Monthly Archives: July 2010

WHEN IS A CONTRACTOR NOT A CONTRACTOR?

Recently, many companies have started to contract out certain work, rather than hiring new employees to do it. There are many reasons for this, most of which relate in one way or another to reducing costs and/or perceived liability. As this trend has gained momentum, some employers have moved significant work from employees to contractors, and done so in a short period of time.
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ARBITRATION AGREEMENTS LOSING FAVOR WITH CONGRESS

For many employers, arbitration is often a preferred remedy over civil litigation. The process is typically much faster than civil litigation, and as a result, tends to be less expensive. In recent years, however, several pieces of legislation have been introduced in Congress that would make pre-dispute arbitration agreements invalid and unenforceable in consumer and employment actions. (The proposed laws typically do not apply to arbitration provisions in collective bargaining agreements.)
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TO BE CRUDE OR TO BE HARASSED?

What’s an onslaught of labor and employment decisions without a juicy sexual harassment case?

Continuing the pattern of growth in labor and employment jurisprudence we’ve seen in the last several months, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ recent decision in EEOC v. Fairbrook Medical Clinic, P.A. revisited the standard governing sex-based hostile work environment claims brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

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FMLA’S “SON OR DAUGHTER” DEFINITION – THE GATE TO FMLA LEAVE JUST GOT A LITTLE WIDER

Apparently unsatisfied with the traditional meaning or understanding, the DOL has determined that “additional clarification” was required concerning the meaning of the term “son or daughter” under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). The new interpretive guidance has the potential to greatly expand the list of reasons an employee may request leave under FMLA and employers need to be prepared accordingly.

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HOW FAR DO TITLE VII’S RETALIATION TENTACLES REACH?

A little over one week ago, employers everywhere found out that they would soon learn exactly how thin the lines of retaliation under federal civil rights law may be stretched.

In deciding to hear the case of Thompson v. North American Stainless, LP, the United States Supreme Court indicated that it would again shed further light on the anti-retaliation provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In the Thompson case, the focus is squarely on who exactly is protected by those provisions.
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WHICH COMES FIRST – THE CHICKEN OR THE EGG?

In just another of a long line of labor and employment related decisions issued recently, the U.S. Supreme Court provided some guidance — and a strong warning — to those seeking to invalidate arbitration agreements. Highlighting the importance of procedural nuances and the careful framing of the argument and issues, the Court in Rent-A-Center v. Jackson addressed the issue of whether a “district court may decide a claim that an arbitration agreement is unconscionable, where the agreement explicitly assigns that decision to the arbitrator.”

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