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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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30 Oct 2017 OSHA Developments – More Good News for Employers

  As I mentioned in May, there have been a number of positive regulatory or enforcement developments for employers, including (1) the repeal of the Volks rule, which would have changed the statute of limitations for OSHA recordkeeping violations from six months to more than five years, and (2) the rescinding of the memo establishing union walk-around inspection rights even in a non-union setting.   Electronic Recordkeeping   The good news for employers continues with developments related to the electronic recordkeeping rule and the associated…

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26 Oct 2017 Will the DOL Rescind the Tip Pool Rule?

  On Oct. 24, the Office of Management and Budget announced that it has received a proposal from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to rescind its 2011 rule on tip pooling. The 2011 rule prevents employers from requiring tipped employees, who are paid less than minimum wage, to share their tips with traditionally non-tipped workers. The DOL has not released its proposal publicly, but its regulatory agenda for 2017 indicates that it wants to “rescind the current restrictions on tip pooling by employers that…

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24 Oct 2017 California Moves Outside the Box, Imposes New Criminal Background Check Prohibitions

  “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” Countless employees have encountered this check-the-box question on employment applications. Over the years, however, several states have introduced “ban the box” laws to restrict the use of such questions and impose barriers to pre-employment screening processes. Expanding upon that activity, California Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1008, which amends the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and imposes new restrictions on employers’ criminal background screening processes. The new law takes effect on…

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24 Oct 2017 Dawn of a New ICE Age: Are You Ready for Immigration & Customs Enforcement?

  Last week, in a speech at the conservative think tank, The Heritage Foundation, the Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that his agency is aggressively stepping up worksite enforcement on two major fronts. His announcement raises the question: is your company ready?   ICE Acting Director Tom Homan told attendees that the Homeland Security Investigations agency will increase – by four to five times – the worksite enforcement actions in the coming year. Quintupling the number of worksite enforcement actions certainly sounds…

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20 Oct 2017 Batten Down the Hatches, an ‘ICE’ Storm Is About to Blow In…

  Authored by: Michael Palmer, Jeff Papa, Mariana Richmond and Mercedes Badia-Tavas   It’s official! Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will extend its immigration actions in the workplace.   Since the 2016 election, we have talked with employers about the effect the Trump administration’s policy on immigration could have in the workplace. In fact, the Barnes & Thornburg Immigration and Global Mobility Practice Group has trained hundreds of employers this year on the importance of addressing this risk.   On Oct. 17, the acting director…

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16 Oct 2017 The Government Seal on EEOC Anti-Harassment Training: Is It Worth It?

  Does putting the U.S. government seal on workplace training make it more or less appealing? The EEOC’s recent announcement that it is offering workplace training modules on Respect in the Workplace has colleagues on the employment and human resources circuit asking each other, “At its core, is this a really a good idea for us?”   After all, there appear to be some immediate advantages: Pre-packaged. The EEOC is offering turn-key, ready-to-deliver training for employees. Let’s face it, who has enough time to develop and…

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13 Oct 2017 Attention Illinois Employers: 3 Handbook Policies to Revisit Now

  If you haven’t reviewed your attendance, sick leave, or pregnancy-related policies in a while, the time is right to ensure you stay up to date and prevent potential pitfalls.   Parental leave and pregnancy accommodation policies may need updates   Recent lawsuits, such as the one that the EEOC filed against Estee Lauder, claim companies’ parental leave policies violate sex discrimination laws if they provide male employees with less bonding leave upon the birth of a child than female employees receive. This serves as…

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06 Oct 2017 R-E-S-P-E-C-T in the Workplace? The EEOC Becomes Trainer-in-Chief

  The EEOC announced this week that it is launching training programs to help employers foster respectful, inclusive work environments.   The EEOC Training Institute is offering to send trainers into your workplace and lead separate modules for supervisors and employees. Supervisor training titled “Leading for Respect” is a four-hour program; the one for all employees, “Respect in the Workplace,” is a three-hour program.   This week’s announcement culminates a long inquiry into workplace harassment. In January 2015, the EEOC formed the Select Task Force…

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03 Oct 2017 Will Ohio Pass a Law to Protect LGBTQ Rights?

  There has been widespread activity in the U.S. Courts of Appeals in 2017 regarding whether Title VII includes sexual orientation as one of its protected classes, but the answer is still unresolved on a national level. In an effort to provide protections where federal law does not necessarily do so, 20 states and the District of Columbia have banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment settings. However, Ohio is not one of those 20 states, and past efforts to amend Ohio’s…

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30 Sep 2017 Ohio ‘Reverse’ Racial Discrimination Ruling Reinforces Employers’ Advantage in Constructive Discharge Cases

  Our clients are typically employers, but this decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (the appellate court for Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee) on Sept. 28 illustrates one piece of advice we would give an aggrieved employee if asked: Don’t quit! (We’re not changing sides, by the way.)   Steve Fletcher, a white registered nurse, sued his employer alleging racial discrimination, and his story has many hallmarks of discrimination cases we see every day:   A new supervisor who, it…

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