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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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08 Jul 2014 Missouri Law Paves Way for Increase in Unpaid Volunteers on Public Works Projects

  Missouri Governor Jay Nixon recently executed H.B. 1594, which allows for workers on public works projects to agree in writing to volunteer their services and avoid being classified as “employed” for purposes of such work on the projects.  In doing so, the volunteer will not be entitled to the prevailing wage rate for any work performed. H.B. 1594 expressly defines a “workman who agrees in writing to volunteer his or her labor without pay” as someone who “volunteers his or her labor without any promise…

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07 Jul 2014 Outlier…or NLRB Shift on Social Media Policies?

  The National Labor Relations Board has spent the past few years attacking social media policies as overbroad, but perhaps a shift in that policy is at hand. Last week, an NLRB administrative law judge ruled that Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and its parent company, Landry’s Inc., did not violate employees’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act with their social media policy. Former Bubba Gump employee Sophia Flores claimed that the Landry’s Inc.’s social media policy from its employee handbook had a chilling effect…

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03 Jul 2014 Age Discrimination and Technology: Don’t Take a “Mechanized” Approach Letter of the Law: Current Employment Law Issues A-Z

  From robots performing minimally invasive surgical procedures to computerized payroll, almost all businesses look to the latest technology to optimize day-to-day operations.  Employers need to remain mindful, however, of potential employment implications of being “cutting edge.”   For example, in Marlow v. Chesterfield Cnty. Sch. Bd., 749 F. Supp. 2d 417 (E.D. Va. 2010), a terminated school administrator sued her former employer based on circumstantial evidence of age discrimination. Prior to termination, the Superintendent questioned the plaintiff employee’s “21st Century skills.” Additionally, the school corporation…

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03 Jul 2014 Supreme Court Sides with Hobby Lobby in Contraception Case

  On June 30, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties could claim a religious exemption to the requirement that they provide health insurance for contraceptives. At issue in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell, was a provision of the Affordable Care Act which required companies with more than 50 employees to cover the costs associated with various types of contraceptives. The owners of these entities challenged this mandate saying it forced…

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01 Jul 2014 New California Employment Laws Take Effect on July 1, 2014—Increased Minimum Wage, Expanded Paid Family Leave and Further Limits on Background Checks

  California employers should be prepared to comply with several new laws that take effect on July 1, 2014. These new laws will increase California’s minimum wage from $8.00 to $9.00 per hour, expand the list of family members for whose care employees are eligible to receive Paid Family Leave wage-replacement benefits and further limit the background checks that state and local agencies can perform.  A more complete description of the new laws taking effect on July 1, 2014, can be found here.    

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27 Jun 2014 U.S. District Court Strikes Down Indiana’s Ban On Same-Sex Marriage

  On June 25, 2014, U.S. District Judge Richard Young ruled that Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  Judge Young’s decision in Baskin et al v. Hogan et al can be found here. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has requested a stay of Judge Young’s decision pending an appeal. In the meantime, local Indiana courts have starting issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.   Unless Judge Young’s decision is stayed or overturned on…

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24 Jun 2014 California Supreme Court Provides Sweeping Class Waiver Guidance: Accepts Concepcion, Overturns Gentry; Rejects D. R. Horton Theory; Leaves PAGA Loophole

  On June 23, 2014, the California Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated arbitration decision in Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC (Iskanian).  In a far-reaching opinion, the Court accepted the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion (Concepcion) holding class action waivers in arbitration agreements are enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). This part of the opinion was a victory for California employers in that it overturned a prior California Supreme Court decision, Gentry v. Superior Court that…

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23 Jun 2014 Opinions About Noncompetes: Actual Supporting Data Not Required

  I have expressed skepticism here before about theories about the impact of noncompetes on the economy and human behavior. Maybe the expressed theories are right and maybe they’re not, but it just seems that the actual support behind the theories is quite limited.   So of course I had to read “Noncompete Clauses Increasingly Pop Up in an Array of Jobs” in none other than the New York Times.  And as expected it is a series of anecdotes, though there are “plenty of other examples,” and…

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20 Jun 2014 FMLA Protections Should Include Same-Sex Spouses Everywhere, says DOL

  Same-sex spouses everywhere in the United States–even if they live in states that don’t recognize their marriages—should be entitled to the benefits and protections under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), according to a proposal announced earlier today  by Labor Secretary Thomas Perez.   This announcement is consistent with the Obama Administration’s aggressive use of the powers of the Executive Branch and with the Supreme Court’s decision last summer in United States v. Windsor, which struck down key provisions of the “Defense of…

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