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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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24 May 2016 SCOTUS Rejects a Rule Neither Employers nor Employees Wanted: Green v. Brennan Decision

In Monday’s Green v. Brennan ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the limitations period for constructive discharge runs from the date the employee gives notice of the intent to resign. The 7-1 outcome was not a surprise following the questioning by the justices during oral arguments. The justices held that the filing period begins when an employee resigns as a result of discriminatory behavior, not when an employer creates an environment so adversarial that an employee feels forced to resign, previously ruled in 2014…

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Ten o'clock on the white wall clocks
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20 May 2016 New Overtime Rules: All That Glitters Is Not Gold

With apologies to Shakespeare (the above phrase is a slight corruption of his original line from Merchant of Venice, “All that glisters is not gold”), we continue our coverage of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) controversial – to say the least – new overtime regulations. To catch everyone up, earlier this week the DOL issued its final regulations that more than doubled the minimum salary necessary to be considered for the key exemptions from overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). As of…

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18 May 2016 Applications Are Welcome; Drugs Are Not

It’s an oft-heard refrain from many of our clients: “We need good employees.” Not just any employees, but employees who know how to show up for work – consistently and on time. Employees who do good work. And, by the way, who also can pass a drug test.   Maybe it’s the lag effects of legalizing marijuana, or the crippling epidemic of opioids invading our workforce. Regardless, communities and business are seeking (with mixed success) drug-free employees. These challenges are outlined, in small part, in an…

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18 May 2016 UPDATED: DOL Unveils New Overtime Regulations

The Department of Labor (DOL) released its anticipated updated white collar exemption rule on May 18.  The new rule will take effect on Dec. 1, 2016, giving employers more time than anticipated to plan for necessary changes.   Vice President Joe Biden is expected to make the formal announcement in Columbus, Ohio, at the beloved Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream headquarters at 2:30 pm EDT.   According to the White House, “the new rule is expected to extend overtime protections to 4.2 million more Americans who…

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17 May 2016 Department of Labor to Issue Finalized White Collar Exemption Rule on Wednesday, May 18

Amid rampant predictions, late on Tuesday, May 17, the White House has announced that the Department of Labor’s (DOL) highly anticipated new white collar exemption rule will be unveiled on Wednesday, May 18.  The new rule will take effect on Dec. 1, 2016, giving employers more time than anticipated to plan for necessary changes.   According to the White House, “the new rule is expected to extend overtime protections to 4.2 million more Americans who are not currently eligible under federal law, and it is…

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16 May 2016 Ohio Pregnancy Accommodation Bill Much More “Accommodating” to Employees Than ADA

A bill named the Pregnancy Reasonable Accommodation Act was recently introduced in the Ohio Senate (S.B. 301). Although the bill is only in its infancy, it has bipartisan support in the Senate and could quickly be ratified. If the bill becomes law, it could dramatically increase the rights of pregnant employees and place additional unwanted burdens on employers.   The bill would require employers to grant pregnant employees a reasonable accommodation, which could include:   modifying equipment, seating or uniforms providing assistance with manual labor…

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14 May 2016 Employer’s Delay Results in Waiver of Arbitration

In sports, a team could be penalized if there is a delay in game. In law, a company could lose its right to compel arbitration if it delays in exercising its arbitration rights. This is exactly what happened in a recent 8th Circuit Court of Appeals decision, Messina v. North Central Distributing, Inc. d/b/a Yosemite Home Decor.   In Messina, the former vice president, Richard Messina, signed a two-year employment agreement with North Central Distributing, Inc., d/b/a Yosemite Home Decor (Yosemite) as well as a…

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13 May 2016 A Smorgasbord of Termination Reasons That Might Be Used Against You

One of the most frequently asked questions in employment law counseling is “Can I terminate Employee X?” The better and more salient question is “For what reason(s) should I terminate Employee X?”   Not all reasons are created equal. There is a perception that the more reasons provided the greater the strength of the employer’s defense. And it’s true. Each discrete reason proffered by the employer must be rebutted. So, the more, the better? No, says the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in a recent…

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Safety, document circulation, the Information on protection
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11 May 2016 How Confidential is Your Information?

As I recently sat in the airport waiting for my flight, I became fascinated by watching and listening to people on their phones.  What astonished me the most was how much “confidential” business information really was not confidential.   During a 30 minute wait, I sat near a gentleman who proudly wore his employer’s logo on his golf shirt and jacket. He also loudly explained, while on his phone, that this same company’s anticipated product now had at least a two-year waiting period for FDA…

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10 May 2016 55-Year-Old Employee Fails to Establish Age Discrimination Claim against 3D Printing Company

Last week, a Minnesota Federal District Court granted summary judgment in favor of a New Mexico company accused of age discrimination. Optomec, Inc., is a New Mexico-based corporation that develops and manufactures 3D printing systems. While Optomec is headquartered in Albuquerque, it has also has a facility in St. Paul, Minnesota.   In 2013, Thomas Nash, who was 53-years-old at the time, began working for Optomec as a paid intern in the company’s St. Paul location. During his internship, Nash received average to “tepid” reviews….

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