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Photo of Employment Law Blog Benjamin L. Riddle
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briddle@mmlk.com
502-327-5400, ext. 305
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I have a diverse practice representing regional banks, businesses, and non-profit entities in litigation and pre-litigation disputes.  As a litigator, my first priority is to advise …

Showing 11 posts by Benjamin L. Riddle.

NLRB: A Sole Employee Filing a Class Action Lawsuit is Protected Concerted Activity

The National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB”) definition of the word “concerted” is beginning to extend past its common sense meaning. The NLRB has been expanding what counts as “concerted” activity under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (“Section 7”) to cover a multitude of activities lately, and in 200 E. 81st Restaurant Corp., it stretches the definition just a bit farther. More >

The Big and Small Implications in Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association

There are two important takeaways from Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association,[1] one with a broad scope and the other much narrower. The broader ruling exempts agency interpretations of laws and regulations from any notice and comment requirements under the Administrative Procedures Act (“APA”), allowing agencies to substantially alter interpretations without notice. On a different note, however, is the finding that Department of Labor (“DoL”) Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) classification interpretations are subject to change at any moment.

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Employers – Are You Prepared for New NLRB Election Rules?

On April 14th, the new National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) election rules came into effect, creating a potential headache for employers. Perhaps most critically, the timeline between the initial petition for union election and the election itself may be as short as 13 days, giving employers limited notice of potential union organization and activity. These accelerated elections are derisively (but maybe not unjustly) referred to as “ambush” or “quickie” elections.

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“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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EEOC Sues Companies for Transgender Discrimination

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has just filed suit against two companies for alleged discrimination against transgendered employees. The suits were filed separately in Florida and Michigan, against Lakeland Eye Clinic and G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc., respectively. In both cases, employees alleged that they were fired after they disclosed they were undergoing gender transitions.

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“STOP”: Four Tips For Document Preservation When Facing Potential Litigation

In today’s digital environment, it is crucial that employers act fast when faced with a suit (or the threat of suit) by an employee or ex-employee. When potential litigation is on the horizon, the first step should always be to contact legal counsel. The next step should protecting documentation that might be relevant to the dispute. Keep in mind this acronym to make sure you are following that right steps for documentation preservation:

Search for employees that might possess information pertaining to the dispute. This might include supervisors, managers, or people who shared a workspace with the claimant, but it might also include others not under the direct supervision of the company, such as independent contractors or consultants that worked with the claimant.

Think about all sources of information – smart phones, tablets, cloud-based servers, thumb drives, work email accounts, etc. Once the sources are identified, consider whether you have and can maintain access to them. In some cases, it may require notifying the claimant that he must turn over password information or relinquish his work-issued devices, but it is highly suggested you contact legal counsel before proceeding with this step.

Order a litigation hold on relevant information. Instruct employees to not destruct, forward or edit the relevant documentation in any way. In-house destruction procedures (such as shredding or the automatic email deletion) should be cancelled until further notice from counsel. Litigation hold instructions should be made in writing and provide explicit instructions. The instructions should identify the type of materials and date ranges that are subject to the hold. A litigation hold should also identify to whom questions or concerns about the hold can be directed.

Present all information to counsel. He or she will then determine exactly what information needs to be preserved and for how long. Do not think that you, as an employer, know what information is important. By getting rid of documentation, even without ill intent, you may be hurting your ability to present a defense to the claims.

Stop Sign Hand

No employer likes facing employee-related litigation, but it is important to “STOP” and take time to ensure document preservation in the wake or threat of a suit.

Ben Riddle

Benjamin L. Riddle is an associate in the Louisville, Kentucky office. Mr. Riddle is a member of the firm’s Litigation team, where he focuses his practice on employment law, commercial disputes and personal injury matters. Mr. Riddle can be reached at (502) 327-5400, ext. 305 or briddle@mmlk.com

This article is intended as a summary of newly enacted federal law and does not constitute legal advice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Keeping Off-The-Clock Work On Your Radar

There are lots of things that an employer must be mindful of on an ongoing basis, but near the top of that list should be the prohibition of non-exempt employees’ off-the-clock work. This common problem can easily escape an employer’s attention, but it can have an incredibly negative and costly impact if an employee (or, employees) brings a wage and hour suit. Just ask LinkedIn.

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Detecting FMLA Abuse

Dealing with employees who abuse FMLA can be difficult. Letting abuse run rampant, however, can impact business productivity and put a damper on company morale (as present employees often have to pick up the slack of someone on leave). Employers who detect abuse must proceed with caution because it is very easy to run afoul of regulations.

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Curbing FMLA Abuse

The Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) permits eligible employees to take up to 12 work weeks of leave during a 12-month period if a serious health condition makes the employee unable to perform the functions of his or her position. When an employer suspects that an employee is abusing the FMLA leave, employers may feel caught in a classic Catch-22. They can ignore the abuse and operate with a reduced workforce, or subject themselves to an interference or defamation suit if they decide to challenge or confront the employee about the questionable leave.

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