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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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08 Nov 2012 Losing A Fair Labor Standards Act Lawsuit Can Be Costly

The costliness of losing a Fair Labor Standards Act was recently illustrated in a case that was brought in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee.  In Monroe v. FTS USA LLC, the jury found that a cable company had improperly withheld overtime wages which should have been paid to 296 cable technicians.  The court eventually awarded $1.9 million in compensatory damages to the technicians.  The court then awarded an additional $1.9 million in liquidated damages because the jury had found that the…

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06 Nov 2012 D-Day for ObamaCare?

Today is Election Day, and many believe that it represents what may be the last realistic challenge to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (a/k/a ObamaCare).  If the President wins re-election, it is virtually certain that the Act will be implemented as planned in January 2014.  However, what many overlook is that even if the President loses, the Act still may survive – depending on which party winds up controlling the Senate and whether there is sufficient political will to repeal the law.  As…

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05 Nov 2012 Newsweek’s history includes path-breaking gender discrimination case

When Newsweek/Daily Beast Editor-in-Chief Tina Brown recently announced that the print edition of Newsweek will cease publication at the end of 2012 after a nearly 80-year history, the fact that a female editor-in-chief broke the news likely was not lost on former Newsweek staffer Lynn Povich.  Ms. Povich, one of the leaders of a 1970s sex discrimination case against Newsweek, is the author of a newly released book that lays out all the details of the struggle by women at the magazine to rise beyond…

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01 Nov 2012 California Appeals Court Approves Rounding of Employee Time

In a decision published on Oct. 29, 2012, a California Court of Appeal ruled that employers may lawfully round employee time so long as employees are properly compensated in the long run. While this has been the general rule under federal law, and the rule has been adopted by the California Department of Industrial Relations’ Department of Labor Standards Enforcement (the “DLSE”), this decision is the first published decision in California to expressly permit the practice. In its ruling, the Court of Appeal validated the DLSE’s adoption of the…

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31 Oct 2012 Illinois Courts to Require Redaction of Personal Identity Information

While employers as a rule know that they must take reasonable measures to protect personnel records from unnecessary disclosures in the course of business, when employment litigation arises there are myriad records that may become subject to disclosure in discovery, including personnel records of the plaintiff as well as individuals who are not parties to the case, such as decision-makers and comparators in employment discrimination cases.  Protective Orders can be entered to govern the use and protection of confidential information during the pre-trial discovery phase…

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26 Oct 2012 EEOC Releases Q&A Fact Sheet On Application of Title VII and ADA to Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) most recent official guidance involves the application of federal anti-discrimination laws to employees and applicants who have experienced domestic or dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. The Q&A Sheet can be found here.  Because victims of these offenses are not explicitly protected under federal law, employers may not realize certain employment decisions can run afoul of Title VII (prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex and sex stereotyping, among other categories) or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Examples that…

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24 Oct 2012 On The Radar: Supreme Court Set to Resolve Circuit Split as to Definition of Supervisor Under Title VII

The Supreme Court of the United States has agreed to review a Seventh Circuit decision involving the definition of a “supervisor” under Title VII.  The case, Vance v. Ball State University, could have significant employment law ramifications because “supervisors” automatically subject an employer to vicarious liability for its supervisors’ harassing conduct. Currently, the Seventh Circuit requires that employees have the authority “to hire, fire, demote, promote, transfer, or discipline an employee” to be considered a supervisor.  This bright-line, narrow definition ensures that alleged supervisors have…

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22 Oct 2012 EEOC Must Abide By 300-Day Rule in Pattern and Practice Case, Says New Jersey Federal Court

Although federal courts are divided on the issue, recent case law seems to be trending toward holding the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) accountable for complying with the normal requirement under Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that administrative charges must be filed within 300 days (or 180 days where there is no state agency equivalent to the EEOC) of the discriminatory event. In the latest case to weigh in on the issue, the District of New Jersey dismissed all potential claims…

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19 Oct 2012 Proposed Legislation Would Reform Ohio Employment Bias Laws

S.B. 383, which can be found here, was introduced earlier this week in the Ohio state Senate and seeks drastic change to Ohio’s state employment bias laws. Specifically, if the legislation were to be passed and enacted in its current form, a number of employer-friendly revisions would be made.  Included among those proposed changes are: 1.      a requirement that an employee opt to choose either to file an administrative charge with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission or to file a complaint in court (as opposed…

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18 Oct 2012 Seventh Circuit Sides With Defendants On Eavesdropping Case

Earlier this week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment for the employer and two individual defendants in an eavesdropping claim brought by a former employee, who was fired after making a threatening telephone call to a colleague at his home.  In Carroll v. Merrill Lynch, the plaintiff, Mary Carroll, was fired as a result of her conduct during a phone call with her co-worker, Jim Kelliher, whom she called at his home on Thanksgiving night.  Upon hearing the exchange…

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