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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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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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11 Jan 2013 Department of Labor Secretary Solis Resigns

Earlier this week, Secretary Hilda Solis announced that she is leaving the Department of Labor (DOL), creating a vacancy for President Obama to fill. In her letter to DOL employees, Solis stated that she submitted her resignation to President Obama earlier in the day after “much discussion with family and close friends” over the holiday season.  Solis’ letter praised the enforcement efforts of the DOL, noting that last year the largest number of investigations were conducted “in recent memory, collecting the most back wages in…

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09 Jan 2013 OSHA’s Site-Specific Targeting Program for 2013 Announced

On Jan. 8, 2013, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that at least 1,260 randomly selected establishments will be inspected by OSHA as part of its Site-Specific Targeting (SST) Program. The initial focus will be on workplaces with above-average injury and illness rates in high-hazard industries. Although the Program was named Site-Specific Targeting 2012 (SST-12), it became effective on Jan. 4, 2013 and is anticipated to continue through January 2014. According to OSHA, the SST-12 Program is aimed at preventing injuries and illnesses…

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09 Jan 2013 8th Circuit Upholds Class Waivers in FLSA Cases

On Jan. 7, 2013, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision, holding that nothing in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) prohibits enforcement of an arbitration agreement that includes a class waiver. In Owen v. Bristol Care, Inc., former employee, Sharon Owen, brought several claims against Bristol Care, Inc. (“Bristol Care”) under the FLSA and attempted to seek class certification.  Bristol Care argued that Owen had waived all class claims when she executed the Mandatory Arbitration Agreement (Agreement) with the company.  Bristol…

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07 Jan 2013 Texas Legislature Will Consider Employers’ Ability to Access Social Media Passwords

Tomorrow, the Texas Legislature will convene and on the agenda is a bill regarding employers’ ability to require employees to provide their social networking passwords. The bill, HB 318, introduced on Dec. 21, 2012 by Re. Heleln Giddings (D), would make it illegal for employers to require, or even request, that applicants and current employees disclose their usernames and passwords for social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook. Many experts have stated that the bill, as currently written, needs to be modified before…

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03 Jan 2013 The EEOC’s Plan of Attack

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently approved its Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) to establish national enforcement priorities. The SEP is an outgrowth of the EEOC’s Strategic Plan for 2012-2016. The purpose of the SEP is to coordinate the EEOC’s resources to have a “sustainable impact” on reducing discriminatory practices in the workplace. To that end, the SEP identifies six national enforcement priorities, which include: ·         Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring:  The EEOC will target class-based recruitment and hiring practices that discriminate against…

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02 Jan 2013 Marital Privilege in Communications on Workplace Computer?

Two or three years ago, employers – and their lawyers – were surprised to find that some courts held that employees had an attorney/client privilege in communications made with their personal lawyers on the company’s computer, even when the employee had signed off on a technology use policy surrendering any expectation of privacy on company technology equipment. The limited body of court decisions on this question continues to be a mixed bag. Now a court has addressed a different evidentiary privilege in the context of workplace…

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28 Dec 2012 REMINDER – FCRA Changes Effective Jan. 1, 2013

Employers who routinely use third party credit reporting agencies for their pre-employment background screening are familiar with the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Effective Jan. 1, 2013, employers that utilize background checks must use a new “Summary of Consumer Rights” form to notify job applicants and employees of their rights under the FCRA. Under the new changes to the regulations, employers must make clear that the newly-created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and not the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), is the agency…

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