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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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18 Sep OSHA ISSUES NEW MANDATORY REPORTING REQUIREMENTS FOR SERIOUS INJURIES; DATA TO BE MADE PUBLIC

  On September 11, 2014, OSHA announced a final rule which greatly expands the scope of injuries which must be reported to OSHA on an expedited basis. Currently, employers only have an affirmative obligation to report an injury/illness to OSHA under the following circumstances:  a) a work-related fatality (within 8 hours); b) the hospitalization of three (3) or more employees (within 8 hours) or c) the occurrence of a point-of-operation injury on a mechanical power press (within 30 days).   Under the revised standard, an employer…

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18 Sep Reminder: Pregnant Employees are a Protected Class

  This should come as no newsflash: Just because you own a company, an organization, a pro basketball team or a pro baseball team, does not mean that you have a license to do or say whatever you want. At least, not without stirring up some trouble.   Donald Sterling, the former owner of the L.A. Clippers was ousted from the NBA after allegedly racist remarks were made public. Last week, we learned that Atlanta Hawks controlling owner Bruce Levenson self-reported that he sent a…

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17 Sep What’s In Your RIF? Age Discrimination Decision Highlights Documenting Rationale For A RIF, And That Even as Adults, A Plaintiff Should Not Just Copy Someone Else’s Work . . .

  Consistent with the age-old adage that there is no free ride, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals rejected an age discrimination claim of a former employee who based his case on comments allegedly made to another employee.   The case involved a long-time employee of a large financial company who began work in 1988 and survived multiple mergers and restructurings. But, in 2010, his performance was rated in the bottom tier of employee rankings in the company. Coincidentally, his employee conducted a reduction in force (RIF)…

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15 Sep FMLA Certifications: When “Unknown” and “Probably” Aren’t Enough

  The words on the FMLA Certification jump out at us: “Unknown.” “Unpredictable.” “Probably.” Instead of the certainty we were looking for, we have more questions.   The DOL regulations require that the FMLA Certifications not only be “complete,” but also “sufficient.” What is “sufficient?” In looking at this issue recently, we found no DOL advisory opinions, although there are some court rulings to guide us.   As an initial matter, rely on the regulations: a medical certification is incomplete if information requested is not provided,…

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05 Sep New Illinois Law Will Require Pregnancy Accommodations Starting January 1, 2015

  Illinois employers should start preparing to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees and new mothers – including leaves of absence – under a new law that will go into effect on January 1, 2015. Notice posting will be required and employers also may need to revise employee handbooks or policy manuals in anticipation of the effective date of the new law.   The Illinois law, which amends the Illinois Human Rights Act, will allow women to request reasonable accommodations in the workplace for medical…

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05 Sep 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 feature 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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02 Sep NLRB “Likes” Employees’ Facebook Argument

  The NLRB recently ruled that “liking” a Facebook comment is protected, concerted activity under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Thus, firing an employee for “liking” what the company deemed to be a disparaging remark regarding tax withholdings was unlawful. The decision can be found here.   In short, employees of a bar & grille were not happy when they found out that their employer had miscalculated tax withholdings (meaning they still owed money), so they did what more and more folks seem to…

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28 Aug 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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25 Aug The Interactive Process Under the ADA – Are you engaging in it?

  We’ve been seeing a lot of cases lately where employers are finding it difficult to dispose of ADA claims before trial. It’s not what it used to be where you could often show an employee was not disabled under the ADA and likely prevail on summary judgment. With the broader scope (or interpretation of) a disability under the ADA, employers often find themselves arguing over whether an employee with a disability is qualified for a position, or whether an accommodation is truly reasonable.  …

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22 Aug California Governor Signs Bills Impacting California Wage Suits

  California Governor Jerry Brown signed two bills earlier this week intended to clarify California’s wage laws. The first of these bills, A.B. 2074, clarifies the statute of limitations to file suit for liquidated damages in relation to a violation of California’s minimum wage payment law. Specifically, existing law allows an employee to bring a civil lawsuit against an employer for the unpaid balance of wages/compensation owed to that individual, as well as to recover liquidated damages equal to unpaid wages plus interest in an…

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