Follow Us
twittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube
Subscribe to the BT Currents Blog

By signing up, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Recent Posts
The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
0 0

30 Apr 2014 Severe Obesity May Be An ADA-covered Disability, Court Rules

  A terminated employee sufficiently alleged that his employer unlawfully terminated his employment for “severe obesity” for his claims to move forward under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a federal judge has ruled. In Whittaker v. America’s Cart-Mart, Inc., No. 1:13CV108SNLJ (Apr. 24, 2014)),  a judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri rejected the employer-defendant’s motion to dismiss, allowing the obesity-as-a-disability lawsuit to continue.   In the defendant’s motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint, it argued that obesity is not…

READ MORE
0 0

23 Apr 2014 Technological Advances Make Telecommuting A More Reasonable Accommodation

  On April 22, the Sixth Circuit reversed the Eastern District of Michigan in a case that may pave the way for more employees to work at home as a reasonable accommodation. Jane Harris worked as a resale steel buyer for Ford. Her job duties included interacting with steel suppliers and members of the Ford team to ensure that there is no gap in the auto maker’s steel supply. Although managers believed that these interactions were best conducted face to face, Harris suffers from debilitating…

READ MORE
0 0

21 Apr 2014 Fifth Circuit Denies NLRB’s Rehearing Request on Class Action Waivers; NLRB Likely to Continue Ignoring Fifth (and Other) Circuit Court Rulings

  In an April 16, 2014 one-paragraph opinion, the Fifth Circuit rejected the NLRB’s rehearing petition in D.R. Horton v. NLRB, which sought reconsideration of the Court’s December 2013 decision upholding class action waivers in mandatory arbitration agreements under the Federal Arbitration Act.  Stating that no one on the original three-member panel that decided the case, nor any judge in active service on the Circuit bench requested that the case be reheard en banc, the Fifth Circuit closed the door to any further circuit-level proceedings,…

READ MORE
0 0

21 Apr 2014 Yes, You Really Were Giving Up FMLA Rights When You Signed That Document and Accepted 13 Weeks Severance

  Granted that many workers are not sophisticated in legal matters and severance agreements are not always written in plain English, but it seems fairly intuitive that when an employer offers an employee the choice of 13 weeks severance or a performance improvement plan, and the employee takes the severance and signs the document, she is not going to be able to sue the company.  Kudos to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in striking a blow for that principle in Paylor v…

READ MORE
0 0

21 Apr 2014 Florida Supreme Court Resolves Split in Lower Court – Pregnancy Is a Protected Class under Florida Civil Rights Act

    On April 17, the Florida Supreme Court held that even though the Florida Civil Rights Act does not list pregnancy among the list of protected classes, pregnancy discrimination is prohibited under the Act because “the capacity to become pregnant is one of the most significant and obvious distinctions between the female and male sexes.”  Prior to this holding, there was a split in the lower state courts as to whether pregnancy was covered under the Act’s prohibition on sex discrimination.  That split has…

READ MORE
0 0

18 Apr 2014 Paid and Unpaid Interns Gain Additional Protections Under New York City Human Rights Law

  Attention employers – the use of interns remains a hot topic in the legal realm, as protections for interns continue to grow.  In fact, just this week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed off on a New York City Council bill bringing interns under the umbrella of protections against workplace discrimination afforded by the city’s human rights laws (in addition to those protections already afforded to such individuals).  Specifically, the legislation, adds a new subdivision (Section 8-102) to the city’s administrative code…

READ MORE
0 0

16 Apr 2014 FMLA Medical Certifications – A few reminders to avoid getting lost in the FMLA maze

    Making your way through the FMLA regulations may often feel like weaving your way through a complicated maze. And, as with anyone facing such a maze, you’re just hoping you don’t get lost and find yourself at a dead end with no way to retrace your steps.  Don’t fret.  The regulations are not as complicated as they seem.  You can make your way through if you just focus on one step at a time.   Step 1 – Providing the eligibility notice –…

READ MORE
0 0

15 Apr 2014 Minnesota Increases Minimum Wage

  Yesterday, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed legislation which will increase Minnesota’s minimum wage to $8.00 per hour for “large” employers and $6.50 per hour for “small” employers. These increases will be effective August 1, 2014.  This minimum wage will increase on August 1, 2015, to $9.00 per hour for “large” employers and $7.25 per hour for “small” employers and, again, on August 1, 2016, to $9.50 per hour for “large” employers and $7.75 per hour for “small” employers.  Beginning in 2017, the minimum wage will…

READ MORE
0 0

14 Apr 2014 It’s Tax Time . . . . What Does That Mean For Settling Employment Claims?

    Last summer, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a Memorandum regarding the reporting requirements for attorney’s fees paid to settle an employment claim.  The Memorandum makes it clear that the manner in which the settlement agreement is drafted and payments are made could impact tax liabilities for both the employee and the employer.   According to the IRS Memorandum, all payments for employment claims, including the specific allocation to attorney’s fees, must be included in the individual’s income, even if the fees are…

READ MORE
0 0

14 Apr 2014 It’s Back: Proposal to Ban Massachusetts Noncompetes (and Related Economic Theories)

  I have written here before about efforts in Massachusetts to ban noncompetes, which seem to have been kicking around for years without any real change.  Last week, Massachusetts Governor Patrick announced that he is proposing legislation to largely ban noncompetes, as they are in California.  The theory behind this is that Massachusetts loses tech talent to California, where tech wizards can be employed usually with little concern about being bound by a noncompete when they change jobs, and that noncompetes stifle innovation.  It is common…

READ MORE