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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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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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09 Dec 2015 EMPLOYERS: The #ElderlyChristmasSongs Hashtag Is Trending On Twitter

We have posted numerous blogs discussing the need for employers to stay on top of what is trending on the Internet. Why? Because trending topics can sometimes lead to controversial discussions that might not be consistent with an employer’s EEO Policy. As a result, we explained that it would be prudent to understand what may be the current topic being discussed around the watercooler.   Here is a follow up to those posts. The #ElderlyChirstmasSongs hashtag is currently trending on Twitter. What is the relevance…

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09 Dec 2015 Illinois Amends Unemployment Act Includes specific misconduct that can disqualify an employee from unemployment benefits

Amendments to the Illinois Unemployment Insurance Act, which take effect on Jan. 3, 2016, may mean employers will have a better chance of winning challenges to claims for unemployment  benefits in instances where employees have engaged in specific types of misconduct.   The changes to the Act, which Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law on Dec. 4, include a new list of specific employee actions that constitute misconduct sufficient to disqualify an employee from unemployment benefits.   For years, the Illinois Department of Employment Security…

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04 Dec 2015 Wage Wars: The Plaintiff’s Bar Awakens

2015 has been a banner year for wage & hour litigation. Roughly 9,000 new federal wage & hour lawsuits were filed as of Sept. 30 – with many thousands more filed in state courts. New federal filings have increased about 450 percent over the last 15 years, according to a recent study by Seyfarth Shaw. What’s more, the trend is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.   The problems for employers are at least threefold:   1). Wage & hour issues can be extremely…

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03 Dec 2015 EEOC Issues Additional Guidance on Job Rights for Employees with HIV

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued two separate guidance documents this week addressing employees with HIV. The first of the two documents, “Living with HIV Infection: Your Legal Rights in the Workplace Under the ADA,” is aimed at employees with HIV.  The document assures employees that, for the most part, they have the right to keep their condition confidential, but that they might have to disclose the condition if they are seeking reasonable accommodation, are being evaluated for eligibility for certain employee benefits or…

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30 Nov 2015 Do You Even Lift, Bro? How A Case Of Seemingly Innocent Workplace Bullying Can Blindside Your Company With A Title VII Lawsuit

  Is there anything wrong with a group of employees teasing a male co-worker because he doesn’t like sports? Well, the answer is obvious: of course. Employees should always treat co-workers with respect. But is this conduct unlawful? The answer to this question may surprise you.   Let’s kick off this blog post by discussing two recent federal court cases that shed light on this issue. First up is Woods v. Boh Brothers. In this case, Kerry Woods was employed by Boh Brothers as welder….

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30 Nov 2015 Bad Moon On The Rise: California’s New Fair Pay Act

  Decrying a gender wage gap, the California Legislature has enacted amendments to the state’s pay equity law that could potentially rewrite how pay discrimination cases are litigated in the Golden State. Prior law was modeled after the Federal Equal Pay Act, wherein an employer could look at the incumbents holding the same positions to assess whether men and women are paid equally, taking into account skill and experience. That regime proved too straight forward for Californians.   In its place the legislature has enacted…

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