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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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20 Jul 2018 Sixth Circuit Holds Full-Time Presence at Work not Essential Simply Because an Employer Says So

On July 17, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reminded employers that determining the essential functions of a position is a highly fact specific endeavor in which categorical rules do not apply.   In Hosttetler v. College of Wooster, Heidi Hostettler worked as a full-time HR Generalist. After giving birth to her child, Hostettler experienced severe postpartum depression and separation anxiety. As a result, Hostetller’s physician determined it was medically necessary that she worked a reduced schedule and recommended that Hostettler…

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05 Jul 2018 E is for Equal Pay: Pay Data Reporting And The Shifting Meaning Of “Equal Work”

Pay equity among men and women has been a “front and center” topic for years.  President Obama made it one of the high priorities for his administration and signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act as his first piece of legislation in 2009.  While the issue and its surrounding policies are nothing new today (nor were they in 2009), it is still leaving employers scratching their heads and is a fitting topic for the next letter up in our Letter of the Law Series, the…

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26 Jun 2018 D is for Drugs: Employee Drug Use and What You Should Know

For those left wondering what is really going on in the complicated world of employee drug use (illegal, legal, and “semi-legal”), I thought I would spend this episode of Letter of the Law highlighting a few issues employers face when they know of or suspect drug use by their employees. 1. Drug Testing – Whether and when employers can require drug testing is a loaded question.  Private employers long understood that they were often within their rights to conduct testing for new hires, based on…

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24 May 2018 Letter C: Co-Workers With Criminal Records? Your Workforce May Be More Open-Minded Than You Think

Letter C is coming at you with a double-punch: Are employees comfortable with their Co-workers having Criminal records?  At least one survey indicates that the answer is yes.   A recent survey commissioned in part by the Society for Human Resource Management finds that a majority of workers say they are willing to work with individuals with criminal records.  The survey aptly notes that, as unemployment continues to decrease, individuals with criminal records might serve as a previously overlooked labor pool.  The survey also found…

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02 May 2018 California Supreme Court Ruling to Give More Workers Employee Status

On Monday, the California Supreme Court issued an opinion in Dynamex Operations West Inc. v. The Superior Court of Los Angeles County, which reversed nearly three decades of precedent by rejecting the longstanding Borello worker classification test. The opinion effectively expands the number of workers that will be deemed as employees for purposes of California wage orders, ultimately granting such workers benefits, minimum wage, and overtime compensation, as well as rest and meal breaks.   As a result of this decision, California employers will have…

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24 Apr 2018 B is for “Bias” – Is Bias The Not-So-New Cause of Discrimination?

  Starbucks made national news earlier this month when two black men were arrested after refusing to leave a store.  News accounts reported that a store manager called 911 after the men remained in the store and asked to use the restroom but had not yet made a purchase.  The fallout from this event was notable to say the least: protests, calls for boycotts, and even an apology from the CEO.  The incident further has sparked a discussion on implicit bias, especially after the national…

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23 Apr 2018 Employers, You Can Do This

  Being an employer can be frustrating – the rules employers need to follow seem to only increase in variety and complexity, and some employees do the darnedest things.  But BT Currents readers should also realize:  There are a lot of things that can be done proactively to minimize employee issues.  I just wrote this short article trying to pump up employers who are feeling a little down in the dumps.  Employers really can handle the challenges before them, focusing on three things:   Plain…

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23 Mar 2018 Medical Marijuana is Coming to Ohio– What Employers Need to Know

  In 2016, Ohio approved the legalization of medical marijuana, but the law does not go into effect until September 2018. Some Ohio business owners might be nervous at the prospect of employees soon having greater access to marijuana, but they needn’t worry, as the law was written in a pro-employer manner.   Nothing in Ohio’s medical marijuana law:   Requires employers to accommodate an employee’s use, possession, or distribution of marijuana in the workplace Prohibits employers from disciplining, terminating, refusing to hire, or otherwise…

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16 Jan 2018 What’s Old Is New Again: DOL Resurrects Advisory Opinion Letters

  Employers can expect to benefit from real-life answers to some real-employer wage-and-hour questions now that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) reinstituted 17 Advisory Opinion Letters that had been originally issued in 2009, but subsequently withdrawn during the Obama administration.   Such opinion letters provide formal, detailed analysis and answers to employers who pose FLSA compliance questions to the DOL. The opinion letters are published on the DOL website, thus any employer who happens to have the same or a similar compliance issue can…

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20 Dec 2017 Employment Visas: Changes to Expect in 2018

  Change is afoot. The Trump administration has moved full steam ahead on immigration proposals focused on, among other things, increased scrutiny of employment visas. The proposed changes were announced in a semi-unified agenda and comes at the heels of Trump’s “Buy American and Hire American” Executive Order, which was rolled out earlier this year. If implemented, these changes will affect thousands of immigrants, and may make it more difficult to obtain work authorization for certain categories of employees.   This agenda does not by…

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