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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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29 Jun 2012 Don’t Screen Out State Laws When Hiring

A recent decision from the Northern District of Illinois serves as a reminder to employers to consider both federal and state laws regarding pre-employment screening when making hiring decisions. In Stratton v. Merrill Lynch, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60426, 2012 WL 1533456 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 25, 2012), the court determined that the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (FDIA) did not preempt the Illinois Human Rights Act, 775 ILCS 5/2-103, which prohibits employers from using the fact of an arrest as a basis for taking an adverse…

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29 Jun 2012 Supreme Court’s Ruling on Healthcare Impacts Employers

In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld nearly every provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Consequently, employers will need to prepare for full implementation of the Act this year and next in anticipation of a new health benefits world in 2014. See our B&T Healthcare Blog’s post for more information about the decision.

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27 Jun 2012 U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Employment Provision in Arizona Immigration Law

The Supreme Court has ruled in Arizona v. United States, Dkt No. 11-182 that Arizona’s S.B. 1070, enacted in 2010 in reaction to increasing undocumented immigration into the State, is largely preempted by federal law. The decision, issued by Justice Kennedy, considered four provisions of the 2010 Arizona law and struck down three, including Section 5(C), which made it a state criminal misdemeanor for undocumented immigrants to apply for employment or work in the state. The Court held that the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA)…

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26 Jun 2012 U.S. Supreme Court to consider definition of “supervisor” for purposes of vicarious liability in hostile work environment case

While all eyes are on the United States Supreme Court this week as we await the release of its decision on the health care reform law as it concludes the 2011-2012 term, we also are looking ahead to cases of importance to employers on the Court’s docket this fall. The Supreme Court on Monday decided to add an interesting racial harassment case to its docket for the 2012-2013 term that will begin in October. The question the Court is expected to answer is whether the…

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26 Jun 2012 Employee Social Networking Password Protection May Soon Become Law in Illinois

Employers in Illinois who are interested in the Internet activities of their employees and job applicants, including activities on social networking sites, will need to be more cautious if Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signs a bill on his desk that the Illinois Legislature recently passed. The legislation, House Bill 3782, would amend the state’s Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act at 820 ILCS 55/10, a section that currently prohibits employers from asking prospective employees about their prior history of worker’s compensation claims. The amended Act would prohibit Illinois employers from requiring employees or…

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25 Jun 2012 What Managers Can Learn from Lilly Ledbetter

At first blush the autobiography of famed Equal Pay Act plaintiff Lilly Ledbetter might not seem all that much of a draw for those whose work involves defense against employment discrimination claims.  Yet the recently published book, Grace and Grit: My Fight for Equal Pay and Fairness at Goodyear and Beyond, (Crown Archtype 2012) has much to offer for employment lawyers, human resource executives, and front-line managers who are involved in employment law compliance. We all know how the story ends – with the enactment…

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22 Jun 2012 Court Rules Participation in Post-Lawsuit Internal Investigation is Protected Activity

Although not particularly surprising, the Northern District of Illinois recently held that an employee who participated in an “internal investigation” regarding a former co-worker who had recently filed a race discrimination lawsuit was engaging in protected activity under Title VII.  The employee was therefore allowed to move forward with his retaliation claim after he himself was terminated several months later.  The opinion, Gomez v. Restaurant One Limited Partnership, may be found here. The case is noteworthy because the Seventh Circuit has previously held that participating…

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18 Jun 2012 Supreme Court Issues Long-Awaited Decision in Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham Corp.

Today the U.S. Supreme Court issued a long-awaited decision in Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham Corp., holding in a 5-4 decision that pharmaceutical sales employees are exempt outside salespeople. The decision may be read here. The case is significant for several reasons.  The most obvious reason is that it represents our highest court interpreting the outside sales exemption, so any business relying on (or thinking of relying on) this exemption should review the decision with counsel to ensure ongoing compliance. The central issue in Christopher was whether the…

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18 Jun 2012 Obama Directive Offers Relief to Certain Unauthorized Immigrants

Under a new directive from President Obama, unauthorized immigrants who meet specific criteria will not be subject to deportation, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization immediately. To be eligible for relief, individuals must show, on a case-by-case basis, that they: – came to the United States under the age of 16; – have continuously lived in the U.S. for at least five years (before June 15) and are now present in the U.S.; – are currently in school, have graduated from high…

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18 Jun 2012 DOL Decision Supports Expansion of SOX Whistleblower Protections To Contractors of Publicly Traded Companies

The Administrative Review Board (Board) for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued a decision, expanding the scope of the whistleblower protections under Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX). In Spinner v. David Landau and Associates, LLC., the Board specifically rejected an earlier decision issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and, instead, found that SOX’s whistleblower protections extend to the employees of contractors and subcontractors of publicly traded companies. In the Spinner case, Thomas Spinner was a Certified Public Accountant,…

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