Follow Us
twittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube
Subscribe to the BT Currents Blog

By signing up, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Recent Posts
The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
0 0

29 Dec 2014 The Year in Social Media: Four Big Developments from 2014

As social networking has become entrenched as a tool for doing business and not just a pastime of our social lives, employers, government agencies, and even academia have taken big steps in 2014 to define how social media can and cannot, or should and should not, be used. Below is a summary of some of the big developments in social media in the workplace this year.   The EEOC Turns Its Attention to Social Media The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has turned its attention toward…

READ MORE
0 0

01 Dec 2014 ADA: Does “Regarded As” Still Matter? LETTER OF THE LAW: CURRENT EMPLOYMENT LAW ISSUES A-Z

  One of the things that makes the Americans with Disabilities Act distinctive among discrimination laws is its “regarded as” prong.  It protects not only people who in fact are disabled from discrimination, but also people who are regarded as disabled. R is for “regarded as” and what it means for most employers and employees in 2014.   While the question of what conduct is “because of” sex and therefore covered by Title VII’s sex discrimination prohibition is a hot topic and somewhat analogous, generally…

READ MORE
0 0

18 Nov 2014 The EEOC Sues Yet Another Employer for Allegedly Violating the ADA With Its Inflexible Leave Policy

The EEOC’s position is clear. The ADA requires employers to incorporate flexibility into their leave of absence policies or face the consequences. In late September, we were reminded of this yet again when the EEOC sued a Chicago-area manufacturer for capping the amount of leave provided to employees, without considering whether a reasonable accommodation may exist for each employee. In this latest suit against Doumak, Inc., the EEOC alleged that an employer and its employees’ respective union had violated the ADA by placing a cap…

READ MORE
0 0

07 Nov 2014 Recent Case In Michigan Highlights Increased Focus On Transgender Discrimination

As we previously reported, the EEOC recently made history when it filed two lawsuits seeking to protect transgender workers under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). The lawsuits – filed separately in federal courts in Michigan and Florida – allege that the employers engaged in unlawful gender-identity discrimination after they terminated two employees who were transitioning to the opposite sex. Rather than explicitly allege gender-identity discrimination – which is not actionable – the EEOC carefully crafted both judicial complaints to…

READ MORE
0 0

31 Oct 2014 EEOC Part of Increasing Focus on LGBT Issues

We seem clearly to be in the midst of a shift towards greater employment protections for LGBT employees, evidenced both by discrimination legislation largely at a state and local level and less directly in the legal environment by developments such as greater acceptance of gay marriage including the Supreme Court’s recent refusal to consider lower court decisions invalidating state statutes prohibiting gay marriage.   EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum recently released this interesting summary of the EEOC’s activities and positions on LGBT issues. Highlights include:   Title…

READ MORE
0 0

02 Oct 2014 There’s No Question – The EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan Is In Full Bloom

  You’ll recall that the EEOC put out a Strategic Enforcement Plan to cover FY 2013-2016. This Plan offered a peek into what the Agency might tackle in the coming years. One of the Agency’s six national priorities was to address emerging and developing issues in equal employment law, which, in the Agency’s words included “issues associated with significant events, demographic changes, developing theories, new legislation, judicial decisions and administrative interpretations.” Well, based on the Agency’s actions over the past week or so, no one…

READ MORE
0 0

30 Sep 2014 EEOC SUES TWO EMPLOYERS FOR TRANSGENDER DISCRIMINATION

  In June, we wrote about a landmark decision where the EEOC found that discrimination against transgender individuals constitutes sex discrimination in violation of Title VII. Because it has been a while, here is a recap.   The administrative decision stems from a case where Mia Macy, a transgender individual, was denied a job as a ballistics technician by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The facts are straightforward:  Macy previously was a police detective in Phoenix, Arizona. In December 2010, she decided…

READ MORE
0 0

15 Aug 2014 When “I Love You” May Be Too Much

  Normally, the words “I love you” make a person feel good, happy, confident and host of other emotions. However, in the employment context, saying these three little words can cause a host of potential issues for both employers and employees. Typically, as employment attorneys, we see these words leading to claims of sexual harassment. But, now it appears saying “I love you” (among other things) also can create a claim of religious discrimination.   In June of this year, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity…

READ MORE
0 0

14 Aug 2014 Could Corporate Wellness Programs Land A Business in Hot Water?

The EEOC recently filed suit against an employer after it established a self-improvement program based on the “Onionhead” belief system.   The Onionhead belief system is related to the Harnessing Happiness Foundation. The Harnessing Happiness Foundation is a “501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to emotional knowledge and intelligence, conflict resolution and life handling skills for all ages.” The Foundation’s website offers the following description of the belief system: “Onionhead is part of Harnessing Happiness. We used an onion as a medium to express peeling our feelings,…

READ MORE
0 0

16 Jun 2014 ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: COURT OKS “INFLEXIBLE” SIX MONTHS OF LEAVE

  Must an employer allow more than six months sick leave to an ill employee? In Hwang v. Kansas State University, a federal appeals court answered with a clear, “No.”   An assistant professor at Kansas State University was diagnosed with cancer and needed extended time off for treatment. The university granted the professor a six-month paid leave of absence, but it declined to extend her leave after a subsequent request for more time. The university cited its “inflexible” policy, which allowed no more than…

READ MORE