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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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28 Oct 2016 Cook County, Illinois, Approves Increased Minimum Wage for Suburban Workers Beginning Next Year

  Employees making minimum wage in suburban Cook County, Illinois, can look forward to a jump in their wage rate in the years ahead, under an ordinance passed by the Cook County Board of Commissioners earlier this week.   Under the tiered increase set forth in the ordinance, the minimum wage will increase according to the following schedule:   An initial increase to $10 an hour effective July 1, 2017 $11 an hour in July 2018 $12 an hour in July 2019 $13 an hour…

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25 Oct 2016 Down to the Wire: DOL’s “Blacklisting Rule” Enjoined

  A federal judge in Texas has blocked implementation of major portions of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rule, the so-called “blacklisting” rule.   Judge Marcia A. Crone of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas entered a nationwide preliminary injunction order on Oct. 24 blocking the Oct. 25 implementation date of the DOL rule, along with a related Obama Executive Order, the Federal Acquisitions Regulations (“FAR”) Rule and the DOL’s Guidance regarding the FAR Rule….

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24 Oct 2016 UPDATE: OSHA Announces Second Delay in Enforcement of Non-Discrimination Provisions

  As we noted on the blog in July, OSHA announced that it would delay the enforcement of the controversial non-discrimination provisions of its electronic recordkeeping rules until Nov. 1, 2016. The original effective date was Aug. 10, 2016. We previously mentioned that the first delay appeared to be in response to a lawsuit and motion for preliminary injunction challenging the legality of the regulations filed in the Northern District of Texas (Texo ABC/AGC, Inc. et al v. Dept. of Labor, et al., Civil Action No. 3:16-cv-1998).  …

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20 Oct 2016 Jury Gets to Decide: Are Prolonged Walking, Standing Essential Functions of Employee’s Job?

  A New York federal court has decided to take another look at whether prolonged walking or standing are essential functions of an employee’s job. On Oct. 13, 2016, in the case of Reyes v. Phoenix Beverages, Inc., the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued an order that granted employer Phoenix Beverages’ motion for reconsideration in part.   In issuing the order, the court agreed with the employer’s contention that the court had overlooked portions of testimony provided by the…

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17 Oct 2016 Overtime Rules Challenge – Business Groups and States Seek Expedited Relief

  As we have covered in a prior blog post, two different lawsuits have been filed in the Eastern District of Texas challenging the new Department of Labor (DOL) overtime regulations that are currently set to take effect Dec. 1. The DOL’s rule more than doubles the current salary threshold for the “white-collar” exemptions.   In the lawsuit filed by the group of 21 states’ attorney generals, they filed an Emergency Motion for Preliminary Injunction on Oct. 12. The states argued that the DOL exceeded…

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17 Oct 2016 Job Descriptions: Define the Target to Minimize Liability

  Job descriptions can be critical to helping employers avoid liability. Here are a few of my key points from this recent article published by Successful Business News:   Job descriptions define the target for a number of legal purposes – setting forth duties to determine exempt (or not) status under wage/hour laws, accommodation analyses under disability discrimination laws (as Currents blogger Hans Murphy wrote about here), and really any employment dispute that might involve whether the employee was adequately performing duties communicated to her/him (i.e….

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12 Oct 2016 No Matter Who Becomes President, Expect More Change in National Labor and Employment Policy

No matter who occupies the White House in January, the theme of national labor and employment policy is likely to be change.   President Obama has illustrated the powerful influence of the executive on labor and employment policy without the input of Congress. The Obama Administration has raised the minimum wage to $10.10 and granted paid sick leave to approximately 1.5 million employees working under federal contracts. Under President Obama, the DOL changed the salary threshold for finding an employee exempt, the EEOC demanded detailed…

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07 Oct 2016 Sexual Harassment Retaliation Claim Nets Million-Dollar Verdict

  A Chicago-area hospital was hit with a seven-figure jury verdict this week in a whistleblower claim filed by an emergency room doctor, who complained the hospital fired him after he repeatedly warned that one of his E.R. colleagues was sexually harassing subordinates.   The plaintiff – the doctor who is now practicing elsewhere – filed a retaliatory discharge complaint against the hospital, alleging it was common practice for doctors to warn new resident physicians about his colleague—whom he reportedly called a “sexual predator.” He…

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07 Oct 2016 Employer Strategies for Surviving Election Season

  Once again, the “silly season” is upon us. Every four years, battle lines are drawn and many employees take sides, touting their preferred candidate’s merits over what they regard as the utterly despicable nature of the other candidate. Fortunately for employers (and everyone else who values their sanity) this should be over in about a month. I hesitate only because I lived in Florida during the 2000 election, and if you think things are contentious now – pray the current election cycle doesn’t go…

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30 Sep 2016 Should Appeals Courts Give Deference to Lower Courts in EEOC in Subpoena Enforcement Actions? U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Take on the Issue

  As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to open its fall term, the Court has agreed to consider the appropriate standard for court review of U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) subpoenas that the agency issues during its investigations of discrimination charges.   In EEOC v. McLane Co., Inc., the issue is whether the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals should have given deference to a lower court’s decisions regarding enforcement of an EEOC investigatory subpoena or whether appellate courts should take a completely new look…

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