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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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19 May 2017 Current Administration Considers EEOC and Labor Department Subagency Merger

  The Trump administration is reportedly considering a potential merger between the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and a Labor Department subagency that enforces nondiscrimination requirements and affirmative action on government contractors.   The recommendation to merge the two entities originated from The Heritage Foundation, a Washington-based conservative research think tank. In its report, “Blueprint for Reform: A Comprehensive Policy Agenda for a New Administration in 2017,” The Heritage Foundation previously called for a complete phasing out of the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal…

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17 May 2017 Hiring Teenagers This Summer? Here are 3 Key Considerations

  School’s out for the summer. If you do business in recreation, restaurants, or retail, chances are you will be employing teen workers this season. So now is a good time to learn from a few real-world examples of legal issues involving teen workers.   The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will not hesitate to come to the aid of young workers if it believes they have been subjected to sexual harassment. You can read the EEOC’s descriptions of several of its cases involving harassment…

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12 May 2017 Trump’s Actual Impact on OSHA

  In November, I attempted to look into the crystal ball to see what potential impact the new Trump administration could have on the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). Here are some of results so far, which on the whole, are favorable to employers who suffered under the “regulation by shaming” mantra of past Assistant Secretary of Labor David Michaels.   Budget Cuts – As predicted, on May 5, President Trump signed a spending bill that cuts the labor department’s discretionary spending budget by…

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08 May 2017 House Passes Bill to Legalize Comp Time in the Private Sector

  Employers and employees may soon have more flexibility in how and when overtime gets paid. Last week the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Working Families Flexibility Act (WFFA), a law that would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by allowing employers to offer, and employees to accept, “comp time”­ instead of cash payment for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. “Comp time” is generally defined as paid time off that is earned instead of receiving cash payment for overtime. It is…

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05 May 2017 Avoiding the Danegeld (Part 2)

  As a follow up to my post on avoiding the Danegeld and limiting knowledge of employment settlements to those who have a need to know, here is an example of getting it right.   Recently, conservative pundit Glenn Beck and his media outlet, TheBlaze, Inc., were hit with a lawsuit from Tomi Lahren, a terminated on-air commentator. Lahren claimed that her firing was a violation of her employment agreement, arguing that the given reason – expressing an opinion that Beck disliked – was not…

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Settlement
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05 May 2017 Avoiding the Danegeld: Discouraging Me-Too Claims Following a Settlement

  A thousand years ago, Viking warriors would invade a town and threaten to destroy it if the townsfolk did not pay a tax called a “Danegeld” (meaning to pay the Dane gold). Of course, once the town paid the Danegeld tax, the Vikings saw the town as an easy mark – one to which they would return to and demand payment all over again. Essentially, this was the Middle Ages equivalent of a mobster shakedown: promising to “protect” your property to make sure nothing…

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01 May 2017 Lessons Learned: Job Descriptions Do Matter

  When was the last time you reviewed the job descriptions of your employees?  At the time of the review, did you ask supervisors to review the job descriptions to see if they were accurate?  What about the employees – did you have each employee review and sign the applicable job description, acknowledging that it accurately described the job duties as performed by the employee?  While there is no legal requirement to regularly update job descriptions (or even to have them), the 11th Circuit’s decision…

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28 Apr 2017 Can Employers Terminate an Employee Because of Vacation Photos Posted to Facebook?

  It is no secret that employers can and will make employment decisions based on employee social media postings—but will those employment decisions hold up in court? In a recent case, Jones v. Gulf Coast Health Care of Delaware, the Eleventh Circuit held that an employee could proceed on a claim for retaliation under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) following his termination for posting vacation photos to his Facebook.   Rodney Jones worked at Accentia Health and Rehabilitation Center of Tampa Bay. Mr….

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24 Apr 2017 California Supreme Court Throws Down the Gauntlet on Arbitration Waivers

  The California Supreme Court is no stranger to invalidating mandatory arbitration provisions. Recently, however, the court lay down yet another challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court’s AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion case, holding that an arbitration agreement that waives the right to public injunctive relief is unenforceable under California law.   In the case, McGill v. Citibank, N.A., Sharon McGill alleged that Citbank engaged in illegal and deceptive practices in marketing a credit insurance plan she purchased. She filed a class action suit under…

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19 Apr 2017 Court Tells Skydiver’s Estate It Won’t Reconsider Title VII Claim

  On April 18, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit declined to reconsider the estate of deceased skydiver Donald Zarda’s Title VII claim against former employer Altitude Express. Zarda filed suit claiming his employment was terminated because of his sexual orientation. Although his New York state law claim was explicitly based on sexual orientation, his Title VII claim was characterized as a sex discrimination claim.   The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York granted summary judgment to Altitude…

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