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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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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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04 Sep 2012 The NLRB, EEOC and Social Media

Be careful, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is not the only federal agency interested in the interplay between social media and workplace decisions. On August 24, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Training Institute held a workshop where it addressed, among other things, the Commission’s interest in social media’s impact on the enforcement of federal employment discrimination laws. How can an employer get tripped up? Consider a case alleging that an employee was terminated – before she was clearly “showing” – on the basis of pregnancy discrimination. The employee typically…

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30 Aug 2012 The EEOC’s “Fall Tour”

The EEOC is hitting the road this fall on a cross-country tour aimed at demystifying the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA).  Two of the EEOC’s commissioners, Chai Feldblum and Victoria Lipnic, will hold a series of seminars dealing with issues such as essential job functions and job descriptions; the basics of reasonable accommodation; and leave, modified schedules and telecommuting as reasonable accommodations.  The dates and locations of the seminars are: Sept. 11 in Seattle (Doubletree Seattle Airport) Sept. 13 in Los Angeles (Four…

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29 Aug 2012 Is Employer-Ordered Counseling a Medical Exam Covered By The ADA?

The recent decision of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (covering Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee) reminds employers of the caution that must be exercised when dealing with employee behavioral problems. Specifically in the case of Kroll v. White Lake Ambulance Authority, employer-ordered counseling may constitute a medical exam that, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), is permissible only if it is job-related and consistent with business necessity. Kroll was an EMT for WLAA, the employer in the case.  A manager requested that she receive psychological counseling…

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27 Aug 2012 EEOC Sues Burger King Franchisee Over Employee’s Religious Accommodation Request

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is suing a Burger King franchisee – Fries Restaurant Management, LLC – for religious discrimination, a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The facts underlying the lawsuit are straightforward: Ashanti McShan, a member of the Pentecostal Church, adheres to an interpretation of scripture regarding the wearing of clothing that is befitting of one’s gender. McShan allegedly informed Burger King of her religious belief during her employment interview, and was told she could wear a…

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21 Aug 2012 Federal Court Temporarily Enjoins Application of Contraceptive Mandate To A Local Business

On July 27, 2012, the Senior Judge John Kane of the United States District Court for the District of Colorado temporarily enjoined the application of part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) to a local business while the business and its owners challenge whether the ACA infringes upon their free exercise of religion.  A copy of this decision, Newland v. Sebelius, can be found here. In Newland, several members of the Newland family own Hercules Industries, Inc. (Hercules), a Colorado corporation engaged…

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