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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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05 Sep 2014 Indiana Follows Illinois in Key Noncompete Decisions from the Heartland LETTER OF THE LAW: CURRENT EMPLOYMENT LAW ISSUES A-Z

  With apologies to Iowa, home to the somewhat famous (infamous?) case of the dental assistant fired for being irresistible and Idaho (not yet featured in BT Currents), Letter of the Law this week features two of the “I states” for some of the more noteworthy noncompete decisions of the last year. As readers know, the key driver in noncompete drafting and enforcement often is the dynamic of varying state laws. Employers and practitioners need to keep tabs on developments outside their own state because, try as…

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28 Aug 2014 Seventh Circuit Judges Grill State Attorneys on Gay Marriage

  On August 26, state officials from Wisconsin and Indiana faced blistering scrutiny from a panel of Seventh Circuit judges as they argued in favor of reinstating laws in each state banning gay marriage. Judges Posner, Hamilton and Williams pushed them to their limits and asked a number of pointed questions regarding their arguments.   Judge Posner took the attorneys to task regarding the interests of children, quickly interrupting Indiana’s Solicitor General Thomas Fisher and asking if children wouldn’t want their parents to be married…

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27 Jun 2014 U.S. District Court Strikes Down Indiana’s Ban On Same-Sex Marriage

  On June 25, 2014, U.S. District Judge Richard Young ruled that Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  Judge Young’s decision in Baskin et al v. Hogan et al can be found here. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has requested a stay of Judge Young’s decision pending an appeal. In the meantime, local Indiana courts have starting issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.   Unless Judge Young’s decision is stayed or overturned on…

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26 Mar 2014 Have You Double-Checked The Language Of Your Non-Compete Lately? If Not, You Need To…

A recent decision of the Indiana Court of Appeals could drive a stake through the heart of many non-compete agreements.  The case, Clark’s Sales and Service, Inc. v. Smith and Ferguson Enterprises, involved a long-time salesman for an appliance retailer.  Mid-way through his 14-year employment tenure (and after a key colleague went to go work for one of the company’s competitors), his employer required him to sign a non-compete agreement. The key provisions of the non-compete should be familiar to most employers.   For two…

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01 Nov 2013 Untimeliness, Hearsay, and Failure to Link Alleged Negative References and Third-Party Job Rescissions to Protected Activity Doom Employee’s Retaliation Claim

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana has dismissed the retaliation claims raised against Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly) by former employee Cassandra Welch (Welch), reaffirming that discrete acts of alleged retaliation must independently meet timeliness requirements under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (imposing a four year statute of limitations), and finding a void of evidence to link eighteen job rescissions to any retaliatory animus on behalf of Lilly. Specifically, in Welch v. Eli Lilly Co., found here, Plaintiff Welch had been terminated…

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26 Jul 2013 Indiana Court of Appeals Upholds the Enforcement of a Five-Year Non-compete Agreement

When Indiana employers draft non-compete agreements, they must weigh whether the Indiana courts will find their agreements’ restrictions to be reasonable, and therefore enforceable.  The Indiana Court of Appeal recently issued a decision which illustrates how restrictive these agreements can be.  In Mayne v. O’Bannon Publishing Co. d/b/a Corydon Instant Press, the court upheld the enforcement of a five-year non-compete agreement covering a two-county area. O’Bannon Publishing Co. employed Elizabeth Mayne as a manager at its facility in Harrision County, Indiana, which is directly across the…

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12 Sep 2012 Unverified EEOC Filing Not Good Enough, Says Northern District of Indiana

As many employers know, before proceeding to court, Title VII discrimination lawsuits must first be filed with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) or a parallel state agency.  Aiming to protect employees by ensuring that a charging party is at least willing to make his or her claims subject to the penalties for perjury, federal statutory law further requires that the agency charge be filed “in writing under oath or affirmation[.]” 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(b). It is this less well known requirement that recently tripped…

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16 Aug 2012 Indiana Plaintiff Defeats Legitimate Nondiscriminatory Reason Defense

A usually reliable defense in federal court employment cases is the legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason, but recently, that defense turned out not to be enough in a sex discrimination claim. As a refresher, an employee who believes she was not selected for a given position because of her race or sex – or any other protected characteristic, for that matter – can establish a prima facie case of discrimination at the summary judgment stage using the commonly used McDonnell Douglas method.  To do so, she must…

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10 Jul 2012 What Does the Supreme Court’s Ruling Mean to Indiana Employers?

While the Supreme Court held that several provisions of AZ’s immigration law were preempted by federal law in the landmark decision of Arizona v. United States, employers should not be misled into believing that all state law immigration laws have been invalidated. The provisions of the law which were struck down were those of a criminal nature (i.e., making it a misdemeanor for unauthorized aliens to apply for work, to fail to carry valid immigration documents as well as a provision for warrantless arrests of…

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22 May 2012 Indiana Ranks 13th In EEOC Charges Received by State

For the first time ever, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently released a state-by-state analysis of charges received.  The statistics cover 2009-2011 and the link can found here.  The top five states receiving the most charges were, in order, Texas (9952), Florida (8088), California (7166), Illinois (6098), and Georgia (5599). Commentators have noted these states’ large populations generally, as well as high numbers of individuals most vulnerable to discrimination, as contributing to the charge numbers.  Indiana ranked 13th in the number of charges filed…

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