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Fifth Circuit Grants New Protections to Independent Contractors

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, Inc.is 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.

Swipe Left to Avoid Liability: Policing Dating Apps in the Workplace

According to a 2015 survey, nearly two-thirds of people in the United States and over 2 billion people worldwide own smartphones. For some smartphone users, their phones are their only avenue of access to the Internet. Alongside the rapid spread of mobile devices is the increase in the number of people using online dating websites. Current studies show that 22 percent of 25-to-34 year olds use online dating sites and apps.

Joint Employment Challenges Continue in 2016

The legal concept of “joint employment” exists when a person is employed by two or more entities, such that the employers are responsible, individually and jointly, to the employee for compliance with a particular statute or regulation. While the legal theory is not new, the increased attention and expansive interpretation it has received over the past year are.

The Status of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield

As we previously reported, the EU and U.S. reached agreement last week on the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield to replace the invalidated EU-U.S. Safe Harbor Program for transatlantic data transfers. While the announcement of the Privacy Shield is a relief to the thousands of companies who relied on the Safe Harbor Program, details remain unclear.

HR Intel: How the Zika Virus Impacts HR

Now that the Zika virus has made its way up from South and Central America, HR professionals and business owners in the United States need to start paying attention. While the virus is not as severe as Ebola in terms of its immediate risk of death, Zika’s impact will be felt throughout American businesses, particularly those operating in mosquito-friendly climates and whose employees must travel into Zika-affected areas.

EEOC’s Proposed (Anti) Retaliation Guidance: Is Your Whistleblower Response System Ready?

The EEOC’s January 21, 2016 “Draft Proposed Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related Issues” continues the pattern of governmental agencies probing deeply into your whistleblower program. Whether or not the guidance remains exactly as drafted, it is a window into the EEOC’s view of an effective anti-retaliation system. And its message is clear: employers need an integrated response system that involves supervisors and managers throughout the process, removes psychological deterrents to reports of retaliation, responds promptly and expertly to allegations, and avoids retaliation during the investigation and afterward.

What’s New & What’s Next in Employment Law (Webcast)

What's New and What's Next in Employment Law for 2016.

This Valentine's Day, Telling Your Employees "I Love You" Could Get You Sued

Of all the heartfelt gestures you can make this Valentine’s Day – sending roses, a box of chocolates, or even just a greeting card – perhaps nothing means more than simply saying “I love you.” But an employer who did just that, and encouraged its workforce to share the same sentiments with coworkers on a regular basis, learned the hard way that such comments are not necessarily appropriate for the workplace and could lead to an employment lawsuit. Read on to get a glimpse into a peculiar workplace practice, and to avoid falling into the same trap this Valentine’s Day.

Wrongfully Reviewed? Risks of Performance Review Process

Performance reviews are a necessary step in the path to ensuring a team of productive employees. However, as illustrated by a series of recent lawsuits filed by Yahoo employees against the internet giant, performance reviews are not without risks to the employers who administer them. In one such suit, an employee alleges that he and approximately 600 other Yahoo employees were unfairly fired based upon an allegedly unfair performance evaluation system, and were terminated without the notice required by federal and state laws, including the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN).

Former Employee’s SOX Whistleblower Claim Fails, Federal Appeals Court Rules

Finding a former employee failed to “put up” sufficient facts to support the nexus between his termination and whistleblower activity protected by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), the federal appeals court in Philadelphia, in effect, has told him to “shut up,” affirming summary judgment unanimously in favor of the employer. Wiest et al. v. Tyco Electronics Corp., No. 15-2034 (3d Cir. Feb. 2, 2016). Moreover, the Court clarified that a “contributing factor” to a SOX retaliatory firing must affect the outcome of the adverse employment decision.
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