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Employment Law Blog

Category: Week in Review

Friday, November 16, 2007

Week In Review (November 16, 2007)

Most Popular Federal Law Article

[url=“http://www.elinfonet.com/headcount.php?ID=11779”>The Inside Scoop: What the EEOC Says It Wants To See In Employer Position Statements.</A>
At the recent 23rd Annual North Carolina/South Carolina Labor and Employment Law Program and Annual Meeting held in Charleston, South Carolina, three guest speakers from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) shared information about how to work with the Commission. They were Rueben Daniels, Jr., Director of the Charlotte District Office, Thomas Colclough, Director of the Raleigh Area Office, and Kara Haden, Senior Trial Attorney, Charlotte District Office.
Located On: Helms Mulliss & Wicker

Most Popular State Law Article

<a >The Breach of the Duty of Loyalty - What Employers Can Do About It.</A>
A recent report called The Walker Loyalty Report for Loyalty in the Workplace, released in September 2007, noted more than 35% of employees are likely to leave an employer within the first two years of employment. Yet, employers’ investments in training, recruiting, and compensation continue to rise. Turnover is even more damaging when employees take clients, employees and trade secrets with them. Do employers have the legal right to expect their employees’ loyalty? And what can an employer do to protect itself from competitive conduct by employees during employment?
Located On: Shaw Valenza LLP

Most Popular Headlines

<a TARGET=“_blank”]Bias against hairstyles reveals a possible racial divide[/url]
North Jersey Media - November 13, 2007

Posted by Patrick Della Valle on 11/16 at 08:43 AM
Week in Review
Friday, November 02, 2007

Week In Review (November 2, 2007)

Most Popular Federal Law Article

[url=“http://www.elinfonet.com/headcount.php?ID=11644”>Untimely Notice Causes Employer to Lose Insurance Coverage for Employment Claim.</A>
An employer cannot recover from its insurance company the costs of defense and settlement related to an employment discrimination claim where the employer failed to timely notify the insurance company of the claim, a federal court in Washington, D.C., has ruled. American Ctr. for Int’l Labor Solidarity v. Federal Ins. Co., No. 04-01523 (CKK) (D.D.C. Oct. 15, 2007). Granting the insurance company’s motion for summary judgment and denying the employer’s similar motion, the court ruled that a charge before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission constituted a “formal” administrative proceeding requiring notice under the insurance policy.
Located On: Jackson Lewis LLP

Most Popular State Law Article

<a >Ohio Civil Rights Commission Says Maternity Leave Must Be Twelve Weeks.</A>
The Ohio Civil Rights Commission recently announced dramatic amendments to the state’s pregnancy discrimination regulations. (Ohio Adm. Code 4112-5-05). Until now, employers only had to allow a “reasonable period of time” for pregnancy leave. “Reasonable period of time” has been interpreted in many different ways and the period of leave granted varied from employer to employer. Under the new amendments, a minimum of twelve weeks of unpaid leave must be provided for “pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions.” In addition, at the end of the leave the employee must be reinstated to “her original position or to a position of like status and pay, without loss of service credits or other benefits.”
Located On: Ogletree Deakins

Most Popular Headlines

<a TARGET=“_blank”]Workbytes: Improving on just 3 workplace skills can help image[/url]
DesMoines Register - October 28, 2007

Posted by Patrick Della Valle on 11/02 at 10:36 AM
Week in Review
Friday, October 26, 2007

Week In Review (October 26, 2007)

Most Popular Federal Law Article

[url=“http://www.elinfonet.com/headcount.php?ID=11594”>10 Types of “Caregiver Discrimination” Identified By the EEOC.</A>
On May 23, 2007, the EEOC issued guidance on an increasingly complex area of employment law, indicating that it will begin to focus more intently on what it calls “caregiver discrimination.” Caregivers can include employee parents (or soon to be parents) with small children, employees who care for aging parents as adult children, or employees who care for disabled individuals. 
Located On: Helms Mulliss & Wicker

Most Popular State Law Article

<a >Rest Break and Meal Period Claims After Murphy v. Kenneth Cole Productions.</A>
The California Supreme Court decided earlier this year, in Murphy v. Kenneth Cole Productions, that the one-hour premium employees receive for violation of meal break or rest period laws is a wage and not a penalty. Because the statute of limitations for unpaid wages is three years (or four years under an unfair competition theory), and the statute of limitations for penalties is only one year, Murphy means that multi-million class actions against state-wide employers are potentially three times more lucrative for plaintiffs and their lawyers. As a result, the plaintiffs’ bar continues enthusiastically to file class actions alleging violations of the meal and break laws.
Located On: Shaw Valenza LLP

Most Popular Headlines

<a TARGET=“_blank”]Boss sets the tone for employees’ morale[/url]
Post Gazette - October 23, 2007

Posted by Patrick Della Valle on 10/26 at 09:10 AM
Week in Review
Friday, October 19, 2007

Week In Review (October 19, 2007)

Most Popular Federal Law Article

[url=“http://www.elinfonet.com/headcount.php?ID=11534”>Office Romances and the Risk of Liability.</A>
A recent study revealed that at least seventy percent of employees will date someone at work at least once during their careers. In fact, nearly one-half of all married couples met each other in the workplace. In light of these statistics, employers cannot ignore the various issues that may arise when employees engage in romantic relationships with people they meet at work.
Located On: Shaw Valenza LLP

Most Popular State Law Article

<a >California Adopts Military Spouse Leave Law</A>
Effective immediately, California employers must, under certain circumstances, provide up to ten days of unpaid leave to employees who have spouses in the military.
Located On: Ford & Harrison LLP

Most Popular Headlines

<a TARGET=“_blank”]Workplace Privacy Challenges[/url]
HR Executive - October 16, 2007

Posted by Patrick Della Valle on 10/19 at 07:44 AM
Week in Review
Friday, October 12, 2007

Week In Review (October 12, 2007)

Most Popular Federal Law Article

[url=“http://www.elinfonet.com/headcount.php?ID=11461”>Paid Holidays Count Toward Twelve-Week FMLA Entitlement.</A>
In a case of first impression, the First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that work holidays falling on days when an employee is out on intermittent Family and Medical Leave Act leave of one week or more can count toward the employee’s statutory twelve-week FMLA leave entitlement. 
Located On: Jackson Lewis LLP

Most Popular State Law Article

<a >Changes in New York Labor Law Impact Employers.</A>
New York employers should be aware of recent amendments to New York’s Labor Law that may require them to revise their employment policies and procedures. One significant amendment, which takes effect October 16, 2007, requires employers to put in writing the terms of employment for commissioned salespeople or risk an adverse presumption in any wage action brought against the employer. See Section 191 of the New York Labor Law. This change in the state labor law is part of an effort to address difficulties the New York Department of Labor has experienced in investigating wage payment claims for commissions in the absence of a written agreement detailing the terms of employment.
Located On: Ford & Harrison LLP

Most Popular Headlines

<a TARGET=“_blank”]Biz Coach: 10 HR tips to avoid EEOC headaches[/url]
KOMOTV - October 10, 2007

Posted by Patrick Della Valle on 10/12 at 10:16 AM
Week in Review
Friday, October 05, 2007

Week In Review (October 5, 2007)

Most Popular Federal Law Article

[url=“http://www.elinfonet.com/headcount.php?ID=11379”>Hospitality Update: Applebee’s Automated Timekeeping Leads To Lawsuit.</A>
Gerald Fast has worked at two Applebee’s restaurants since 1998. He has held many different jobs: cook, server, host, expediter, and bartender. Sometimes he rotated these duties during short time periods, but from May, 2005, he has worked almost exclusively as a bartender. While serving customers, Fast had the opportunity to earn tips, so Applebee’s used a “tip credit” when calculating his pay to ensure he made at least the minimum wage for each hour he worked.
Located On: Fisher & Phillips, LLP

Most Popular State Law Article

<a >Better Put that in Writing! New York Updates Its Law on Commission Agreements and Other Wage-Related Statutes.</A>
Governor Spitzer recently approved legislation designed to assist the efforts of the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) to enforce various provisions of the state Labor Law. The first change, which goes into effect October 16, 2007, requires employers to memorialize in writing the terms of employment for commissioned salespersons. Other changes expand coverage of certain provisions of the Labor Law, raise the administrative penalties for failing to provide meal periods and one day of rest, and decrease the number of employees whose wages may be deposited directly into their accounts without written consent. These latter changes become effective on January 14, 2008.
Located On: Littler Mendelson, P.C.

Most Popular Headlines

<a TARGET=“_blank”]Why Weight-Discrimination Cases Pose Thorny Legal Tests[/url]
Wall Street Journal (Subscription) - October 02, 2007

Posted by Patrick Della Valle on 10/05 at 12:34 PM
Week in Review
Friday, September 07, 2007

Week In Review (September 7, 2007)

Most Popular Federal Law Article

[url=“http://www.elinfonet.com/headcount.php?ID=11143”>Coach Wins Stunning Verdict In Title IX Retaliation Case.</A>
A former women’s volleyball coach at Fresno State University was awarded what is believed to be the largest ever jury award in a Title IX retaliation case, receiving over $5.8 million dollars—almost $2 million more than her lawyers had even asked for. This case is a startling reminder to all educational institutions of the importance of compliance with Title IX, and more importantly, highlights some pitfalls that can lead to such a large verdict. Vivas v. Fresno State University.
Located On: Fisher & Phillips, LLP

Most Popular State Law Article

<a >California Alert - CA Supreme Court Issues Three Key Decisions.</A>
California employers should be aware of three decisions in the last week that will impact the way they do business here.
Located On: Ogletree Deakins

Most Popular Headlines

<a TARGET=“_blank”]Harassment claims are serious business[/url]
North Jersey Media - September 04, 2007

Posted by Patrick Della Valle on 09/07 at 09:09 AM
Week in Review
Friday, August 24, 2007

Week In Review (August 24, 2007)

Most Popular Federal Law Article

[url=“http://www.elinfonet.com/headcount.php?ID=11024”>New Commandments to Live By: After More Than 20 Years, IRS Issues New Proposed Cafeteria Plan Regulations (pdf).</A>
On Monday, August 6, 2007, after an almost 20-year gestation period, the IRS issued long awaited proposed cafeteria plan regulations under Internal Revenue Code (“Code”) Section 125 (the “New Proposed Regs”). The New Proposed Regs withdraw the previously issued proposed cafeteria plan regulations, 1.125-1 and -2 (the “Old Proposed Regs”), replace them with a fresh set of proposed regulations that restate much of the Old Proposed Regs and incorporate both formal and informal guidance issued over the last 23 years. The New Proposed Regs also provide detailed guidance on a host of nagging cafeteria plan administration issues and even include a few surprises relating to enrollment and discrimination testing. The New Proposed Regs are generally effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2009; however, taxpayers may rely on them now.
Located On: Alston & Bird LLP

Most Popular State Law Article

<a >Wage and Hour Laws Redux.</A>
One thing is clear about California wage and hour laws: The rules governing law firms (and all businesses) in California are too numerous to be summarized in just one column. The first installment on this topic ran on July 27, 2007 and is available online at http://www.dailyjournal.com In th.at piece, I discussed potential pitfalls, such as mis-classification of employees as independent contractors or “exempt” employees, minimum wage and overtime laws, independent contractor status, exemptions from overtime, payroll practices and deductions from paychecks. If those topics are not complex and confusing enough, there are many others applicable to California employees.
Located On: Shaw Valenza LLP

Most Popular Headlines

<a TARGET=“_blank”]Test your workplace boredom[/url]
Sun Sentinel - August 20, 2007

Posted by Patrick Della Valle on 08/24 at 09:46 AM
Week in Review
Friday, August 17, 2007

Week In Review (August 17, 2007)

Most Popular Federal Law Article

[url=“http://www.elinfonet.com/headcount.php?ID=10988”>Fourth Circuit Reaffirms Prohibition on Private Releases of FMLA Claims (pdf).</A>
On July 3, 2007, a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reinstated a decision it rendered in 2005, but later vacated, that employers cannot enforce a release of claims under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) unless the release has been approved by a court or the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
Located On: Nexsen Pruet

Most Popular State Law Article

<a >Colorado Court Clarifies When Covenants Not to Compete and Solicit Customers and Employees May Be Enforced Against Executives, Managers and Their Professional Staff.</A>
Like many states, Colorado will not enforce a covenant not to compete unless it fits within a specific exception to the general rule of unenforceability. Unlike most states, however, Colorado permits agreements not to compete with executives, management level employees, or “professional staff to executive and management level personnel” even if the employer is unable to show that the employee possesses trade secrets. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 8-2-113(2)(d).
Located On: Littler Mendelson, P.C.

Most Popular Headlines

<a TARGET=“_blank”]Smelly, Angry Workers?[/url]
Human Resource Executive - August 14, 2007

Posted by Patrick Della Valle on 08/17 at 07:46 AM
Week in Review
Friday, August 10, 2007

Week In Review (August 10, 2007)

Most Popular Federal Law Article

[url=“http://www.elinfonet.com/headcount.php?ID=10913”>Avoiding Long Goodbyes: Seven Steps for Conducting Successful Termination Meetings (pdf).</A>
Terminating an employee is never easy (unless you really dislike him), and the very fact that it’s such an uncomfortable situation may lead you to slip up and say something you’ll later regret. Following these seven field-tested steps for conducting termination meetings will help reduce your risk of being sued, increase your chances of winning if you are sued, lower your anxiety level in the process, and avoid long goodbyes.
Located On: Jones Walker

Most Popular State Law Article

<a >Can an At-Will Employee Lawfully be Terminated Before the First Day of Work?</A>
According to a Connecticut appeals court, an employer can terminate an at-will employment relationship at any time—even before an employee’s first day of work. Petitte v. DSL.net, Inc., AC27557 (Conn. Ct. App., July 10, 2007). Though this result may seem harsh to an employee who relies on a job offer to quit his current position and ends up jobless, the court determined that it would be illogical to rule otherwise.
Located On: Jackson Lewis LLP

Most Popular Headlines

<a TARGET=“_blank”]Brush Up On Office Etiquette[/url]
Forbes - August 08, 2007

Posted by Patrick Della Valle on 08/10 at 07:50 AM
Week in Review
Friday, August 03, 2007

Week In Review (August 3, 2007)

Most Popular Federal Law Article

[url=“http://www.elinfonet.com/headcount.php?ID=10798”>U.S. Supreme Court Wraps Up Term With Three Cases.</A>
The U.S. Supreme Court recently concluded its 2006-2007 term. In the surge of decisions issued in the last few weeks of the term, the justices issued three decisions of interest for employers.
Located On: Ogletree Deakins

Most Popular State Law Article

<a >Employment Lawsuits Against Individuals.</A>
Plaintiffs in employment law cases frequently name individual employees as defendants. Sometimes, they sue co-workers. More frequently, they name supervisors or managers, and even high-level executives up to the CEO.
Located On: Shaw Valenza LLP

Most Popular Headlines

<a TARGET=“_blank”]Is there a ‘workplace princess’ at your firm?[/url]
Deseret News - July 29, 2007

Posted by Patrick Della Valle on 08/03 at 09:29 AM
Week in Review
Friday, July 27, 2007

Week In Review (July 27, 2007)

Most Popular Federal Law Article

[url=“http://www.elinfonet.com/headcount.php?ID=10725”>Recent Cases Impact Common Workplace Policies (pdf)</A>
Under recent case law, policies about common workplace issues such as confidentiality, complaints, solicitation, and fraternization may violate employee rights protected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) - regardless of whether the employees belong to a union.
Located On: Nexsen Pruet

Most Popular State Law Article

<a >California Mandatory Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Regulations To Go Into Effect.</A>
After nearly three years of drafts, debates, and delays, extensive regulations implementing California’s mandatory sexual harassment prevention training for supervisors, Assembly Bill 1825 (AB 1825), were finally approved. The final regulations become effective on August 17, 2007.
Located On: Jackson Lewis LLP

Most Popular Headlines

<a TARGET=“_blank”]Guest column: Mistakes to avoid when rating employees[/url]
Green Bay Press Gazette - July 23, 2007

Posted by Patrick Della Valle on 07/27 at 08:30 AM
Week in Review
Friday, July 20, 2007

Week In Review (July 20, 2007)

Most Popular Federal Law Article

[url=“http://www.elinfonet.com/headcount.php?ID=10669”>United States Supreme Court Employment Law Decisions 2006-2007.</A>
The United States Supreme Court decided several significant employment law cases during the 2006 Term. The Court’s opinions address a number of topics, from the statute of limitations in cases alleging discriminatory pay practices, to the exempt status of home care aides under U.S. Department of Labor regulations. There presently are three important cases on the docket for next Term, summarized below. The Court may add more cases to the docket as the new Term approaches in October 2007).
Located On: Shaw Valenza LLP

Most Popular State Law Article

<a >Texas Employees May Be Required to Defend Non-Compete Claims In Other States.</A>
In another favorable opinion for employers seeking to enforce non-compete agreements against former employees, the Texas Supreme Court has held that case law barring Texas courts from invoking another state’s law to interpret a Texas employee’s non-compete agreement does not invalidate a clause saying that any lawsuits involving the agreement will be brought in a specified court of another state.
Located On: Jackson Lewis LLP

Most Popular Headlines

<a TARGET=“_blank”]Bias Suit Slaps Law Firm’s In-House Inter-Lewds[/url]
New York Post - July 16, 2007

Posted by Patrick Della Valle on 07/20 at 07:50 AM
Week in Review
Friday, July 13, 2007

Week In Review (July 13, 2007)

Most Popular Federal Law Article

[url=“http://www.elinfonet.com/headcount.php?ID=10632”>Health Benefit Cards: New Rules for 2008 and Beyond (pdf).</A>
The IRS recently issued two pieces of much anticipated follow-up guidance to its original electronic payment card (“Card”) guidance for health benefit cards. This guidance will substantially impact how health benefit cards are administered in 2008 and beyond to access funds in a flexible spending arrangement (FSA) or health reimbursement arrangement (HRA). [Distributions from health savings accounts (HSAs) are not subject to the substantiation and other requirements discussed herein; so HSA benefit cards need not follow these rules.] Indeed, the IRS guidance shifts the paradigm from TPA-based adjudication to merchant-administered adjudication with the IRS’ approval of a merchant-based inventory information approval system (or “IIAS”). This advisory tracks through the IRS guidance and describes what’s permissible (and what’s not) under the new guidance.
Located On: Alston & Bird LLP

Most Popular State Law Article

<a >South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Reform Signed Into Law (pdf).</A>
On July 25, 2007, Governor Sanford signed a bill that makes a number of changes to South Carolina workers’ compensation system. Most of the changes apply to claims for injuries occuring on or after July 1, 2007.
Located On: Nexsen Pruet

Most Popular Headlines

<a TARGET=“_blank”]‘Business casual’ causes confusion[/url]
USA Today - July 10, 2007

Posted by Patrick Della Valle on 07/13 at 07:27 AM
Week in Review
Friday, July 06, 2007

Week In Review (July 6, 2007)

Most Popular Federal Law Article

[url=“http://www.elinfonet.com/headcount.php?ID=10579”>Workplace Bullying and the Future of the “Equal Opportunity Harasser”.</A>
Everyone is familiar with the “mean” boss: a chef who yells at the line cooks in the middle of a busy rush, a manager who becomes angry when a deadline is not met, and a boss who criticizes a poor performer in front of other workers. There historically has been a legal distinction between a “hostile working environment” and mere hostility at work. The courts have ruled that anti-discrimination laws are not a “civility code.” Judicial opinions frequently say the law does not guarantee a utopian working environment, free from stress and conflict.
Located On: Shaw Valenza LLP

Most Popular State Law Article

<a >Employer’s Incentive Plan Violates South Carolina Wage Act.</A>
A state appellate court recently ruled that an employer which made incentive plan payouts to employees on dates different than the general target payout dates set forth in the plan violated the South Carolina Payment of Wages Act’s requirement that employers specify the “time and place of payment” of wages. According to the South Carolina Court of Appeals, providing estimated “target dates” of payment, which the employer later admitted served “no purpose whatsoever” and were used only as a general guide, does not give employees sufficient notice. 
Located On: Ogletree Deakins

Most Popular Headlines

<a TARGET=“_blank”]Woman Says She Was Fired For Seeing Illicit Affair[/url]
WJZ - July 03, 2007

Posted by Patrick Della Valle on 07/06 at 07:48 AM
Week in Review
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