Employment Law for Private Employers and Local Goverments

 

Employer Computer Privacy Policies


Michael Caldwell : October 16, 2013 10:17 am

Many management clients express concern that their abilities to monitor employees’ use of their company information technology are limited by laws regarding employee “privacy rights.”  They fear that if they take action against an employee whom they learn has been abusing the Company’s Internet access and using email programs for personal or even anti-management purposes, they may subject themselves to liability for invasion of employee “privacy rights.”

Read the Entire Article: Here

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U.S. Supreme Court Limits Opportunities for Plaintiffs (2 of 2)


Michael Caldwell : October 14, 2013 12:42 pm

 

As of June 24, 2013, it has become harder for employee plaintiffs to prove that an employer is liable for unlawful harassment and retaliation. The U.S. Supreme Court issued two very significant employment law cases, both of which handed victory to the employers.

The Court in University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar considered the standard of proof under the retaliation provision of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a). Specifically, it  addressed the question of whether a plaintiff must prove “but-for” causation (i.e., that the employer would not have taken the adverse employment action but for an improper retaliatory motive), or whether an employee can prove retaliation merely by presenting evidence that retaliation was a “motivating factor” in the decision (i.e., that retaliation was one of the multiple reasons why the employer took the adverse employment action). Justice Kennedy authored the Nassar decision in another 5-to-4 ruling (with the same justices on each side of the issue as in Vance). He held that Title VII retaliation claims must be proved according to the more stringent “but-for” causation standard, rather than the lower standard for proving unlawful discrimination defined in the discrimination section of Title VII.

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar, No. 12-484, U.S. Supreme Court (June 24, 2013).

Read the entire Article Here: Employers 2 Plaintiffs 0

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U.S. Supreme Court Limits Opportunistic for Plaintiffs (1 of 2)


Michael Caldwell : October 7, 2013 12:36 pm

 

 

As of June 24, 2013, it has become harder for employee plaintiffs to prove that an employer is liable for unlawful harassment and retaliation. The U.S. Supreme Court issued two very significant employment law cases, both of which handed victory to the employers.

In Vance v. Ball State University, the Supreme Court considered whether the vicarious liability rules which make a company liable for unlawfully discriminatory acts of its “supervisors” should apply to every harassment case where the employee proves that the harasser has the authority to direct and oversee a victim’s daily work, or only to those harassers who actually have the power to “hire, fire, demote, promote, transfer, or discipline” their victim. Justice Alita wrote the majorityopinion in a 5-to-4 decision holding that under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 an employee would be considered a “supervisor” for purposes of vicarious liability only if he or she is empowered
by the employer to take tangible employment actions against the victim.
Vance v. Ball State University, No. 11-556, U.S. Supreme Court (June 24, 2013).

Read the entire Article Here: Employers 2 Plaintiffs 0

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NLRB’s New Brew: “Micro-Units”


Michael Caldwell : October 1, 2013 9:50 am

Micro brews are all the rage among today’s increasingly sophisticated beer consumers. With the large variety of tastes that micro-brews offer consumers are far more likely to find a beer that suits their tastes.

The NLRB appears to have adopted a similar approach to bargaining unit composition.  The Board has the authority to determine which employees will be included and which employees will be excluded from collective bargaining and voting units.  Historically the NLRB made these determinations based on its findings that a specific group of employees within an employer enjoyed a sufficient “community of interests” allowing them to adopt common bargaining objectives to effectively deal with their employers over their common issues relating to wages, hours and working conditions. The Board was prohibited from constructing bargaining units that were merely tailored to a union’s extent of organizational success within the employer’s workforce.

These bargaining unit principles appear to have been abandoned by the Obama Board, which in 2011 started to certify small groups of employees, commonly referred to as “micro units,” forming sub-organizations of a larger community of employees.

Read the Entire Article Here

NLRB’s New Brew

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Part Timers? Myth and Reality


Michael Caldwell : September 26, 2013 1:33 pm

Many managers and supervisors operate under the mistaken belief that part time employees have fewer rights than full time employees. It’s not so. In fact, the Department of Labor, and other agencies that enforce employment and anti-discrimination laws make no distinction between part time and full time employees.

The entire article is here: Part Timers_Myth and Reality

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The Perils of Employer Do-it Yourself Representation in FLSA Cases


Michael Caldwell : September 14, 2013 1:31 pm

A recent case decided by the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit points out the dangers of an employer trying to “go it alone” in attempting to settle a Fair Labor Standards Act (“wage-hour”) case.

The entire article is here: The Perils of Representing Yourself as an Employer

 

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“Obamacare” Notices are Mandatory for All Employers


Michael Caldwell : September 14, 2013 9:50 am

The following advice is applicable to every employer who is subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act, (and that includes practically every employer).

The Health Insurance Marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA, a/k/ a “Obamacare”) ) currently is scheduled to become effective for purposes of enrolling individuals in health insurance plans on October 1, 2013.  While the President has delayed implantation of those provisions of the law requiring some employers to provide health care insurance coverage to employees,  other provisions of the law will become mandatory for employers of all sizes by the October 1, 2013 deadline. This includes the obligation covering every employer that is subject to the FLSA: They must distribute a notice of coverage options to their employees no later than October 1, 2013.  After October 1, 2013, they must distribute the notice to every new hire not later than 14 days after they start working for the employer.

Read the Entire Article:

Obamacare Notices are Mandatory

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FMLA Final Rule Changes for Military Employees and Flight Crews


Michael Caldwell : September 12, 2013 1:35 pm

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has marked the 20th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by publishing a Final Rule broadening the FMLA’s reach. The Final Rule amends FMLA regulations to expand the availability of qualifying exigency leave and military caregiver leave and to address FMLA eligibility requirements for airline flight crew members.

Read the entire article here: FMLA Rule Changes for Military Employees and Flight Crews

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Same-Sex Marriage and ERISA Covered Benefit plans


Michael Caldwell : September 5, 2013 12:35 pm

In Cozen O’Connor v. Tobbits, a ruling made in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Windsor, the U.S. District Court for Eastern District of Pennsylvania held that a deceased employees same-sex spouse is entitled to receive death benefits under the employer’s ERISA qualified plan, even though the Pennsylvania’s state law invalidates such marriages.

The entire post is here: Same Sex Marriages and Erisa Covered Benefit Plans.

 

 

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Supreme Court Narrows the Meaning of Supervisor and Clarifies Retaliation


dcbf3954 : August 26, 2013 12:34 pm

By Michael A. Caldwell

Both public and private employers can rest a little easier this week knowing  that the U.S. Supreme Court handed down two decisions limiting the ability of the EEOC to pin liability upon employers for unlawful harassment and retaliation. The cases were Vance v. Ball State University, No. 11-556 (June 24, 2013) and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v Nassar (No. 12-484 (June 24, 2013).

Read the Entire Article Here:
Supreme Court Narrows the Meaning of Supervisor and Clarifies Retaliation in the context of Title VII

 

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