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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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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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15 Feb 2016 Massachusetts and the Impending Death of Noncompetes Part II: De Facto Enforcement of Noncompetes

  Last week I wrote about Massachusetts legislation to ban noncompetes. As I wrote, from our position of representing businesses, we do not have an inherent preference for or against noncompetes because there are business interests on either side of the issues (as the Massachusetts debate illustrates). Rather, our job is to guide clients through the changing and varied rules across the states about noncompetes.  However, I do feel that opponents of noncompetes often make statements about the prevalence of noncompetes, the decline of noncompetes,…

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10 Feb 2016 UNPAID INTERNS –DOES THE Second CIRCUIT’S AMENDED OPINION IN FOX SEARCHLIGHT HELP OR HURT EMPLOYERS?

  Hearst Corporation, publisher of such magazines as Cosmopolitan, ELLE and Harper’s BAZAAR, has filed a motion for summary judgment against the claims of former unpaid interns seeking unpaid minimum wages and overtime based on a recent Second Circuit opinion in the Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc., case. As we have covered in a number of prior blog posts (2013 and 2014), there have been a variety of class action claims filed by unpaid interns in the movie and publishing industries where thousands of individuals…

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08 Feb 2016 Groundhog Day: Declaring the Impending Death of Massachusetts Noncompetes

  For the last three years, we have reported on legislative efforts to ban noncompetes in Massachusetts. You can see each of those reports here. Thus far none of those efforts have been successful. Here again in 2016, legislative efforts to ban noncompetes promise to continue in Massachusetts, with one commentator declaring, “This is the year.”   Our job as business lawyers is to advise clients on how widely varying state laws affect their ability to use noncompetes, then they can make their business decisions…

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01 Feb 2016 UGH!! Now They Want Wage Info on the EEO-1?!?

  On Jan. 29, the White House announced that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will issue proposed regulations to modify the Employer Information Report, known as the EEO-1, to include collecting pay data from employers with more than 100 employees. The EEOC says it needs this pay data to “assist . . . in identifying possible pay discrimination and assist employers in promoting equal pay in their workplaces.”   Currently, the EEO-1 gathers information on employers’ workforces by race, ethnicity, sex, and job category….

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29 Jan 2016 Hold Your Horses: A Plaintiff’s Long Rap Sheet Might Not Get You to the Finish Line

With each case, employers defending discrimination claims know at least these three things: litigation can be expensive, litigation is time-consuming, and the outcome is never a sure thing.   Still, every once in a while, information is revealed that makes the case more thrilling, and little is more exciting than discovering a plaintiff’s criminal past, such as an ADA plaintiff who illegally sold prescription pain medications and also may have engaged in shoplifting.  Sounds like great evidence that should torpedo the plaintiff’s claims, right?  Not…

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26 Jan 2016 The EEOC wants to hear your opinion on retaliation claims under Title VII

  If you would like to add your two cents to the debate about compliance with anti-retaliation provisions in Title VII and other federal non-discrimination statutes, the EEOC is listening.   The EEOC has announced that it has prepared an Enforcement Guidance on retaliation and has now opened the process for public comments.  The EEOC last issued guidance on retaliation back in 1998, so now it is seeking to update its guidance to incorporate recent rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court and lower federal courts…

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22 Jan 2016 Meowing Dogs and Barking Cats: Supreme Court Grants Certiorari to Determine Service Advisors’ Eligibility for Overtime Pay

  The Supreme Court recently granted certiorari in Navarro v. Encino Motorcars, LLC, after the Ninth Circuit found that the FLSA exemption for overtime pay does not apply to car dealership service advisors. The relevant FLSA exemption applies to “any salesman, partsman, or mechanic primarily engaged in selling or servicing automobiles.” Service advisors diagnose vehicle service needs and suggest additional services for the maintenance of vehicles. They are paid on a commission basis only, and receive neither an hourly wage nor a salary.   Car…

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