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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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17 Feb 2017 New Nominee, New Path to Confirmation – Acosta Draws Initial Support From Management and Labor

  In sharp contrast to his predecessor, new Labor Secretary nominee Alexander Acosta has received initial support from both management and labor. Management views Acosta’s private sector experience combined with his political views as reason to believe that he will adopt a more management-friendly stance. Labor is looking to Acosta’s past government service as a sign that he will enforce labor laws. In a statement yesterday, Acosta said, “I thank the president and his staff for their confidence in me and I am eager to…

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17 Feb 2017 Trump Promises to Re-tool Travel Ban After Last Week’s Hit from Ninth Circuit

  During an unprecedented, unscheduled press conference Thursday afternoon, President Donald Trump promised a new and improved travel ban in the name of national security. Last week, the president’s travel ban suffered a major setback from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Its decision in State of Washington v. Trump, upheld the arguments made by the states of Washington and Minnesota—which challenged the president’s executive order, in part, because the order negatively affected their state universities’ employees and students.   President Trump’s…

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16 Feb 2017 Trump Announces Alexander Acosta as Labor Secretary Nominee After Andrew Puzder Withdraws

  At a press conference, President Trump announced Alexander Acosta as the new nominee for labor secretary. Acosta is currently the dean of the Florida International School of Law and previously served as a member of the National Labor Relations Board and later assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division through appointments by President George W. Bush. If confirmed, he will be the first Hispanic member of Trump’s cabinet.   Yesterday, just one day prior to his Senate confirmation hearing, Andrew Puzder withdrew as…

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15 Feb 2017 Trump-Appointed EEOC Acting Chair Says Continuity in the Near Term

For the first time since her appointment by President Trump as acting chair of the EEOC, Victoria Lipnic last week provided a glimpse into the commission’s future. Her central message is not to expect to see any major changes in the near future. Acting Chair Lipnic occupies only one of a total of five commission seats at the EEOC. However, there are only four sitting commissioners, as one of the seats is currently vacant. Potential major policy shifts likely will have to wait for other…

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13 Feb 2017 Blog Update: North Carolina Business that Fired Pregnant Employee Agrees to Three-Year Consent Decree with EEOC

  If there’s anything worse than government regulation, perhaps it’s the government breathing down your neck for the next three years. That is what a North Carolina furniture company is facing after it was sued for pregnancy discrimination last summer by the EEOC.   You might remember our blog post last summer about the EEOC’s lawsuit against RTG Furniture Corp. of Georgia d/b/a Rooms to Go (RTG) that fired a pregnant employee who was working with potentially dangerous chemicals. The EEOC had accused RTG of…

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13 Feb 2017 Hotel California Checks Out of State Forum Selection Clauses You can file your lawsuit any time you like, but you can never leave . . .

  Multistate employers know that the state of California is hostile to restrictive covenants and generally regard non-compete agreements as unenforceable. Over time, some multistate employers have developed a two-step process (one of which has been scrapped by a newly adopted law) to protect their interests in California and sidestep the state’s roadblocks:   Require employees to sign confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements so that even if unfaithful employees subsequently leave to work for a competitor, the employer still has some recourse to limit the damage…

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08 Feb 2017 2016: EEOC Charges Keep Climbing

  Well, it’s February already and the EEOC charge filing statistics for 2016 are out. Last year, we were looking at the total number of charges filed against employers beginning to tick up again. One year later, we have a definite trend beginning to build:     The above chart tracks the number of annual EEOC charges going back 20 years. As you can see, the overall number of charges tends to ebb and flow with the general nature of the economy – when a…

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03 Feb 2017 Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act: Legislature’s Quick Fix

The Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act went into effect on Jan. 1, 2017. As previously reported, the act requires employers who provide sick leave benefits in Illinois to allow employees to use the sick leave time for the injury, illness or medical appointment of the employee’s children and certain other family members. In its original form, the act was confusing to employers with respect to its breadth and applicability. In an effort to clear up the confusion, and less than two weeks after the act…

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03 Feb 2017 Lessons Learned: FMLA-Protected Employees can be Disciplined in the Event of Misconduct

  Absent a contractual obligation to the contrary, common sense dictates that if an employee lies about the reason for an absence, an employer can terminate the employee for the lie. But, what if an employer (perhaps mistakenly) believes the reason for the absence was a lie, when in fact the reason for the absence (allegedly) is for an FMLA-protected reason? According to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Frederick Capps v. Mondelez Global LLC, that’s ok, too, so long as…

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31 Jan 2017 The Three Seats of Noncompetes: Mistakes We See When Employees Move

  We often write on Currents about developments in the area of noncompete law, primarily case law and statutory developments across the country in this highly state-specific area. This year will likely be no different – among other things, the seemingly annual ritual of Massachusetts noncompete legislation has begun anew. While the rules shift and evolve, when employers and employees find themselves in disputes over noncompetes, there are recurring themes or factors that might have been avoided.   This article I wrote reviews these factors, broken down…

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