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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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16 Jan 2015 Will the EEOC Get its Wings Clipped? Mach Mining’s Challenge to the EEOC before the Supreme Court

  On Jan. 13, during oral argument, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia echoed businesses’ skepticism about the EEOC’s pre-suit settlement strategy, saying  “there is considerable incentive on the EEOC to fail in conciliation so that it can bring a big­deal lawsuit and get a lot of press and put a lot of pressure on this employer and on other employers. There are real incentives to have conciliation fail.”   Justice Scalia made his comments in the case of Mach Mining L.L.C. v. Equal Employment…

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15 Jan 2015 Hope For Employers: Some Courts Are Requiring The EEOC To Thoroughly Investigate Allegations Before Siding With Employees

The EEOC, in theory, is supposed to be neutral. It is supposed to collect complaints from individuals who believe that their employers have wronged them, provide the employers with an opportunity to respond, investigate the complaints further if the circumstances warrant it, and provide the parties with an opportunity to conciliate their disputes short of litigation. Many employers feel that the EEOC is hardly neutral, however. They say that, rather than acting as an unbiased third party, the EEOC sees itself as a pro-employee agency…

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14 Jan 2015 Pregnancy Non-Discrimination Poster Now Required in Illinois

The Illinois Department of Human Rights has just published its “Pregnancy and Your Rights in the Workplace” poster for employers to use in order to comply with recent amendments to the Illinois Human Rights Act. Effective Jan. 1, 2015, Illinois now requires employers of one or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth, or medical or common conditions associated with pregnancy. The Illinois Human Rights Act amendments also included a requirement for employers to post a notice issued by the Illinois Department of…

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09 Jan 2015 EEOC to Consider “Best Practices” for Prevention of Workplace Harassment

While most employers likely think of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission first and foremost as an enforcer of federal non-discrimination laws through its charge investigations and litigation, the Commissioners at the EEOC appear to be opening the New Year with a focus on preventative measures.   The Commissioners are scheduled to hold a meeting on Wednesday, Jan.14, 2015, to consider the subject of workplace harassment and specifically how employers can prevent and address harassment.   The Commission’s meeting at its Washington, D.C., headquarters, which…

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09 Jan 2015 On Break, But Still on Call: “On Call” Rest Breaks are Permissible Under California Law

On Dec. 31, 2014, the California Court of Appeal, Second District reversed a $94 million judgment in a wage-and-hour class action against ABM Industries Incorporated (ABM) in Augustus et al. v. ABM Security Services Inc.  The judgment was initially granted by a California trial court in 2012. ABM appealed the damages award, which was granted on summary judgment in a set of consolidated class actions alleging ABM’s policy of requiring security guards to carry a radio during their breaks effectively put them “on call” during…

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07 Jan 2015 The Interns Strike Back: An Update – Court Approves $5.85 Million Conde Nast Settlement, While Appeals Remain Pending in Other Cases

Major magazine publisher Conde Nast closed out the year with preliminary court approval of its $5.85 million settlement of a lawsuit that alleged that thousands of  individuals should have been paid at least the minimum wage for time they spent as interns for magazines such as The New Yorker.  The settlement is expected to cover more than 7,000 former interns. Thus, the parties are able to resolve their dispute without additional time, expense and uncertainty of litigation. The settlement, which will be subject to a…

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05 Jan 2015 California Class Action an Occasion for All Employers to Review Vacation Practices LETTER OF THE LAW: CURRENT EMPLOYMENT LAW ISSUES A-Z

Many employers will have noted the decision last month where a federal court in California held that approximately 65,000 class members could maintain a class action against J.C. Penney’s under California law. That lawsuit challenges the company’s policy that employees forfeit accrued vacation benefits on termination. The issue in this decision was whether the plaintiffs met the commonality tests that allow a matter to be advanced as a class action rather than as a series of individual actions – individual actions that likely would not…

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29 Dec 2014 The Year in Social Media: Four Big Developments from 2014

As social networking has become entrenched as a tool for doing business and not just a pastime of our social lives, employers, government agencies, and even academia have taken big steps in 2014 to define how social media can and cannot, or should and should not, be used. Below is a summary of some of the big developments in social media in the workplace this year.   The EEOC Turns Its Attention to Social Media The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has turned its attention toward…

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29 Dec 2014 THREE MOST UNDERUTILIZED EMPLOYMENT LIABILITY PREVENTION TOOLS LETTER OF THE LAW: CURRENT EMPLOYMENT LAW ISSUES A-Z

This week U is for under utilized – the readily available liability prevention tools that, in our estimation, employers most often neglect to use to their advantage.   The extra step.  Before terminating an employee with a medical issue, that is. As we have written here and here, much FMLA and ADA liability is preventable if you will methodically work through the communications steps that years of case law tells us courts are looking for. The sooner you start, the sooner you can finish. I…

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23 Dec 2014 Avoid Going From Ho! Ho! Ho! To Oh No! No! No!

The employer throws a holiday party as a chance for its employees to interact with one another on a more social level, have an opportunity to get to know significant others and reward the team for a year of hard work. Unfortunately, this holiday celebration mixed with alcohol and far less formal interaction between colleagues can lead to both employers and employees doing a collective post-party shout of “Oh No!”   For whatever reason, there seems to be a loss of good sense and responsibility…

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