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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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10 Feb 2016 UNPAID INTERNS –DOES THE Second CIRCUIT’S AMENDED OPINION IN FOX SEARCHLIGHT HELP OR HURT EMPLOYERS?

  Hearst Corporation, publisher of such magazines as Cosmopolitan, ELLE and Harper’s BAZAAR, has filed a motion for summary judgment against the claims of former unpaid interns seeking unpaid minimum wages and overtime based on a recent Second Circuit opinion in the Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc., case. As we have covered in a number of prior blog posts (2013 and 2014), there have been a variety of class action claims filed by unpaid interns in the movie and publishing industries where thousands of individuals…

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08 Feb 2016 Groundhog Day: Declaring the Impending Death of Massachusetts Noncompetes

  For the last three years, we have reported on legislative efforts to ban noncompetes in Massachusetts. You can see each of those reports here. Thus far none of those efforts have been successful. Here again in 2016, legislative efforts to ban noncompetes promise to continue in Massachusetts, with one commentator declaring, “This is the year.”   Our job as business lawyers is to advise clients on how widely varying state laws affect their ability to use noncompetes, then they can make their business decisions…

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Laborsalaryimage
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01 Feb 2016 UGH!! Now They Want Wage Info on the EEO-1?!?

  On Jan. 29, the White House announced that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will issue proposed regulations to modify the Employer Information Report, known as the EEO-1, to include collecting pay data from employers with more than 100 employees. The EEOC says it needs this pay data to “assist . . . in identifying possible pay discrimination and assist employers in promoting equal pay in their workplaces.”   Currently, the EEO-1 gathers information on employers’ workforces by race, ethnicity, sex, and job category….

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29 Jan 2016 Hold Your Horses: A Plaintiff’s Long Rap Sheet Might Not Get You to the Finish Line

With each case, employers defending discrimination claims know at least these three things: litigation can be expensive, litigation is time-consuming, and the outcome is never a sure thing.   Still, every once in a while, information is revealed that makes the case more thrilling, and little is more exciting than discovering a plaintiff’s criminal past, such as an ADA plaintiff who illegally sold prescription pain medications and also may have engaged in shoplifting.  Sounds like great evidence that should torpedo the plaintiff’s claims, right?  Not…

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26 Jan 2016 The EEOC wants to hear your opinion on retaliation claims under Title VII

  If you would like to add your two cents to the debate about compliance with anti-retaliation provisions in Title VII and other federal non-discrimination statutes, the EEOC is listening.   The EEOC has announced that it has prepared an Enforcement Guidance on retaliation and has now opened the process for public comments.  The EEOC last issued guidance on retaliation back in 1998, so now it is seeking to update its guidance to incorporate recent rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court and lower federal courts…

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22 Jan 2016 Meowing Dogs and Barking Cats: Supreme Court Grants Certiorari to Determine Service Advisors’ Eligibility for Overtime Pay

  The Supreme Court recently granted certiorari in Navarro v. Encino Motorcars, LLC, after the Ninth Circuit found that the FLSA exemption for overtime pay does not apply to car dealership service advisors. The relevant FLSA exemption applies to “any salesman, partsman, or mechanic primarily engaged in selling or servicing automobiles.” Service advisors diagnose vehicle service needs and suggest additional services for the maintenance of vehicles. They are paid on a commission basis only, and receive neither an hourly wage nor a salary.   Car…

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15 Jan 2016 HR Note to Self: Accommodate Obvious Disabilities

  A recent case out of Connecticut federal court serves as a fine reminder that a good dose of common sense can be indispensable for staying out of trouble under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In the case in question, a call center employee was a top performer, consistently receiving sterling performance evaluations and even a special award for outstanding service. Unfortunately, a car accident led to disabling spine, hip, elbow, shoulder, and knee injuries. The employee’s performance suffered as her injuries made it…

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Courtroom
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12 Jan 2016 Is Sexual Orientation Discrimination Really Sex Discrimination? The EEOC Wants Courts To Think So

  Although sexual orientation is not specifically listed as a protected class under Title VII, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is fighting to expand the law through judicial interpretation to protect sexual orientation. The EEOC’s latest efforts came in an amicus brief filed in Burrows v. College of Central Florida, an Eleventh Circuit case in which the plaintiff claims she lost her job because she is a lesbian.   The EEOC makes the following arguments in its attempt to persuade the court that sexual…

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08 Jan 2016 What You Need to Know: Open Carry Law Brings About Changes for Employer Handgun Policies

  The Texas Legislature recently expanded the rights of licensed handgun owners to openly carry their firearms. This right is in addition to the already existing right of licensed handgun owners to carry concealed firearms. The so-called “open carry” law went into effect on Jan. 1 in Texas.   Texas employers who desire to prohibit all—customers, employees, contractors, or vendors— who enter their premises from carrying licensed concealed or open carry handguns and who post the statutorily required notices in English and Spanish (with the…

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08 Jan 2016 Permanent Lifting Restrictions and the ADA

  Permanent lifting restrictions can be a headache for employers when navigating through the accommodation process under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In determining the reasonableness of accommodating these restrictions, employers should review the essential functions of the position, whether it has provided similar accommodations, and whether such an accommodation could be provided permanently. All of this can be time consuming and difficult and can result in litigation if done wrong. However, a recent decision by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals provides some…

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