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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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01 Feb 2013 The FLSA Also Requires Employers To Provide Private Lactation Break Rooms

Most employers know that the Fair Labor Standards Act (the FLSA) requires them to pay a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Most employers know, too, that the FLSA requires them to pay overtime at one-and-a-half times an employee’s regular rate of pay. But many employers may not be aware that the FLSA, as amended by the Affordable Care Act, also requires that they provide break time and private spaces – other than bathrooms – for nursing mothers to express breast milk. The FLSA amendment…

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30 Jan 2013 2012 EEOC Charge Filing Stats Are In

A few weeks ago, we looked at the total number of EEOC charges filed with the agency from 1997-2011. The charge numbers for 2012 just came in and as expected, the total numbers have dropped – but by an almost imperceptible amount. Here is the updated chart: The total number of charges filed in 2011 was 99,947.  For those with magnifying glasses, this fell in 2012 by a little more than 500 to 99,412.  Looking at the chart as a whole, it is clear that the…

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28 Jan 2013 Paid Leave Can Be a Lawful Option When an Employee Is Facing Criminal Charges

Paid administrative leave for an employee who is charged with a crime is not a materially adverse employment action for purposes of proving an employment discrimination case, according to a recent federal appellate court order. The 10th Circuit’s decision in Benavides v. City of Oklahoma City, is a useful reminder for employers that thorny legal issues may arise when an employee is accused of criminal wrongdoing. The Benavides case illustrates that while an employer cannot prevent an employee from filing a charge of discrimination or lawsuit…

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23 Jan 2013 High Court to Decide Whether “but-for” Standard Applies to Retaliation Claims Under Title VII

The United States Supreme Court has added yet another interesting employment law issue to its docket, agreeing to take up the question of whether Title VII’s retaliation provision and similarly worded statutes require a plaintiff to prove “but-for” causation or instead require only proof that the employer had a mixed motive for the employment decision in question. The Supreme Court granted a petition by the employer to hear its appeal in the case of University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar, Docket No. 12-00484. The…

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22 Jan 2013 Social Media Regulation Attracts Mainstream Media Attention

Regulation of employees’ use of social media continues to make headlines, with an article in today’s New York Times just the latest example of continuing coverage of the subject by national news organizations. The article, available here, summarizes the good and bad in social media policies, pointing out that a policy with specifics is more likely to withstand legal scrutiny than very general, sweeping policies that have the potential to chill lawful speech. Thus, employers are well-advised to adopt policies that remind employees to avoid harassment,…

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17 Jan 2013 Can Employees Take FMLA Leave for the Flu?

With a nationwide flu epidemic in full swing, employee absences have been spiking the last several weeks. Not surprisingly, both employees and employers have been asking whether the FMLA might cover those flu-related absences. As is often the case with the law, the answer is a resounding “maybe.” While most colds, and even the flu, do not rise to the level of seriousness required to be covered under the FMLA, at least two federal circuit courts (the 4th and 8th Circuits) have recently held that as long…

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16 Jan 2013 Mixed Motive Allegation Not Enough To Sustain “Regarded as” ADAAA Case

  When the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) became effective in 2009, it was clear proving a “disability” was going to be much easier for plaintiffs than it had been in the past.  Still, interpretive guidance on other aspects on the amended act – through regulation and court decisions – has been much slower to develop.  Although not controlling outside its jurisdiction, the Southern District of Indiana, in Nayak v. St. Vincent Hospital, recently shed light on the “regarded as” method of proving…

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15 Jan 2013 Six Low-Cost Steps That Employers Should Consider Taking in 2013

Rather than a year-end list looking backwards, I recently wrote a two-part article for InsideCounsel identifying six low-cost steps that every employer should consider taking in 2013. The 6 steps are: 1. Focus on employee use of social media and policies that affect it.2. Make a plan for beginning to manage business information on privately owned electronic devices.  3. Review your use of background checks.4. Review key policies that leave no room for discretion.5. Understand your insurance coverage for employment claims.6. Schedule more training sessions. You…

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15 Jan 2013 No Longer A Belieber

The former personal bodyguard of “teen icon” (as he is referred to in the complaint) Justin Bieber has filed suit against the celebrity for California wage and hour violations, among other charges. The bodyguard asserts he regularly worked 14-18 hours a day, seven says a week protecting the Biebs, but was wrongly classified as exempt and never received overtime pay. The bodyguard is also suing for unpaid wages and vacation pay.  The Complaint can be found here. In addition to the employment law aspect, Bieber’s…

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11 Jan 2013 Wage and Hour Division Seeks Comments to Proposed Information Collection for Worker Classification Survey

Earlier this week, the Wage and Hour Division for the Department of Labor (DOL) published a Request for Comments on its proposed information collection for worker classification survey. According to the DOL, the purpose of this survey is to “collect information about employment experiences and worker’s knowledge of basic employment laws and rules so as to better understand employees’ experiences with worker misclassification.”  The DOL’s collection effort will “gather information about workers’ employment and pay arrangements and will measure workers’ knowledge about their current job…

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