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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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15 Jul 2014 New EEOC Guidance – Pregnant Employees May Now Be Entitled To Accommodations

  On July 14, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued its first new comprehensive enforcement guidance regarding the Pregnancy Discrimination Act since 1983, significantly expanding protection for pregnant employees. The EEOC’s guidance goes so far as to state that pregnant employees may be entitled to accommodations even if they do not have pregnancy-related disabilities.   The Pregnancy Discrimination Act requires employers to treat pregnant employees in the same manner as other workers who are not pregnant, but are similar in their ability or inability to…

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14 Jul 2014 9th Circuit Rules that the FAAAA Does Not Preempt California Meal and Rest Period Laws

  In a set back for motor-carrier industry employers in California, the 9th Circuit ruled on Wednesday, July 9, 2014, that the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (the FAAAA) does not preempt California meal and rest break law. In Dilts v. Penske Logistics,  a three member panel of the  9th Circuit overruled a lower court that had found that the FAAAA, which provides “States may not enact or enforce a law . . . related to a price, route or service of any motor carrier . ….

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11 Jul 2014 A “Bit” of a Challenge to Employers: Bitcoin and Other Alternative Payroll Methods LETTER OF THE LAW: CURRENT EMPLOYMENT LAW ISSUES A-Z

The rise of alternative payroll methods such as prepaid debit cards and Bitcoin is likely to present both opportunities and challenges for employers in the very near future.  In 2013, nearly 4.5 million employees received wages on a payroll card. Major retailers, such as Lord & Taylor and Overstock.com, began accepting Bitcoin as a method of payment. Some employees express a preference for alternative payroll methods.   This growing popularity in unconventional payment methods is no surprise, as the alternatives provide value to both employers…

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10 Jul 2014 Proposed Legislation Introduced to Override Hobby Lobby Ruling

  Yesterday, Senator Democrats introduced proposed legislation known at the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act (Act) in an effort override the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, which was previously discussed in our June 30th Alert.   The Act would reinstate the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage obligations imposed on employers, requiring employers to provide such health insurance. The Act specifically is targeted at the Supreme Court’s 5-4 Hobby Lobby decision, which held closely-held companies (those that are family-owned or have a limited…

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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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