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South Carolina Abolishes Common-Law Marriage: The Impact On Workplace Law

The South Carolina Supreme Court just ruled that the state will no longer recognize common-law marriages. This decision will have a direct impact on South Carolina workplace law, requiring many employers to adjust their employment policies and practices.

Employers Beware: SC Abolishes Common-Law Marriage

On July 24, 2019, South Carolina joined the ranks of Alabama, Pennsylvania, and others in abolishing future recognition of common law marriages in the state. The state will continue to recognize all common law marriages in effect before this date, but they will be subject to a higher standard of proof. On and after July 25, 2019, all South Carolina marriages will require the issuance of a marriage license.

Can Arbitration Be Enforced Against Non-Signatories to a Contract?

South Carolina Supreme Court Employs Direct Benefits Test

Employee Who Fails Drug Test Can Sue Drug Testing Laboratory For Negligence

Can a drug testing lab be sued for negligence in South Carolina if it mishandles an employee’s drug test? Yes, according to a recent decision issued by the South Carolina Supreme Court with potential ramifications for drug testing labs, employers, and employees who test positive for drugs. Shaw v. Psychemedics Corp., Opinion No. 27869 (S.C. March 20, 2019).

South Carolina Supreme Court Opens Door to Holding Drug-Testing Companies Liable for Negligence

On March 21, 2019, the South Carolina Supreme Court answered a certified question that will impact third-party vendors under contract with South Carolina employers to conduct employee drug testing. In Shaw v. Psychemedics Corporation, the court held that drug-testing companies conducting tests on South Carolina employees owe a duty of care to those employees. Under Shaw, an employee may sue a drug testing company for negligence based on the company’s contractual relationship with the employer.

Drug Testing Laboratories May Be Sued For Negligence In South Carolina

The South Carolina Supreme Court held that laboratories who perform workplace drug tests on behalf of employers owe a duty of care to the individuals who are tested and may be sued for negligence for failing to properly and accurately perform the drug tests and report the results. Shaw v. Psychemedics Corp., App. Case No. 2017-002538 (S.C. March 20, 2019).

South Carolina Legislators Propose Pay Equity Law

Joining a nationwide trend, a bipartisan group of South Carolina legislators recently introduced bills in both houses of the General Assembly aimed at allowing applicants and employees to sue employers for unequal pay.

South Carolina Unfair Trade Practices Act: When Acts Are Not Capable of Repetition and Other Important Issues

In South Carolina, as in most jurisdictions, unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce are unlawful. See South Carolina Unfair Trade Practices Act (the “Act”), S.C. Code Ann. §39-5-10, et seq. In order to be actionable, an act must be unfair or deceptive, and must have an impact upon the public interest. Impact on public interest may be established if the act or practice has the potential for repetition. Potential for repetition may be demonstrated by showing the same kind of action previously occurred, making it likely it will continue to occur without deterrence, or by showing a company’s procedures create the potential for repetition of the unfair and deceptive act. While myriad cases have addressed, interpreted and applied the Act, few have as succinctly dealt with whether acts incapable of repetition may be said to have potential for repetition as the recent case of Turner v. Kellett, 2019 WL 455101 (February 6, 2019).

South Carolina Court of Appeals Weighs in on South Carolina’s Political Opinions Statute, Approves Discharge of Employee for Excessive Personal Use of Company Phone and Laptop

In Owens v. Crabtree, Opinion No. 5616 (January 16, 2019), the South Carolina Court of Appeals held that a company’s termination of an employee for using company devices, on company time, to oppose a local building project that the company had a financial stake in was valid and did not violate public policy. The holding (1) illustrates the benefits of a written company policy regarding the use (including personal use) of company devices/technology and (2) provides an example of a valid termination that did not violate South Carolina public policy.

South Carolina Contemplates Sweeping Pay Equity Legislation

Bipartisan bills introduced in both houses of the South Carolina General Assembly propose allowing workers and job applicants to bring suit against employers for pay inequality and wage secrecy.
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