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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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15 Apr 2016 EEOC Consent Decrees Highlight That Employers Must Prevent ADA Claims — Or Pay the Consequences

Public consent decrees that resolved several recent Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) disability discrimination lawsuits are a stark reminder that clear policies and training can help employers to avoid such consequences.   A common theme of the recently-settled EEOC lawsuits is that once the EEOC files a lawsuit it will demand a public settlement that includes substantial financial terms and non-monetary relief including posting of notices in the workplace and mandatory training.   In a case that the EEOC filed against a paper manufacturing company…

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07 Apr 2016 Morbid Obesity Not Necessarily a Disability Under Americans with Disabilities Act

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals held this week that obesity in and of itself is not covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Instead, obesity generally is a physical characteristic and “qualifies as a physical impairment (and thus would be covered under the ADA) only if it falls outside the normal range and it occurs as the result of a physiological disorder.” (Emphasis added.)  Even morbid obesity has to have physiological underpinnings to qualify as a disability, ruled the Eighth Circuit.  Such disorders…

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06 Apr 2016 Don’t Call a Transgender Employee “It”

By now, most people know enough about the law to know that you can’t discriminate against a worker because of characteristics like race, sex, age and disability. Those are pretty obvious and those laws have been in place for as long as most of us can remember. However, society and laws are constantly evolving, and there are always new issues employers need to watch for, both to ensure all of their employees are protected from discrimination and to make sure they are protecting themselves from…

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05 Apr 2016 Ok…Are You Sitting Down?

More than five years ago, the California plaintiffs’ bar launched a series of lawsuits against various retailers alleging that they were violating a part of the California wage orders that require suitable seating to be available to workers. For the mercantile industry, the regulations require:   (A) All working employees shall be provided with suitable seats when the nature of the work reasonably permits the use of seats.   (B) When employees are not engaged in the active duties of their employment and the nature…

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01 Apr 2016 Survey Says: Telecommuting Increasingly Common But Somewhat Ad Hoc

  The latest survey infographic from our friends at the Employers Resource Association (ERA) looks at flexible work schedules and telecommuting among its largely Ohio-based membership. The survey indicates that telecommuting is very common, but fewer than 1 in 5 of respondents have a formal telecommuting policy. While a formal policy may not be necessary, it is usually advisable to have an individual agreement with telecommuting employees. Also, remember that telecommuting could be a reasonable accommodation for employees with a disability.

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31 Mar 2016 New Pregnancy Poster Available for California Employers

  The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has released a new pregnancy poster for employers to use in satisfying posting requirements under California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave law. This law applies to all California employers with five or more employees.   The new poster, which is directed toward pregnant employees, replaces the “Notice A” that California employers have been required to use until now. The two posters share the same title, “Your Rights and Obligations as a Pregnant Employee.”  The effective date of…

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31 Mar 2016 University of Iowa Wins Trial Against Immigration Lawyer Claiming Age Discrimination

  A unanimous jury recently determined that the University of Iowa’s (UI) decision not to hire a 55-year-old man did not amount to age discrimination. In 2010, Donald Dobkin applied for a teaching position at UI’s College of Law. When Mr. Dobkin was not chosen for the position, he brought a lawsuit, claiming he was passed over because of his age. He also asserted that UI hired a less experienced person for the job because she was younger. Following a full trial, a jury returned…

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30 Mar 2016 Minnesota Lawmakers Consider Paid Family Leave Bill

  Earlier this month, a group of Minnesota DFL State Representatives introduced a bill that would create a paid family leave program for employees working for private employers. The bill, H.F. No. 2963, would allow eligible employees to receive up to 12 weeks of paid leave each year under the following circumstances:   Serious health condition of the employee that renders him or her unable to perform the function of his or her position with the employer; Prenatal care or incapacity due to pregnancy, childbirth…

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23 Mar 2016 EMPLOYERS BEWARE! – DOL’S FINAL OVERTIME RULE COMING SOON!

  As we have covered in the past blog posts last summer and updated in the fall, the Department of Labor (DOL) has proposed a controversial change to the overtime exemptions for white collar workers which would drastically increase the amount of the minimum salary required to be qualify as an employee “exempt” from overtime. The big question on the minds of companies all over the country has been when will the rule be effective?   According to the Semi-Annual Regulatory Agenda of Fall 2015,…

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21 Mar 2016 2015: EEOC Charges Rebound

  The EEOC charge filing statistics for 2015 are out. Last year at this time, we were looking at the trend of charges continuing to drop from their peak in 2010 and were hoping the trend would continue. Unfortunately, the drop in the overall number of charges stopped and troublingly is going back up:     As you can see, the chart tracks the number of filed EEOC charges going back to the late 1990s. For the most part, the number of charges ebbs and…

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