Think twice the next time you decide to forego the Oxford comma.  For the non-grammar nerds in the room, the Oxford comma, otherwise known as the serial comma, is the comma used just before the coordinating conjunction (“and” or “or”) when three or more terms are listed.  It is viewed by many as optional.  Enter the First Circuit’s recent ruling regarding Maine’s overtime law. (more…)

Employers are often hesitant to take disciplinary or other actions with an employee who has recently requested or has taken leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). While the law does not prohibit such action, employers should maintain a heightened awareness when dealing with employees who have exercised their FMLA rights. Similar to other federal employment statutes the FMLA includes retaliation provisions and often adverse employment actions (such as demotions, changes in position, suspensions, or terminations) are argued to be retaliatory when they are in close temporal proximity to an FMLA leave or requested leave.
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A National General Strike has been announced for February 17, 2017 as a “peaceful display of resistance and solidarity” to protest the Trump Administration’s policies. This “strike” poses thorny legal issues for nonunion employers that are unaccustomed to dealing with “striking employees.” Purely political protests, including walking off the job and calling out, can be protected if the purpose of the protest is to impact their interests as employees through the political process. However, it is not at all clear that the National General Strike has anything to do with employment policies, and it appears to be directed to protests of the Trump administration generally.
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D.C. joins 11 other jurisdictions (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington) in banning employers’ use of employees’ or applicants’ credit histories.
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This is a brief update to the court machinations in the DOL’s appeal of the Texas Court’s decision to issue a preliminary injunction barring the implementation of the Final Overtime Rule. That appeal is now before the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, generally known as an employer-friendly circuit.
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Employers in New York must scramble to assess the impact of the new substantial salary level increases that take effect on December 31, 2016. Below is a summary of the new salary levels for exempt administrative and executive employees. The levels are determined by size of employer and where the employer is located in New York. So, for the first time, the salary level required to be exempt from overtime will be different in different parts of the State. (more…)

EDITOR’S NOTE: THIS IS SATIRE

MEMORANDUM

To:                   Management Team

From:               Legal Department

Date:                December 15, 2016

Re:                   Company Holiday Event Post-Mortem

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Three years ago, the Company Christmas Party resulted in various criminal charges, allegations of sexual harassment, compensation of the entire Accounting Department for an all-night game of Truth-Or-Dare, a workers compensation claim for dance fighting, and the consummation of a little boy named Wendell, Jr. The Legal Department took inventory of these events in a memorandum that provided advice for future parties. (more…)

  1. “Bathroom Bills” Apply to All Public Facilities, Including Showers and Locker Rooms.
    Despite being commonly referred to as “bathroom bills,” the laws and policy statements regarding transgender individual’s bathroom access apply equally to locker rooms and showering facilities.  Bathroom bills are laws that seek to restrict access to public facilities on the basis of the sex that an individual was assigned at birth.  These regulations, whether merely proposed or actually enacted, are intended to apply to facilities other than just bathrooms.
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On October 12, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, which hears appeals from federal courts in Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota, ruled that a trucking company did not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it stopped giving work to a driver who refused to submit to in-lab sleep apnea testing.
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  1. Persistent failure to use a transgender employee’s preferred name, or update the employee’s records to reflect the preferred name, may constitute harassment.

    The EEOC in Lusardi v. Dep’t of the Army, EEOC Appeal No. 0120133395, 2015 WL 1607756 (Mar. 27, 2015), held that intentional misuse of a transgender employee’s new name and pronoun may constitute sex-based discrimination and/or harassment. In Complainant v. Dep’t of Veterans Affairs, EEOC Appeal No. 0120133123, 2014 WL 1653484 (E.E.O.C.) (Apr. 16, 2014), the EEOC held that an employer’s year-long failure to revise its records pursuant to changes in gender identity was severe or pervasive enough to constitute a claim of sex-based harassment.
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