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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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11 Apr 2013 Washington State Legislators Withdraw Bill Allowing Employers to Access Social Media Accounts During Investigations

A proposed bill amendment in Washington’s state legislature that could have allowed employers the right to demand access to employees’ social media accounts during company investigations has been withdrawn this week. In January, state senators introduced S.B. 5211 to prevent employers from asking current and prospective employees to provide their social media passwords. The House Labor Committee proposed a controversial amendment that would have granted employers the right not just to request, but also the right to demand, access to employees’ and applicants’ Facebook, Twitter,…

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05 Apr 2013 D.C. District Court Finds That OFCCP Requirements Extend to Hospitals with HMOs

The federal district court for the District of Columbia recently ruled that three hospitals were deemed to be subcontractors and subject to the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program’s (OFCCP) jurisdiction and reporting requirements because of the hospitals’ contractual relationships with an HMO. As a result, the district court held that the hospitals were subject to the EEO and affirmative action requirements of an Executive Order 11246, the Rehab Act and VEVRAA. In UPMC Braddock v Harris, the three hospitals subcontracted with UPMC Health Plan…

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04 Apr 2013 ADA Charge Verified by Counsel Is Insufficient; Plaintiff Failed to Exhaust Administrative Remedies

In Davenport v Asbury, Inc, the plaintiff, Lori Davenport, brought several claims against her former employer, including an alleged violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended (ADA). The U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Tennessee dismissed Ms. Davenport’s ADA claim, holding that she failed to exhaust her administrative remedies. The dismissal occurred as a result of a technicality wherein Ms. Davenport personally failed to verify the allegations set forth in her EEOC Charge of Discrimination, which must be filed prior to litigating any…

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03 Apr 2013 What Happens on Facebook Stays on Facebook…Or Else

A Magistrate Judge within the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey recently affirmed the significance of social media postings in litigation proceedings, finding deactivation of a plaintiff’s Facebook account to constitute spoliation of evidence and warrant the issuance of an adverse inference against him at trial. Specifically, in Gatto v. United Air Lines, Inc., found here, a plaintiff alleged to have suffered an injury while working at the airport claimed, among other things, that his injuries precluded him from working and…

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02 Apr 2013 Seventh Circuit Finds Menial Tasks, Isolation, and Allegations of Violence Provide Pipeline to Jury Trial

In reversing a district court’s grant of summary judgment on an employee’s hostile work environment claim under Title VII, the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit found a female plumber to have alleged sufficient facts to make it to a jury trial. Specifically, in Hall v. City of Chicago, found here, the only female plumber working within a particular division for the City of Chicago, alleged, among other things, that she was forced to do menial tasks (e.g., sorting of the exact same documents…

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02 Apr 2013 U.S. Supreme Court to Consider Application of ADEA to State and Local Workers

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal from Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan on the issue of whether state and local government employees can bypass the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and sue for age discrimination under an equal protection theory. The case is Madigan v. Levin, Docket Number 12-872. Appellate courts are split on whether the ADEA is the exclusive route for state and local government employees to bring a claim for age discrimination, or whether an equal protection claim via…

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01 Apr 2013 Increasing Discrimination Obligations Coming from State and Municipal Levels

In this recent Metropreneur Columbus article, I talked about the long term trend for forms of discrimination to only increase.  Rarely since the passage of Title VII in 1964 has a cause of action for discrimination been taken away.  As discussed more in the article, current manifestations of this long term trend include laws at various levels to protect employees against discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or identity, or on the basis of their unemployed status. Many of these particular initiatives are on the…

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28 Mar 2013 Indiana Bill Would Restrict Local Government Entities from Setting Laws on Leave

The Indiana legislature recently passed a bill limiting a local government entity’s ability to regulate private employers within its territorial boundaries. Senate Bill No. 213, set to be signed into law by Governor Mike Pence, specifically restricts a county, city, town, or township from requiring that an employer provide employees any benefit, term of employment, working condition, or an attendance or leave policy that exceeds the requirements of federal or state law. For more information on what this bill would mean for employers, check out…

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22 Mar 2013 ADA Reasonable Accommodations and Wellness Programs

As a means of dealing with ever increasing healthcare premiums, many employers have chosen to implement wellness programs to improve the health of their workforce, thereby reducing claims. The EEOC has recently issued an interpretation letter stating that employers have an obligation to provide a reasonable accommodation for their employees who are participating in a health contingent wellness program. These types of wellness programs require an employee to meet certain standards related to a health factor (i.e. reducing blood pressure or losing weight, etc.) to achieve a…

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22 Mar 2013 Federal Court Enjoins the Application of the Contraceptive Mandate to Company Owned By the Founder of Domino’s Pizza

On March 14, 2013, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan issued a preliminary injunction against the application of the contraceptive mandate under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to a for-profit employer. District Court Judge Lawrence Zatkoff ruled that Domino’s Farm Corp., a for-profit property management company owned by Tom Monaghan, the founder of Domino’s Pizza, did not have to comply with the contraceptive mandate because it violated Monaghan’s religious beliefs. Judge Zatkoff wrote, “It is in the best interest of…

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