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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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25 Sep 2012 California Supreme Court to Review Class Action Arbitration Waivers in Employment Agreements

As we have been predicting, the issue of class action arbitration waivers has made its way to the California Supreme Court. On Sept. 20, 2012, the Supreme Court granted review of Iskanian v. CLS Transportation of Los Angeles (“Iskanian”), following the Court of Appeal’s decision affirming an order granting the employer’s motion to compel individual arbitration and dismissing the employee’s class claims. Presently, the case will involve three issues: 1.  Did AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, 131 S. Ct. 1740 (2011), impliedly overrule Gentry v….

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20 Sep 2012 EEOC Educates Teens About Discrimination and Harassment in the Workplace

Do you employ teenagers? Then take note: the EEOC just announced new discrimination and harassment prevention efforts aimed at students who are about to enter the workforce. Specifically, the EEOC, through its Youth@Work initiative, created a video and supplemental classroom guides to help students identify situations and actions that may amount to discrimination or harassment in the workplace. Employers who recruit and hire teens need to be aware that the EEOC is placing special focus on this demographic. Further, the EEOC’s announcement is a reminder that employers should emphasize – especially to those who are new to the workforce – that all…

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17 Sep 2012 To Avoid Employer Liability for Harassment, Keep an Eye on “Supervisors”

The United State Supreme Court on Friday set oral arguments for Nov. 26, 2012, in Vance v. Ball State University, Docket No. 11-556, in which the Court is expected to address the issue of who is a “supervisor” for purposes of employer liability for sexual harassment under Title VII. The question highlights a split among federal circuit courts of appeal on the definition of supervisors, and we provided additional details on the facts of the case in our prior blog entry when the Court granted the petition…

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12 Sep 2012 Unverified EEOC Filing Not Good Enough, Says Northern District of Indiana

As many employers know, before proceeding to court, Title VII discrimination lawsuits must first be filed with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) or a parallel state agency.  Aiming to protect employees by ensuring that a charging party is at least willing to make his or her claims subject to the penalties for perjury, federal statutory law further requires that the agency charge be filed “in writing under oath or affirmation[.]” 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(b). It is this less well known requirement that recently tripped…

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10 Sep 2012 Seventh Circuit Reverses Course on Reassignment Accommodation

In arguably its most significant decision under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in years, the Seventh Circuit, in EEOC v. United Airlines, Inc., reversed its own previous holdings regarding the viability of competitive transfer policies for disabled employees. The case can be found here.  For over a decade, employers in the Seventh Circuit have been able to rely on EEOC v. Humiston-Keeling, 227 F.3d 1024 (7th Cir. 2000), to adopt perfectly valid policies allowing for disabled employees who can no longer perform the essential…

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07 Sep 2012 Minnesota Employers Prohibited From Agreeing to Not Contest Unemployment Benefits

In July 2012, a new statute took effect in Minnesota and, unfortunately, most employers were not aware of this.  In particular, Minnesota Statute §268.192 now prohibits Minnesota employers from entering into an agreement with an employee to not contest the employee’s application for unemployment benefits or to not provide information in response to the unemployment benefits application in exchange for the employee: (1) quitting; (2) taking a leave of absence; (3) leaving the employment temporarily or permanently; or (4) withdrawing a grievance or appeal of a termination. This new…

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07 Sep 2012 Class Arbitration Prohibited if Not Authorized in Agreement

A California appeals court recently held that a former security officer’s wage-and-hour class action suit must be submitted to arbitration on an individual basis and that class arbitration is prohibited unless expressly noted in the arbitration agreement. In Jesus Reyes v. Liberman Broadcasting, Inc., the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, reversed the lower court’s denial of the employer’s motion to compel arbitration based on the arbitration agreement Reyes signed before working for Liberman Broadcasting, Inc. (LBI).  In this arbitration agreement, Reyes agreed to arbitrate…

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06 Sep 2012 Follow Us On Twitter!

Because sometimes 140 characters is all you have time to read or if you want to have a notification of when we post, we have established a Twitter account for the Barnes & Thornburg Labor Department. The feed is focused on topical and timely information including notifications of postings to the Department’s two blogs, BTLaborRelations and BTCurrents, as well as other breaking labor and employment law news.  You can follow us @BTLawLE. Hope to see you there!

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05 Sep 2012 EEOC Releases Its Draft Strategic Enforcement Plan Discussing Key Priorities for Fiscal Years 2012-2016

As part of its broader Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2012-2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released a draft Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) for Fiscal Years 2012-2016, setting forth its primary priorities for the coming years, and seeks public commentary on same prior to voting on the SEP at the end of September 2012. The SEP, which can be found here, discusses the EEOC’s history, composition, and responsibilities, as well as the background events giving rise to the development of the SEP in…

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04 Sep 2012 OFCCP Audits Focus on Veteran Hiring

Although the new veterans hiring rules have been delayed, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) will focus its audits in aggressively interpreting the current regulations to support the affirmative action policies. The OFCCP has proposed new rules for veterans that would require contractors to track those who apply for jobs and write reports explaining decisions not to hire protected veterans. However, these proposed regulations have been delayed for at least nine months. Despite the regulatory delay, the OFCCP will use the audits as…

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