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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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13 Feb 2017 Hotel California Checks Out of State Forum Selection Clauses You can file your lawsuit any time you like, but you can never leave . . .

  Multistate employers know that the state of California is hostile to restrictive covenants and generally regard non-compete agreements as unenforceable. Over time, some multistate employers have developed a two-step process (one of which has been scrapped by a newly adopted law) to protect their interests in California and sidestep the state’s roadblocks:   Require employees to sign confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements so that even if unfaithful employees subsequently leave to work for a competitor, the employer still has some recourse to limit the damage…

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08 Feb 2017 2016: EEOC Charges Keep Climbing

  Well, it’s February already and the EEOC charge filing statistics for 2016 are out. Last year, we were looking at the total number of charges filed against employers beginning to tick up again. One year later, we have a definite trend beginning to build:     The above chart tracks the number of annual EEOC charges going back 20 years. As you can see, the overall number of charges tends to ebb and flow with the general nature of the economy – when a…

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03 Feb 2017 Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act: Legislature’s Quick Fix

The Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act went into effect on Jan. 1, 2017. As previously reported, the act requires employers who provide sick leave benefits in Illinois to allow employees to use the sick leave time for the injury, illness or medical appointment of the employee’s children and certain other family members. In its original form, the act was confusing to employers with respect to its breadth and applicability. In an effort to clear up the confusion, and less than two weeks after the act…

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03 Feb 2017 Lessons Learned: FMLA-Protected Employees can be Disciplined in the Event of Misconduct

  Absent a contractual obligation to the contrary, common sense dictates that if an employee lies about the reason for an absence, an employer can terminate the employee for the lie. But, what if an employer (perhaps mistakenly) believes the reason for the absence was a lie, when in fact the reason for the absence (allegedly) is for an FMLA-protected reason? According to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Frederick Capps v. Mondelez Global LLC, that’s ok, too, so long as…

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31 Jan 2017 The Three Seats of Noncompetes: Mistakes We See When Employees Move

  We often write on Currents about developments in the area of noncompete law, primarily case law and statutory developments across the country in this highly state-specific area. This year will likely be no different – among other things, the seemingly annual ritual of Massachusetts noncompete legislation has begun anew. While the rules shift and evolve, when employers and employees find themselves in disputes over noncompetes, there are recurring themes or factors that might have been avoided.   This article I wrote reviews these factors, broken down…

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31 Jan 2017 EEOC’s Latest Guidance On Mental Health Accommodations Adds Little

  Employee mental health conditions often present some of the more challenging disability accommodation situations.  While no less real and potentially debilitating, we can’t see them, and some of them may be less predictable.  (Include fibromyalgia as another disability in this category.)  Mental health issues may also be stigmatized in ways that other health issues are not, presenting challenges in managing the conduct of employees other than the employee seeking accommodation.  Thus, even the most well-meaning and enlightened supervisors and colleagues may confront challenging scheduling…

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30 Jan 2017 Trump Administration Quick Hitters: Acting EEOC Chair Named, Chief of Staff Requests Regulation Freeze, and DOJ Requests Delay in Fifth Circuit Appeal of OT Rule

  It’s only been a week, but the Trump administration has already been busy making its presence felt in the world of labor and employment.   New EEOC Acting Chief   On Wednesday, President Trump appointed current EEOC Commissioner Victoria Lipnic, a Republican, as the Acting Chair of the Commission.  Originally appointed to the Commission by former President Barack Obama in 2010, her term is set to expire in 2020. Lipnic had previously served in a high-level position in the Department of Labor during the…

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30 Jan 2017 Survey Says: About Half of Employers Offering Paid Sick Leave

  From time to time we share the interesting surveys our friends at Employers Resource Association take from their employer members on timely topics. This one is pretty straightforward:   53 percent of the employers surveyed offer paid sick leave, or PTO, that can be used for sick leave Generally this is for full-time employees only 30 hours is a very common cutoff to determine who is full time Most companies providing paid leave offer at least some at time of hire   Paid sick or…

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26 Jan 2017 Texas Supreme Court to Decide Whether Same-Sex Spouses Are Entitled to Benefits

  Traditionally, marriage is about romantic concepts like love and companionship. But it also has a practical component, such as employee benefits eligibility. Same-sex couples across the country won the right to marry as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015. However, the practical benefits of same-sex marriage are under fire in Texas and the Texas Supreme Court could limit same-sex couples’ right to spousal benefits.   In 2013, same-sex marriages were not allowed in Texas, but the…

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26 Jan 2017 Drill Deeper Than “Fit” as Reason For Termination

  It is common for employers to tell us “he is just not a fit here.” My recent article in another publication discusses how, while it is certainly true that some employees are not a good fit in your organization, it is almost always advisable to break down and articulate the more specific pieces that make up “fit” for liability prevention purposes. Read more here.

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