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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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25 Aug 2014 The Interactive Process Under the ADA – Are you engaging in it?

  We’ve been seeing a lot of cases lately where employers are finding it difficult to dispose of ADA claims before trial. It’s not what it used to be where you could often show an employee was not disabled under the ADA and likely prevail on summary judgment. With the broader scope (or interpretation of) a disability under the ADA, employers often find themselves arguing over whether an employee with a disability is qualified for a position, or whether an accommodation is truly reasonable.  …

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22 Aug 2014 California Governor Signs Bills Impacting California Wage Suits

  California Governor Jerry Brown signed two bills earlier this week intended to clarify California’s wage laws. The first of these bills, A.B. 2074, clarifies the statute of limitations to file suit for liquidated damages in relation to a violation of California’s minimum wage payment law. Specifically, existing law allows an employee to bring a civil lawsuit against an employer for the unpaid balance of wages/compensation owed to that individual, as well as to recover liquidated damages equal to unpaid wages plus interest in an…

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22 Aug 2014 Home Sweet Home? Employers and Employees Are Just Scratching the Surface of How Work and Home Fit Together LETTER OF THE LAW: CURRENT EMPLOYMENT LAW ISSUES A-Z

  Employers and their lawyers spend a lot of time focused on current developments and medium term trends, as they must. But after you have worked in employment law for a while, it is interesting to stop and reflect every now and then on the inexorable long term trends that shape our workplaces. (And that is actually pretty useful in effectively addressing shorter term issues.)  Two stand out for me:   1. Regardless of how one spins year to year blips, private sector unions have…

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21 Aug 2014 Back to School for Michigan Employers – Minimum Wage Increase

  As the kiddies get ready to go back to school, employers too should freshen up on a few items that are about to change in Michigan, including the minimum wage. Back on May 28, we reported on this blog that Michigan had passed The Workforce Opportunity Wage Act, by which the minimum wage will increase from $7.40 to $9.25 per hour over the next four years. The first incremental increase takes effect on September 4, when the minimum wage will increase to $8.15 per…

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15 Aug 2014 When “I Love You” May Be Too Much

  Normally, the words “I love you” make a person feel good, happy, confident and host of other emotions. However, in the employment context, saying these three little words can cause a host of potential issues for both employers and employees. Typically, as employment attorneys, we see these words leading to claims of sexual harassment. But, now it appears saying “I love you” (among other things) also can create a claim of religious discrimination.   In June of this year, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity…

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15 Aug 2014 It Depends: The Top 3 Inherently Gray Areas of Employment Law LETTER OF THE LAW: CURRENT EMPLOYMENT LAW ISSUES A-Z

Fact-specific.   Case by case.   These are just two of the terms that stand for one of the frustrating (for employers) truths of many areas of employment law:  there are few black and white answers. There are endless shades of gray, and in honor of this week’s letter of the law (G), we recognize three common gray areas and some specific questions that must be asked when addressing situations under each. The fact that there are so many questions that need to be answered…

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14 Aug 2014 Could Corporate Wellness Programs Land A Business in Hot Water?

The EEOC recently filed suit against an employer after it established a self-improvement program based on the “Onionhead” belief system.   The Onionhead belief system is related to the Harnessing Happiness Foundation. The Harnessing Happiness Foundation is a “501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to emotional knowledge and intelligence, conflict resolution and life handling skills for all ages.” The Foundation’s website offers the following description of the belief system: “Onionhead is part of Harnessing Happiness. We used an onion as a medium to express peeling our feelings,…

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13 Aug 2014 Notice of San Francisco’s Fair Chance Ordinance Required as of August 13, 2014

  Companies located or doing business in San Francisco that have a total of 20 or more employees worldwide should prepare to provide notice of San Francisco’s Fair Chance Ordinance starting today, August 13, 2014. The Fair Chance Ordinance restricts inquiries regarding a job applicant’s criminal history and imposes other related requirements, including that notice be provided to employees and applicants. The required notice, available here, must be posted in a conspicuous place in every San Francisco worksite that is frequently visited by employees or applicants….

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12 Aug 2014 Add New Jersey to the List of “Ban-the-Box” States

  Yesterday, New Jersey joined 12 other states in its enactment of the “ban-the-box” legislation whereby employers will be prohibited from asking job applicants at the outset about their criminal records. Following New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s execution of the Opportunity to Compete Act (Act), New Jersey became the fifth state – in addition of Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Rhode Island – to impose the “ban-the- box” prohibitions on private-sector employers.   Under the Act, an employer is barred from conducting any pre-application inquiry regarding…

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11 Aug 2014 OFCCP PROPOSES RULE TO COLLECT COMPENSATION DATA FROM FEDERAL CONTRACTORS

  On August 6, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking requiring certain federal contractors to submit an annual Equal Pay Report on employee compensation. Under the proposed rule, Companies that file EEO1 reports, have more than one hundred employees and hold federal contracts or subcontracts worth more than fifty thousand dollars would need to submit an Equal Pay Report each year to the OFCCP. The Equal Pay Report would “provide summary data…

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