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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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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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20 Jan 2017 Teachers File Proposed Class Action Suit Claiming Grants Were Illegally Converted Into Loans

  On Jan. 6, two teachers, Ashley Ford and David West, filed a projected class action against the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, a Pennsylvania-based student loan servicer, which the teachers allege has been improperly converting federal teaching grants into loans for its own financial gain. Such fraudulent action is alleged to be in direct violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.   Ford and West claim that the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, which is the only servicer of awards to teachers…

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18 Jan 2017 Writing Employee Policies to Address Different State and Local Laws: Three Strategies [VIDEO]

  We frequently report on the Currents blog about employment issues being addressed at the state and local levels, the two most recent examples being Ohio’s legislation on employees with concealed carry permits and efforts in Ohio to limit local minimum wage ordinances. This trend is likely to only grow with the expanding divisions in the country. This quick video discusses three different non-exclusive strategies for drafting policies to cover jurisdictions with different rules:   Have a single policy that complies with all laws (i.e. follow the strictest…

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13 Jan 2017 Are Employers Required to Predict Employee Behavior? Wrongful Death Suit Sparks Discussion

  On Jan. 10, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit heard oral arguments involving a wrongful death suit that had been dismissed by an Illinois federal judge. The plaintiff, mother of the deceased victim, sued Home Depot USA Inc. and one of its garden suppliers for failing to protect her daughter from a series of abusive behavior directed at her by her supervisor, Brian Cooper, who allegedly used his superior position to coerce the victim into accompanying him to his sister’s wedding…

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09 Jan 2017 OSHA Issues Enforcement Guidance on Controversial Non-Discrimination Provisions

  As we have noted in prior blog posts, the controversial non-discrimination provisions of OSHA’s electronic recordkeeping rules have been challenged in court. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas ultimately declined to issue an injunction preventing the implementation of the rule, but specifically noted “[t]hat the court has denied injunctive relief requested by Plaintiffs is not a comment or indication as to whether Defendants will ultimately prevail on the merits. This determination is left for another day.”   After the court’s…

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