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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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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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11 Apr 2017 Suspending Employee Who Hit Boss With Vehicle Not Retaliation

  In a rather unusual case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Court ruled that the U.S. Postal Service (“Postal Service”) did not retaliate against an employee when it suspended him for two days after he hit his supervisor with a postal vehicle.   Javier Cabral, a letter carrier for the Postal Service, filed three different Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) complaints and several union grievances alleging discrimination, harassment and retaliation. Cabral ultimately sued the Postal Service, alleging hostile work environment, harassment,…

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17 Mar 2017 Does Same-Sex Harassment Support Gender Discrimination Claims? Texas Supreme Court to Decide

  The Texas Supreme Court agreed to determine whether a school teacher’s allegations of a hostile work environment by her same-sex superiors can support a claim of gender discrimination in violation of the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act (TCHRA). The court will also decide whether the circumstantial evidence presented to prove the teacher’s retaliation claim is sufficient to support a violation of the TCHRA.   The teacher alleged that a fellow coach began to sexually harass by allegedly making comments about the teacher’s body…

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03 Mar 2017 By the Numbers: Women in the Workforce

  In honor of Women’s History Month, the U.S. Department of Labor posted some thought-provoking statistics about working women.  While employers already know women play an important role in the U.S. job market, these figures demonstrate just how significant female workers are in our economy.  Below are some of the fascinating numbers about working women:   Nearly half of the U.S. workforce is comprised of women, with more than 74.6 million women employed in civilian jobs Almost 10 million women are business owners and account…

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21 Feb 2017 A Charge-d Atmosphere: A Few Pointers When a Current Employee Files a Charge

  Most employers have had to respond to a discrimination charge filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and/or a corresponding state agency. A large percentage of such charges are brought by terminated employees, claiming that a termination was discriminatory. When that happens, employers gather documentation, provide requested information and prepare a position statement. A significant amount of the time, the charge is dismissed and the employer prevails.   But some charges are brought by current employees, alleging discrimination in the form of:…

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15 Feb 2017 Trump-Appointed EEOC Acting Chair Says Continuity in the Near Term

For the first time since her appointment by President Trump as acting chair of the EEOC, Victoria Lipnic last week provided a glimpse into the commission’s future. Her central message is not to expect to see any major changes in the near future. Acting Chair Lipnic occupies only one of a total of five commission seats at the EEOC. However, there are only four sitting commissioners, as one of the seats is currently vacant. Potential major policy shifts likely will have to wait for other…

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13 Feb 2017 Blog Update: North Carolina Business that Fired Pregnant Employee Agrees to Three-Year Consent Decree with EEOC

  If there’s anything worse than government regulation, perhaps it’s the government breathing down your neck for the next three years. That is what a North Carolina furniture company is facing after it was sued for pregnancy discrimination last summer by the EEOC.   You might remember our blog post last summer about the EEOC’s lawsuit against RTG Furniture Corp. of Georgia d/b/a Rooms to Go (RTG) that fired a pregnant employee who was working with potentially dangerous chemicals. The EEOC had accused RTG of…

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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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27 Dec 2016 EEOC and Hospital Settle Flu Vaccine Religious Accommodation Lawsuit

  Six hospital employees who refused influenza vaccines will be offered re-employment and will receive payments totaling $300,000 to resolve the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) religious accommodation lawsuit against their former employer.   The EEOC and Saint Vincent Health Center in Pennsylvania entered into a consent decree, filed Dec. 23, that includes the hospital’s agreement to terms requiring careful consideration of requests for accommodations based on sincerely held religious beliefs, practices and observances with respect to mandatory influenza vaccination programs. As part of…

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