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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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17 Nov 2014 Even If The Employee Didn’t See or Know About Harassing Behavior, Court Allows Evidence

In a sexual harassment suit, a U.S. District Court Judge will permit evidence of harassing behavior even though the plaintiff employee neither directly saw nor knew about such conduct. The court found that if the employee learned about the conduct while she still worked for the company, then such evidence may be relevant to whether the plaintiff experienced a hostile work environment.  Additionally, the court held that if such conduct was readily known, then the employer had “constructive notice” of the bad behavior, thereby triggering…

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14 Nov 2014 Another Wave of Employment Bills Proposed in Texas

Texas employers take heed — Texan lawmakers have once again been busy drafting bills which could impact you down the road. Accordingly, you should keep an eye on these items as they progress through the legislative process.   Among other things (and after having failed to attain enactment of a state equivalent of the federal Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act last year) current proposals again seek to align state law pay discrimination claims with the federal law. Specifically, S.B. No. 65 and H.B. No. 187…

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14 Nov 2014 New Jersey Employers: Remember Your Notice Requirements

As we near the end of the year, employers doing business in New Jersey should remember some key notice requirements. First, by no later than January 1, 2015, New Jersey employers will need to post the updated Wage and Hour Law Abstract poster (which is on the second page). The poster must be conspicuously displayed and include the new minimum wage increase, which goes into effect on January 1, 2015. The new minimum wage will be $8.38 per hour.   Second, on or before December…

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10 Nov 2014 Five Distinctive Things About Ohio and Employment Law LETTER OF THE LAW: CURRENT EMPLOYMENT LAW ISSUES A-Z

As an employer lawyer in Columbus, I have to make this week’s letter O be for Ohio. Here are five distinctive things that help define Ohio employment law: Ohio is a very pro-enforcement noncompete state. Two key variations in state laws largely shape the enforceability of noncompetes in a state. One, will courts modify an overly broad noncompete to “make it enforceable?” Two, is continuing employment sufficient consideration to support a noncompete (as opposed to some additional consideration being required)? Ohio has given an unambiguous…

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07 Nov 2014 Recent Case In Michigan Highlights Increased Focus On Transgender Discrimination

As we previously reported, the EEOC recently made history when it filed two lawsuits seeking to protect transgender workers under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). The lawsuits – filed separately in federal courts in Michigan and Florida – allege that the employers engaged in unlawful gender-identity discrimination after they terminated two employees who were transitioning to the opposite sex. Rather than explicitly allege gender-identity discrimination – which is not actionable – the EEOC carefully crafted both judicial complaints to…

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04 Nov 2014 Ebola – How Should Employers Respond?

With the constant news coverage of Ebola quarantines and the CSI-like tracking of the potential whereabouts of potentially infected healthcare workers, it is understandable if employers are concerned about their legal obligations regarding Ebola exposure or quarantine issues. Generally, Ebola is only transmitted by close contact with bodily fluids of an infected individual. However, the virulent nature of the disease as well as the high mortality rate (between 50-90 percent) has caused a media frenzy regarding the potential for an epidemic once the first case…

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03 Nov 2014 Nassar A Year Later: Pennsylvania ADA Retaliation Case Considers Impact of Supreme Court’s Decision LETTER OF THE LAW: CURRENT EMPLOYMENT LAW ISSUES A-Z

Readers will recall a flurry of U.S. Supreme Court decisions as the Court’s term ended in mid-2013. One of these decisions was University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar – this week’s letter of the law is N for Nassar. In Nassar, the Court held that Title VII retaliation claims should be decided under a “but for” rather than “motivating factor” causation test.  This is one of those decisions where almost anybody but an employment lawyer thinks, “That’s nice – what’s that mean?”  Generally…

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31 Oct 2014 EEOC Part of Increasing Focus on LGBT Issues

We seem clearly to be in the midst of a shift towards greater employment protections for LGBT employees, evidenced both by discrimination legislation largely at a state and local level and less directly in the legal environment by developments such as greater acceptance of gay marriage including the Supreme Court’s recent refusal to consider lower court decisions invalidating state statutes prohibiting gay marriage.   EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum recently released this interesting summary of the EEOC’s activities and positions on LGBT issues. Highlights include:   Title…

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30 Oct 2014 Remember the Basics

A new case from the federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals serves as a nice reminder of how prompt and diligent HR work can stamp out an employment litigation claim. The case, Lennox v. Mondelez Global, Inc., involved an employee who filed claims against her employer for sex and race discrimination, harassment and retaliation. Specifically, the employee claimed that during her employment, her co-workers engaged in racially derogatory and sexually offensive comments and actions. These included telling a racially offensive joke in her presence (although…

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29 Oct 2014 Simply Because You Have Been Sued Doesn’t Mean That You Should Sue Back – At Least Not Immediately

  Many employers are shocked when they find out they have been sued by a former employee, and that shock frequently turns to anger. Employers often tell their lawyers that there’s no merit to the employees’ allegations, and they say they want to countersue for “malicious prosecution.” A high profile case that was recently filed in New York state court – Facebook Inc. et al. v. DLA Piper LLP (USA) et al., (Case No. 653183/2014) – provides a brief learning lesson for employers who believe…

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