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Legal Alert: NLRB Holds Employees May Use Employer Email Systems for Non-Work-Related Communications

In a reversal of precedent, a divided National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) held yesterday that employees have a right to use their employers’ email systems for non-business purposes, including statutorily protected communications regarding the terms and conditions of their employment and regarding union organizing efforts. See Purple Communications, Inc., 361 NLRB No. 126 (December 11, 2014).  The NLRB’s ruling stemmed from a case brought by the Communications Workers of America union after it unsuccessfully attempted to organize employees of Purple Communications, Inc., a company that provides interpreting services for the deaf and hearing-impaired.  The union argued that prohibiting the company’s workers from using the company’s email system for non-business purposes and on behalf of organizations not associated with the company interfered with the CWA’s organizing efforts. 

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Supreme Court Finds Post-Shift Security Check Time Not Compensable

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court issued a highly-anticipated ruling in the case of Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk, No. 13-433 (Dec. 9, 2014, Thomas, C.).   

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CASE TO WATCH: YOUNG V. UPS

This Wednesday, December 3, 2014, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case of Young v. UPS, No. 12-1226, on appeal from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal.  The Young case has received significant attention because it asks the Court to directly address the question of what, if any, accommodation is required for a pregnant worker with work limitations under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, incorporated into Title VII of the Civil Rights Act in 1978, where the employer provides work accommodations to non-pregnant employees with work limitations, such as those affected by on-the-job injuries or a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.   

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OSHA Issues New Reporting and Recordkeeping Regulations

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) issued a final rule on September 11, 2014, requiring employers to notify OSHA when an employee is killed on the job or suffers a work-related hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye. The rule will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2015.  The rule also updates the list of employers partially exempt from OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements.

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Employees Behaving Badly: What’s An Employer To Do?

The recently-published video of NFL star-running back Ray Rice beating his then-fiancée in a casino elevator begs the question:  What should an employer do when it faces bad behavior by one of its employees?  And, does it matter if the employee is off-the-clock?

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TAGS: Labor & Employment Law, Workplace Violence

Kentucky Non-Competition Agreements

Companies with Kentucky employees need to review their non-competition agreements. 

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TAGS: Employment Law, Labor & Employment Law
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Sixth Circuit Holds Telecommuting May Be a Reasonable Accommodation for Employee With IBS

Stressing that technology has made telecommuting easier, the Sixth Circuit yesterday revived the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's claims that Ford Motor Co. failed to accommodate a worker with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) by refusing her request to work from home most days. 

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Obesity and the Ever-Broadening Definition of "Disability"

As most employers are aware, the definition of what constitutes a “disability” for purposes of providing a reasonable workplace accommodation was broadened significantly with the enactment of the Americans with Disability Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA). 

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Federal Government May Follow States By Raising Minimum Wage

On March 5, 2013, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., introduced legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage.  If enacted, the recently-proposed Fair Minimum Wage Act would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour over three years.  The increase would be accomplished by establishing a minimum wage of $8.20 per hour on the first day of the third month after enactment - an increase of 95 cents over the current federal minimum wage - followed by a minimum wage of $9.15 per hour one year after the initial bump and then $10.10 per hour a year later.

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Eleventh Circuit Finds That Repeated Extensions of a Leave of Absence is Not A Reasonable Accommodation

In addressing a disability discrimination claim under the ADA, the Eleventh Circuit ruled this past week that an indefinite leave of absence does not constitute a reasonable accommodation.

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TAGS: ADAAA, Americans with Disabilities Act, Employment Law, Labor & Employment Law
CONTACT: Cole D. Bond

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