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

Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP • February 12, 2016
You’d think a person with “Manager” in her job title who was making more than $89,000 a year would be exempt from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Paying "Current" Versus "In Arrears"

Fisher & Phillips LLP • February 12, 2016
Some employers use the colloquialisms "current" and "in arrears" to describe the timing of employees' wage payments.

Retaliation and Disability Charges are on the Rise, According to EEOC Litigation and Charge Statistics for FY 2015

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • February 12, 2016
The number of charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is once again climbing, according to newly released litigation and enforcement statistics for FY 2015. During the past fiscal year, 89,385 charges were filed with the agency, up slightly from the 88,778 charges filed the previous year. The largest number of charges filed with the agency since FY 1997—the first year the agency started compiling such data—is 99,947 charges filed in FY 2011. Charge numbers had steadily declined since that time until this year.

Fifth Circuit Grants New Protections to Independent Contractors

XpertHR • February 12, 2016
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled for the first time that Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act authorizes employment discrimination lawsuits filed by independent contractors. The appellate court's ruling in Flynn v. Distinctive Home Care, significant in its finding that the Rehabilitation Act offers broader protection than Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The 5th Circuit covers Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

EEOC Retaliation Guidance, Part 3: A “causal connection” checklist for employers

Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP • February 12, 2016
This is the final installment of my analysis of the EEOC’s recently issued proposed Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related Issues. Here are Part One (“You gotta be protected!”) and Part Two (“Was your employment action ‘adverse’?”).

Be my workplace valentine? We’ll see . . .

Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP • February 12, 2016
Psychology Today had a great article by social psychologist and professor Theresa DiDonato about nine questions one should ask oneself before starting a workplace romance. Of course, the article was written primarily from a psychological point of view, but I think the same questions work from a legal standpoint. Here are Professor DiDonato’s questions, with my “legal/HR” answers.

Follow the Money: The FY 2017 Budget

Ogletree Deakins • February 12, 2016
One way to assess an administration's public policy priorities is by examining its annual budget submission to Congress: The higher an administration sets its funding requests for particular federal departments, agencies, and programs, the greater the emphasis the administration plans to place on selected public policy goals.

Harvard and MIT: A Decision Is Here! (Sort Of)

Ogletree Deakins • February 11, 2016
Long after the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Statements of Interest (SOI) were filed in June of 2015 in the cases involving Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), touching off a flood of litigation and threatened litigation, the magistrate judge has issued her report and recommendation to the district judge that the defendants’ motions to dismiss be denied. While subject to objections and the district judge’s determination, the decision is a setback for those who do not currently have websites that are accessible to persons with disabilities.

Are Hidden Title III Claims Lurking in Your Business?

Ogletree Deakins • February 11, 2016
With the extraordinary volume of Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Title III claims clogging the courts, and an increase in the number of plaintiffs’ lawyers litigating ADA issues, we can expect to see another flood of Title III cases in 2016. After defending countless “drive-by” lawsuits through the years, we have learned that, for the most part, these suits lack creativity in identifying barriers presented by public accommodations. Put another way, the same types of barriers are routinely alleged in complaints. While few Title III plaintiffs visit retail stores with tape measure in hand, nearly anyone with minimal training can detect a host of technical violations very quickly. The following is a breakdown of the most commonly alleged violations that we see in the disability access cases involving the retailers that we defend.

IRS Provides Welcome Guidance on Mid-Year Amendments to Safe Harbor 401(k) Plans

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • February 11, 2016
The IRS recently issued Notice 2016-16 (the “Notice”), which permits most mid-year amendments to safe harbor 401(k) plans. This is welcome news to sponsors of safe harbor 401(k) plans who, prior to the issuance of the Notice, faced uncertainty over whether any mid-year changes to their plan would invalidate the plan’s safe harbor status.