Follow Us
twittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube
Subscribe to the BT Currents Blog

By signing up, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Recent Posts
The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
0 0

07 May 2015 Pitfalls in Citing “Advice of Counsel” in Decision Making

A case decided in April underscores the risks and unanticipated consequences of referring to “advice of counsel” in defending adverse employment actions. A former hospital employee sued in federal court for alleged sexual harassment, assault, retaliation and FMLA violations. In discovery, both the hospital’s CEO and its human resources manager testified not only that they sought the advice of the hospital’s employment attorney when considering whether to place the employee on extended probation, but also that the hospital’s counsel recommended the specific action taken. The…

READ MORE
0 0

06 May 2015 Employers Won’t “Like” Ruling Allowing Class Action Notifications via Social Media

A New York federal court recently approved a proposal that would allow potential class members to be notified of a collective action via Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. In Mark v. Gawker Media LLC, a class of former unpaid interns claims Gawker violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York State Labor Law. The plaintiffs are unaware of any mail or email address for 55 of the former Gawker interns who are potential class members, so they proposed reaching out to the potential class…

READ MORE
0 0

06 May 2015 Legislators in House and Senate Propose Gradual Increase in Minimum Wage to $12

On May 1, a group of 200 Democratic lawmakers introduced the “Raise the Wage Act,” a bill that would increase the federal minimum wage to $8 per hour on Jan. 1, 2016, and by $1 in every succeeding year. Under the bill, the federal minimum wage would reach $12 per hour in 2020. Sponsors of the bill include 32 Senators and 160 members of the House of Representatives. Supporters of the legislation indicated that the wages of 38 million workers would increase by more than…

READ MORE
0 0

01 May 2015 Reference Searches Through Social Media Do Not Create FCRA Claims

In their recruitment efforts, many employers will utilize social media to find suitable candidates for job openings. And, often employers will use the social media tools available to perform reference checks and/or verify a candidate’s employment history, experience and education history. Recently in California, a group of individuals challenged these social media background searches by suing the professional social media website, LinkedIn Corporation, because the information gleaned about these persons allegedly violated their rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).   In Sweet v….

READ MORE
0 0

01 May 2015 Breaking News: Employees Are Still Posting Inappropriate Content On Facebook. So Let’s Just Learn From Their Lack of Judgment

A Texas veterinarian recently posted a horrific image of herself on Facebook holding a cat killed by an arrow through its head.  Along with the image (too graphic to include here), the employee posted the following:   “My first bow kill lol.  The only good feral tomcat is one with an arrow through it’s (sic) head!  Vet of the year award… gladly accepted. “And no I did not lose my job.  Psshh.  Like someone would get rid of me.  I’m awesome.” Well, she was wrong. …

READ MORE
0 0

30 Apr 2015 Paradigm Shift: Triple Standard of Reasonable Accommodations

The old reliable rules seem less reliable these days. It is no longer enough to treat all employees the same. We have entered an era of interactive processes, individualized assessments and reasonable accommodation.   The term “reasonable accommodation” flows most easily in connection with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as we note its 25th anniversary.  But, as a reminder, it also applies to the religion clause of Title VII and now, thanks to a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, we need to consider it in…

READ MORE
0 0

30 Apr 2015 Alleged Victim of Sex Discrimination Recovers $13 Million

Earlier this month, in the case Robertson v. Hunter Panels LLC et al., a Pennsylvania federal jury awarded a female employee $13 million after finding that she had been a victim of harassment and gender discrimination.  During the six-day trial, members of the jury heard evidence that the plaintiff had earned significantly less than the male who previously occupied her position. There was also evidence that the plaintiff’s supervisors had belittled her in front of other employees. Finally, there was evidence that when the plaintiff…

READ MORE
0 0

29 Apr 2015 Unanimity and Clarity: U.S. Supreme Court Outlines Standards for Judicial Review of EEOC Conciliation

In a unanimous decision this morning, the U.S. Supreme Court held that courts have limited authority to second-guess the EEOC’s conciliation efforts in enforcing Title VII – ending a circuit court split, and clarifying the “proper scope of review.”   In Mach Mining LLC v. EEOC, the parties battled over the EEOC’s conciliation tactics after the federal agency found probable cause that Mach Mining had discriminated against a group of female employees based on sex. The employer accused the EEOC of failing to bargain in…

READ MORE
0 0

29 Apr 2015 Supervisors Are Employees Too … to the Tune of $6.6 Million

What termination of a single employee can justify a $6.6 jury award?  (The punitives award was reduced by the lower court from $15.9 million. The employee also received $2.2 million in non-punitive damages). According to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the federal appeals court for western states including California, the following elements justify a lower court jury’s award in this amount:   Discharge found to be in retaliation for suing for overtime pay, reporting violations to OSHA and Department of Transition, and inciting other…

READ MORE
0 0

29 Apr 2015 U.S. Supreme Court to Provide Guidance on Constructive Discharge Statute of Limitations Period

On April 27, the Supreme Court granted the Petition for a Writ of Certiorari filed by former Englewood, Colorado Postmaster, Marvin Green, agreeing to consider the following question:   Under federal employment discrimination law, does the filing period for a constructive discharge claim begin to run when an employee resigns, as five circuits have held, or at the time of an employer’s last allegedly discriminatory act giving rise to the resignation, as three other circuits have held?   The petition arose after the U.S. Court…

READ MORE