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ten most recent federal employment law articles Ten Most Recent Federal Articles

FMLA FAQ: Can an Employer Force an Employee on FMLA Leave When the Employee Wants to Continue to Work?

Franczek Radelet P.C • April 18, 2014
Q: This week, one of our employees professed her love to one of her co-workers (who is married) and announced to everyone that they had been dating. The problem is — it’s not true.

Employer Urges Supreme Court to Settle Federal Court Split over Judicial Review of EEOC’s Conciliation

Jackson Lewis P.C. • April 18, 2014
The U.S. Supreme Court may resolve a split among the federal appeals courts on whether the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s efforts at conciliation before bringing suit against an employer are open to judicial review. Most circuit courts to have considered the issue decided that courts may engage in a searching review of the EEOC’s conciliatory efforts. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in Chicago, in EEOC v. Mach Mining, LLC, 738 F.3d 171 (7th Cir. 2013), took the opposite view. (For more on the Seventh Circuit decision, see our article, Seventh Circuit Agrees with EEOC There Is No Affirmative Defense for the EEOC’s Failure to Conciliate.) The Seventh Circuit has jurisdiction over Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.

Sixth Circuit Upholds Dismissal of EEOC Suit Against Employer Screening Applicants Based on Credit History Information

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • April 18, 2014
In April 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its updated enforcement guidance concerning how, in its view, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) restricts an employer’s discretion to consider criminal records relative to employment decisions.1 The EEOC was scheduled to release at the same time its updated guidance concerning the use of credit history information, but at the last minute decided (without explanation) not to do so. Even before April 2012, however, the EEOC filed lawsuits against a handful of employers, including Kaplan Higher Education Corporation (Kaplan), for allegedly violating Title VII by relying on criminal and credit records.

White House Plans to Allow Work Authorizations for Spouses of H-1B Visa Holders, as Well as to Enhance Opportunities for Outstanding Professors and Researchers

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • April 18, 2014
In a press release dated April 7, 2014, the White House announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will soon publish proposed rules, as part of the “Attracting the World’s Best and Brightest” initiative, to allow spouses of certain H-1B visa holders to be eligible for employment authorization to work in the U.S. This effort will be part of a series of steps to strengthen entrepreneurship in the United States and abroad, as well as attract high-skilled immigrants to the United States.

The Evolving World of Equal Pay Laws

Fisher & Phillips LLP • April 18, 2014
President Obama recently signed two executive orders changing the landscape of equal pay protections applicable to federal contractors. The first executive order prohibits federal contractors from firing, demoting or retaliating against employees who discuss their compensation. The second order directs the Secretary of Labor, Tom Perez, to establish and implement new regulations requiring federal contractors to submit compensation data that, in part, is broken down by sex and race. According to the White House, the data will be used to encourage voluntary compliance with already existing equal pay laws and assist with more targeted enforcement initiatives.

Employee Needs More Than Speculation to Support his Retaliation Claim

Ogletree Deakins • April 18, 2014
To prevail on a claim of retaliation under federal law, an employee must prove that he or she engaged in a “protected activity” under an antidiscrimination statute and subsequently suffered an adverse employment action. In addition, the employee must establish that the protected activity was “causally connected” to the employer’s adverse action.

All That for a Bag of Chips: Walgreens going to trial in disability discrimination case

Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLP • April 17, 2014
The case, which I wrote about way back in 2011, is a cautionary tale for employers who are trying to deal with employees who break the rules because of their disabilities.

Arbitration Clause Survives Termination of Contractor Agreement, Federal Court Rules

Jackson Lewis P.C. • April 17, 2014
An arbitration clause survived the termination of the underlying agreement even though the clause was not specifically referenced in the agreement’s survival clause, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati, has ruled in a case of first impression among the federal circuit courts. Huffman et al. v. Hilltop Cos., LLC, No. 13-3938 (6th Cir. Mar. 27, 2014). Relying on the strong federal policy favoring arbitration, the Court concluded the parties’ omission of the arbitration clause from the survival clause did not imply the arbitration clause had no post-termination effect. The Court reversed the district court’s denial of arbitration. The Sixth Circuit has jurisdiction over Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee.

Complying With ‘Reasonable Accommodation' Requests

Fisher & Phillips LLP • April 16, 2014
Employers must understand their accommodation obligations. Denying an accommodation request because the employee is not disabled is a risky proposition.

Tax Alert: Attention Employers Using Pre-Approved Retirement Plans – It’s Amendment Time Again!

Nexsen Pruet • April 16, 2014
Do you sponsor a tax-qualified retirement plan that was pre-approved by the IRS? If so, pre-approved documents take one of two forms.