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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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06 Aug 2012 New Illinois Law Prohibits Employers from Seeking Social Media Password Information

Employers in Illinois will be prohibited from seeking social networking password information from employees and applicants starting Jan. 1, 2013, now that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has signed into law Public Act 097-0875, which is an amendment to the Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act, 820 ILCS 55/10. As we previously reported, the legislation makes it unlawful for an employer to require an employee or applicant to disclose passwords or other related social networking account information in order for the employer to access information…

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03 Aug 2012 Split Among Federal Circuits Deepens Regarding Administrative Exhaustion of Post-Charge Retaliation Claims

Year after year, retaliation is at or near the top of the list of the most common charges filed with the EEOC.  After receiving a right to sue notice, many plaintiffs, however, add a retaliation claim to their federal court complaints based on alleged employer conduct occurring after the EEOC charges have been filed. Traditionally, these claims have been allowed to proceed – despite not having been raised in the EEOC charge – under the theory that such claims grow out of or are sufficiently…

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01 Aug 2012 DOL Issues WARN Guidance in Light of Upcoming Sequestration Measures

A newly-issued guidance memorandum from the DOL says that defense contractors do not need to send out WARN notices to their employees in advance of the mandatory sequestration cuts currently slated for January 2, 2013.  As part of the Budget Control Act of 2011, there will be large cuts in the defense budget, which may result in huge layoffs to defense contractor workforces on January 2 unless some further deal can be reached in Congress regarding the deficit. Pursuant to WARN, the defense contractors are required to notify their workers and state and…

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01 Aug 2012 Court Rules Size Matters in Class Claim Against Goldman Sachs

A federal judge in New York recently held that last year’s seminal Supreme Court class action case, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. v. Dukes, does not preclude a class action against Goldman Sachs alleging gender bias.  The opinion can be found here. The plaintiffs have alleged that Goldman’s pay and promotion policies had a disparate impact on women, while Goldman argued that that plaintiffs, like those in Dukes, were basing their arguments on subjective decision-making policies, meaning their class claims should suffer the same fate as those…

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27 Jul 2012 Offers of Judgment Support Dismissal of Wage and Hour Claims

A federal district court in Illinois recently granted an employer’s motion to dismiss federal and state wage and hour claims asserted by two employees because the court determined it lacked subject matter jurisdiction.  In Avila v Watts Electric Co, Inc, the employer made offers of judgment to both employees, which included the “total amount of wages owed” and “reasonable attorney’s fees and costs to be determined by the court.”  The plaintiffs each rejected these offers of judgment.  Watts Electric Co. then filed a Rule 68…

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25 Jul 2012 EEOC Cannot Claim “Deliberative Process Privilege” To Preclude Investigator’s Deposition

The United States District Court of the Southern Division of Alabama recently denied the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) motion to quash the deposition of the investigator assigned to the underlying Charge of Discrimination. In Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Southern Haulers, Inc., the EEOC argued that the “deliberative process privilege” prohibited the defendant from deposing the investigator about “the steps she took in conducting the investigation, the documents produced by EEOC as part of its investigative file, inconsistencies in the documents contained in EEOC’s…

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24 Jul 2012 Pennsylvania District Court Conditionally Recognizes Novel “Over-50” Class

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania has denied an employer’s motion to certify various questions for interlocutory appeal in relation to the grant of conditional certification of a class of employees over the age of 50 in an Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”) lawsuit filed against it.  Specifically, in Karlo v. Pittsburg Glass Works, LLC., No. 10-1283, slip op. (W.D. Pa., July 20, 2012) (Barry Fischer, J. ), the defendant sought leave to certify three questions for appeal in relation…

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23 Jul 2012 Plaintiff’s Claim for Direct Violation of Breast Milk Expression Provisions of the PPACA Required to Be Filed Directly With DOL

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa recently dismissed a plaintiff’s claim pertaining to her right to privacy in expressing breast milk in the workplace, pursuant to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the “Act”).  The opinion, which can be found here, granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss in part, finding that the more appropriate forum for the plaintiff’s complaint — that she was not afforded a place to express breast milk that was “shielded from view and free from…

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20 Jul 2012 Electronic Monitoring of Employees’ Telephone Conversations: A Quick Reminder for Employers

Some employers concerned with excessive use of business phones for personal use may wish to adopt a practice of monitoring employees’ telephone calls placed over company phone lines. Other employers might wish to monitor phone usage in order to evaluate the level of customer service provided by their employees.  And suspected wrongdoing by one or more employees may cause employers to want to monitor telephone usage. Whatever the reason for monitoring, employers need to be aware that the practice is not without risk. For example, the Omnibus…

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17 Jul 2012 EEOC Meeting on Strategic Enforcement Plan

In February 2012, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) approved a Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2012-2016. The first performance measure of the Plan requires the EEOC to approve a Strategic Enforcement Plan, which it currently is developing. The purpose of the Plan is to leverage agency resources to focus on high impact lawsuits that will obtain relief for large numbers of individuals.  The text of the Plan can be found here.  To that end, the EEOC will hold an open meeting on…

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