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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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04 Jun 2014 Apple Employees Survive Summary Judgment in FLSA Bag Check Class Action

  Last week, in Frlekin v. Apple Inc., the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California denied Apple’s motion for summary judgment in a Fair Labor Standards Act case filed by a class of its employees working in Apple Stores around the country. A class of current and former non-exempt specialists, managers, and Genius Bar employees claim Apple requires its hourly employees to undergo unpaid security checks each time they go off the clock for a meal break or at the end of…

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04 Jun 2014 Illinois legislature recognizes payroll cards as method of wage payment

  The Illinois legislature has passed House Bill 5622, which amends the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act (IWPCA) to expressly recognize payroll cards as a method of wage payment in Illinois. HB 5622 is currently awaiting signature by Governor Quinn.  Once signed, the new law will take effect on January 1, 2015.   At present, the IWPCA only expressly recognizes cash, check, or direct deposit as valid methods of wage payment in Illinois; the Act is silent regarding payroll cards.  Last year, however, the…

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03 Jun 2014 Pregnancy accommodations could soon be required in Illinois

  Illinois employers will be required to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees under new legislation that is awaiting action by the governor.   The Illinois legislature passed expansive amendments to the Illinois Human Rights Act that, effective January 1, 2015, will allow employees to request reasonable accommodations in the workplace for medical and other common conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.   The changes will apply to employers of one or more employees, thus adding pregnancy to the existing Illinois Human Rights Act provision…

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02 Jun 2014 Employer Cannot Limit Solicitation of Unknown Future Customers, Court Says

  It is common for employers who have restrictive covenants with employees in those agreements to restrict the employees, after their departure, from soliciting company customers. A recent case gave one court’s answer to the question as to how broad that restriction can be. Specifically, West Memphis Steel & Pipe, Inc. restricted two employees from soliciting the companies “past, present or prospective future customers or clients.”  Two employees brought a lawsuit asking the court to determine prospectively that the restriction was overbroad and therefore unenforceable by…

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30 May 2014 FMLA Compliance – Will you be ready if the DOL comes knocking on your door?

  Well, there you are, opening the mail and what do you see?  A letter from the U.S. Department of Labor notifying you that an investigator will be dropping by on some date certain in the next two weeks to review your FMLA policy and the forms used for administering FMLA leave for your employees. Or, perhaps the letter is more specific in that it mentions a particular employee and requests a review of all documents related to that employee’s request for leave?  In either…

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30 May 2014 FMLA: What if things go better without you?

  The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ recent decision in Saulter v. Detroit Area Agency on Aging highlights a very common scenario – the employer decides that an employee is not necessary when the employee is on leave.  Leaving aside the obvious management question (Why it did it take the employee being on leave for you to figure that out?), of course it is unlawful under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and a host of state laws to…

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29 May 2014 The Devil’s in the Details – Make Sure Your Agreements Mirror Your Intentions

In an unpublished decision issued this month, U.S. ex rel. Paige, et al. v. BAE Systems Tech. Solutions & Servs., Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed the district court’s dismissal of two whistleblowers’ False Claims Act (“FCA”) retaliatory discharge claims, while issuing a warning to employers that the meticulous crafting of arbitration provisions within employment agreements is critical to enforcement.   The Relators in this case were former employees of BAE Systems who had alleged they had complained of purported…

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28 May 2014 No, it’s Not Groundhog Day – another state raises its minimum wage

  Yesterday, we reported on this blog that Hawaii had recently enacted legislation to raise its minimum wage to $10.10 per hour on an incremental basis. Hawaii was just one of several states that have adopted increases to its minimum wage in recent months. Well, here we go again. No, it’s not Groundhog Day, but it sure feels like it. Late yesterday, the Michigan legislature passed a bill to increase the state’s minimum wage and the Governor quickly signed it last night. The new law…

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28 May 2014 Nebraska Decision Reminds: Sometimes There Is No Substitute for a Noncompete

  Here is a very human version of a legal story. In short, an employee left her company (First Express), an Omaha company that sells crop insurance, and took a number of customers with her. At the end of the day, First Express did get some relief against its former employee because of the employee’s breach of a contract, but the Nebraska Supreme Court found that the former employer’s customer lists were not trade secrets. Why? The Court held that most of the information on…

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27 May 2014 Another State Increasing Its Minimum Wage

  On May 23, 2014, Hawaii became the third state in the country to enact legislation that will incrementally increase its minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. Connecticut and Maryland adopted similar legislation. Twenty-one other states and the District of Columbia currently have minimum wage laws that are above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.   Under the law, Hawaii will incrementally increase the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 by January 2018.  Employers of tipped workers also will be eligible…

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