions, the employee must only show he or she made a good faith complaint about an employment practice such as discrimination or harassment and, shortly thereafter, the employee suffered some form of adverse employment action such…

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16 Feb 2016 Refusal to Exempt Employee from “Mark of the Beast” Hand Scanner Proves Damning for Company

  This week the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) scored a victory on behalf of a man who claimed that his former employer failed to accommodate his religious beliefs. Beverly Butcher, an Evangelical Christian who had worked at a mine operated by Consolidation Coal Co. for 35 years, feared that a biometric hand scanner used to clock employees in and out of work was really a mechanism that affixed upon its users the “Mark of the Beast,” as described in the Biblical Revelations. Butcher, who…

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