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Showing 8 posts from February 2015.

“Too Black”: Waitress’s Claim of Color Bias Raises Novel Title VII Claim

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prevents discrimination in employment decisions based upon an employee’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Bias claims based on a claimant’s skin color are nearly unanimously predicated upon bias against ‘race’ rather than ‘color.’ Circumstances can arise, as the Fifth Circuit found, where ‘color,’ rather than ‘race,’ is a discrete type of alleged discrimination. In a novel holding, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled in Etienne v. Spanish Lake Truck & Casino Plaza, LLC that a separate claim of ‘color’ can provide the necessary foundation for a claim of discrimination based on ‘race.’

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Employment at Will Comes with Many Exceptions

Kentucky employment law generally recognizes that most employment is “at-will” – meaning, employees serve at the pleasure of the employer, and termination of an employee does not require “just cause.” There are several circumstances, however, where laws and other factors prohibit employers from terminating an employee without a well-documented showing of cause. Employers should be aware of the circumstances under which they may not terminate an employee without just cause.

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Making Sure Your FMLA Policy Covers the Basics

Too often, employers assume that their policies comply with the basic tenets of regulatory provisions and proceed to other details without regular, careful review. This complacency, however, is where mistakes multiply, which can result in costly outcomes. In the case of Tilley v. Kalamazoo County Road Commission, for instance, the court reiterated that failure to review basic FMLA rules and train employees accordingly could lead to an unwelcome result. More >

Employees vs. Independent Contractors: The Consequences of Misclassification

The distinction between independent contractors and employees carries more burdens, consequences, and decisions than ever before. In addition to the tax consequences, there are health care compliance consequences, workers’ compensation consequences, and even intellectual property consequences. Understanding the consequences of misclassification is paramount to properly structure an employer’s workforce. More >

When is a Lunch Break Not a Lunch Break? The Sixth Circuit and Ruffin v. MotorCity Casino

Hopefully you aren’t reading this on your lunch break, hoping that you can then count the time spent as compensable work time, especially if you’re in the Sixth Circuit. In the case of Ruffin v. MotorCity Casino, the Sixth Circuit held that casino security guards tasked with monitoring their radios over their lunch break were not engaged in compensable work for purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act. This may be less than good news for employees, but it might provide some leeway in the future as to what employers may permissibly ask employees for on their lunch breaks.

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Who Owns What When a Copyrighted Work is Created in the Workplace

Something employers, employees and contractors don’t often consider is the ownership and attribution of copyrighted property created for an employer on behalf of an employee. Copyright has value, so the ownership of it might sometimes come into dispute. Clear agreements as to the ownership and attribution of intellectual property provide insight – i.e., any works created by an author as a result of the course and scope of that author’s employment with a company are company property. What happens, however, when a clear agreement isn’t in place? Who owns the intellectual property then?

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Hair Trigger: When are Employee Notice Provisions Triggered under the FMLA?

It can be hard to know when an employee is invoking rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). Every employer wants FMLA-requested leave to come in the form of 30 days advance notice, filed in the appropriate manner pursuant to company policy. However, a triggering event for FMLA leave can come from something as simple as an employee asking for a day off for medical reasons. It’s important to understand what the FMLA requires of employers in that instance to fulfill their responsibilities.

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What Employers Can (Probably) Expect from the FLSA Overtime Exemption (Yet to Be) Proposed Rules

With apologies to Tom Petty, with regard to upcoming proposed regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act set to increase the overtime exemption salary, the waiting is the hardest part. Employers everywhere will likely experience some budgetary change to comply, but it’s hard to know exactly what that change will be. At the same time, knowing what may be coming down the pike can only prepare employers more for how to handle the final regulations when they come into effect.

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