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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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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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22 Aug Home Sweet Home? Employers and Employees Are Just Scratching the Surface of How Work and Home Fit Together LETTER OF THE LAW: CURRENT EMPLOYMENT LAW ISSUES A-Z

  Employers and their lawyers spend a lot of time focused on current developments and medium term trends, as they must. But after you have worked in employment law for a while, it is interesting to stop and reflect every now and then on the inexorable long term trends that shape our workplaces. (And that is actually pretty useful in effectively addressing shorter term issues.)  Two stand out for me:   1. Regardless of how one spins year to year blips, private sector unions have…

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21 Aug Back to School for Michigan Employers – Minimum Wage Increase

  As the kiddies get ready to go back to school, employers too should freshen up on a few items that are about to change in Michigan, including the minimum wage. Back on May 28, we reported on this blog that Michigan had passed The Workforce Opportunity Wage Act, by which the minimum wage will increase from $7.40 to $9.25 per hour over the next four years. The first incremental increase takes effect on September 4, when the minimum wage will increase to $8.15 per…

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15 Aug When “I Love You” May Be Too Much

  Normally, the words “I love you” make a person feel good, happy, confident and host of other emotions. However, in the employment context, saying these three little words can cause a host of potential issues for both employers and employees. Typically, as employment attorneys, we see these words leading to claims of sexual harassment. But, now it appears saying “I love you” (among other things) also can create a claim of religious discrimination.   In June of this year, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity…

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15 Aug It Depends: The Top 3 Inherently Gray Areas of Employment Law LETTER OF THE LAW: CURRENT EMPLOYMENT LAW ISSUES A-Z

Fact-specific.   Case by case.   These are just two of the terms that stand for one of the frustrating (for employers) truths of many areas of employment law:  there are few black and white answers. There are endless shades of gray, and in honor of this week’s letter of the law (G), we recognize three common gray areas and some specific questions that must be asked when addressing situations under each. The fact that there are so many questions that need to be answered…

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14 Aug Could Corporate Wellness Programs Land A Business in Hot Water?

The EEOC recently filed suit against an employer after it established a self-improvement program based on the “Onionhead” belief system.   The Onionhead belief system is related to the Harnessing Happiness Foundation. The Harnessing Happiness Foundation is a “501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to emotional knowledge and intelligence, conflict resolution and life handling skills for all ages.” The Foundation’s website offers the following description of the belief system: “Onionhead is part of Harnessing Happiness. We used an onion as a medium to express peeling our feelings,…

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13 Aug Notice of San Francisco’s Fair Chance Ordinance Required as of August 13, 2014

  Companies located or doing business in San Francisco that have a total of 20 or more employees worldwide should prepare to provide notice of San Francisco’s Fair Chance Ordinance starting today, August 13, 2014. The Fair Chance Ordinance restricts inquiries regarding a job applicant’s criminal history and imposes other related requirements, including that notice be provided to employees and applicants. The required notice, available here, must be posted in a conspicuous place in every San Francisco worksite that is frequently visited by employees or applicants….

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