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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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25 Jul Donning & Doffing: Old Is New Again

  Our Letter of the Law series is focused on current employment law developments, and donning and doffing wage disputes are anything but “new” to the courts.  The U.S. Supreme Court and Congress were dealing with donning and doffing work clothing and equipment in the 1940s.  (Perhaps that is obvious given that nobody really says “donning” or “doffing” in recent years other than in this context.)   But donning and doffing, and when employees must be paid for getting dressed for work, continues as an…

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25 Jul Illinois Governor Signs Law Banning Criminal Background Questions from Job Applications

  Illinois employers should review their job applications and hiring policies to ensure they comply with a new Illinois law, effective January 1, 2015, that will prohibit questions about criminal history at the initial application stage.   Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has signed the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act into law. The Act prohibits covered private employers with fifteen or more employees and employment agencies from inquiring about or into, considering, or requiring disclosure of an applicant’s criminal history, until an applicant: (1) has…

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23 Jul U.S. Supreme Court to hear pregnancy accommodation case in its fall term

  Must employers that provide work accommodations to non-pregnant employees with work limitations also provide work accommodations to pregnant employees who are similar in their ability or inability to work?   That is a question that the U.S. Supreme Court justices have decided they will consider in their next term,  agreeing to take up the case of Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc. The issue is whether the federal  Pregnancy Discrimination Act, 42 U.S.C. §2000e(k) requires accommodations for pregnant workers such as “light duty” or…

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22 Jul To Accommodate or Not Accommodate? – A Complex Question Facing Employers Under the ADAAA

  Employers constantly find themselves in the following situation: employee tells you that he or she cannot perform certain job tasks because of a medical condition, or presents a note from his/her doctor identifying certain work restrictions. The employee insists he or she can work; you just need to modify the employee’s job in some way in order to allow them to continue working. Situations like this are commonplace in today’s work environment and determining your legal obligations can be quite daunting. Well, lucky for…

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21 Jul NLRB Declines to Appeal Class Action Waivers to Supreme Court: What Does it Mean for Employers?

  On July 15, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) let its deadline to seek Supreme Court review of the Fifth’s Circuit decision (D.R. Horton v. NLRB) upholding class action waivers in mandatory arbitration agreements lapse without taking any action. The key question: What does this mean for employers? The answer: Unfortunately, not much.   While some so-called “experts” and prognosticators have speculated that perhaps this turn of events signals that the NLRB is starting to come around on class action waivers, count…

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18 Jul Collective and Class Actions: Interns, Assistant Managers – and their Lawyers! LETTER OF THE LAW: CURRENT EMPLOYMENT LAW ISSUES A-Z

  While working through an alphabet of employment issues is not an exact science, the letter C must belong to collective and class actions. Collective and class actions in the employment arena are a longer term trend where a group of people with allegedly common legal issues can come together in a single action.   Often these actions involve very small alleged wrongs – ever receive a check for a few bucks in the mail because you, without lifting a finger, were part of a…

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15 Jul New EEOC Guidance – Pregnant Employees May Now Be Entitled To Accommodations

  On July 14, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued its first new comprehensive enforcement guidance regarding the Pregnancy Discrimination Act since 1983, significantly expanding protection for pregnant employees. The EEOC’s guidance goes so far as to state that pregnant employees may be entitled to accommodations even if they do not have pregnancy-related disabilities.   The Pregnancy Discrimination Act requires employers to treat pregnant employees in the same manner as other workers who are not pregnant, but are similar in their ability or inability to…

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14 Jul 9th Circuit Rules that the FAAAA Does Not Preempt California Meal and Rest Period Laws

  In a set back for motor-carrier industry employers in California, the 9th Circuit ruled on Wednesday, July 9, 2014, that the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (the FAAAA) does not preempt California meal and rest break law. In Dilts v. Penske Logistics,  a three member panel of the  9th Circuit overruled a lower court that had found that the FAAAA, which provides “States may not enact or enforce a law . . . related to a price, route or service of any motor carrier . ….

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11 Jul A “Bit” of a Challenge to Employers: Bitcoin and Other Alternative Payroll Methods LETTER OF THE LAW: CURRENT EMPLOYMENT LAW ISSUES A-Z

The rise of alternative payroll methods such as prepaid debit cards and Bitcoin is likely to present both opportunities and challenges for employers in the very near future.  In 2013, nearly 4.5 million employees received wages on a payroll card. Major retailers, such as Lord & Taylor and Overstock.com, began accepting Bitcoin as a method of payment. Some employees express a preference for alternative payroll methods.   This growing popularity in unconventional payment methods is no surprise, as the alternatives provide value to both employers…

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10 Jul Proposed Legislation Introduced to Override Hobby Lobby Ruling

  Yesterday, Senator Democrats introduced proposed legislation known at the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act (Act) in an effort override the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, which was previously discussed in our June 30th Alert.   The Act would reinstate the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage obligations imposed on employers, requiring employers to provide such health insurance. The Act specifically is targeted at the Supreme Court’s 5-4 Hobby Lobby decision, which held closely-held companies (those that are family-owned or have a limited…

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