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Steal Trade Secrets, Get Cut: BladeRoom Jury Bleeds Emerson Electric to the Tune of $30 Million

A California federal jury recently decided that Emerson Electric Company owes prefabricated module manufacturer BladeRoom Group Limited $30 million in damages for stealing trade secrets to build a massive new data center.

Spring Is In The Air! But Telling Your Employees You Love Them Could Cost You $5 Million

19th-century British poet Alfred Tennyson once said, “In the Spring, a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” And while you might hold a certain amount of affection for your employees this time of year and want to show them how much you care, you might want to refrain from saying “I love you” to them. That’s because 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.

Seventh Circuit Preaches on the Ministerial Exception

For the first time since a 2012 decision by the Supreme Court of the United States, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals elaborated on and applied the Supreme Court’s four-factor analysis to determine whether a position is properly considered a ministerial role.

New HHS Division to Focus on Health Care Workers' Religious or Moral Objections to Providing Certain Care

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced the formation of the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division of the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The new division will review complaints from medical professionals who object on religious or moral grounds to participating in the provision of certain services and/or to certain patients. HHS has also released proposed regulations that would increase the OCR’s responsibility and enforcement power as to existing federal health care antidiscrimination laws involving protections for health care workers related to services such as abortion, sterilization, and assisted suicide.

’Tis the Season to Be Mindful of Religious Accommodation Obligations

So it begins—the annual holiday marathon. But which holidays come to mind? Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Festivus? The answer may differ depending on a host of factors, such as an individual’s family traditions, cultural upbringing, or religious beliefs. As we prepare holiday to-do and shopping lists, employers may want to keep in mind their legal obligations for recognizing, addressing, and accommodating employees’ religious needs. Below is a list of five considerations to keep top of mind this season and year-round to stay off the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) naughty list and limit your company’s exposure to unwanted gifts in the form of religious discrimination complaints.

Supreme Court Argument: Baker’s First Amendment Rights vs. Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Law

The United States Supreme Court heard oral argument in a case with potentially far-reaching implications for issues at the intersection of civil rights and religious freedoms on December 5, 2017. Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, No. 16-111.

Supreme Court Weighs Whether Colorado Baker May Refuse to Serve Same-Sex Couples

A divided US Supreme Court heard arguments today in a closely watched case that asks whether the First Amendment can exempt a business owner from prohibitions against discriminating based on sexual orientation because of his religious beliefs. In Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. V. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a Colorado baker claimed that requiring him to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple would violate his free speech rights.

9 Key Tips for Religious Accommodation in the Workplace

Religious accommodation questions often present unique challenges for employers who are faced with determining whether they should bend their time off or dress code rules to accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs and practices. For example, a Muslim employee may request to pray during the work day, a Jewish employee may seek to leave early on Fridays for the Sabbath or a Sikh employee may want to wear a turban to work.

Religious Accommodations: When Biometric Scanners and the Mark of the Beast Collide

Increasingly, employers are turning to biometric scanners – usually a fingerprint or hand scanner – to track employees’ working time. This method for clocking in and out is generally more efficient and accurate than traditional methods, such as using a punch clock.

Accommodation for the Mark of the Beast

Most employers know of the requirement to adjust any aspect of the working environment which may conflict with an employee’s religious beliefs. At the federal level, under Title VII, an employer must make reasonable accommodation for the religious observances of its employees, short of incurring an undue hardship. But what are religious accommodations? What proof may an employer request in order to establish that the employee is being sincere? The 4th Circuit recently examined a religious accommodation scenario that ended in an award of nearly $600,000 in damages and other benefits to the employee.