Showing posts with label yearly top 10. Show all posts
Showing posts with label yearly top 10. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Top 10 Labor & Employment Law Stories of 2009: Numbers 6 and 5

Gold top 10 winner

6. The U.S. Supreme Court’s Pro-Employee decisions. 2009 brought us two important pro-employee Supreme Court decisions. In Crawford v. Metropolitan Gov’t of Nashville, the Court held that Title VII’s anti-retaliation provision covers employees who answer questions during employers’ internal investigations. In Ricci v. DeStefano, the court found that disparate treatment of non-minorities trumps a disparate impact on minorities.

5. The Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. A mere 9 days after his inauguration, President Obama made the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act the first piece of legislation he signed into law. The Ledbetter Act reversed the Supreme Court’s eponymous decision, which had held that in Title VII pay discrimination cases the statute of limitations begins to run when the pay-setting decision is made. This law provides that a new and separate violation occurs each time a person receives a paycheck resulting from “a discriminatory compensation decision.” Thus, each paycheck that reflects an alleged discriminatory pay decision will start a new and distinct limitations period. Unfortunately for employers, courts have been applying this law broadly by extending statutes of limitations for all sorts of employment decisions – promotions and demotions, for example.

Presented by Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, with offices in Cleveland and Columbus. For more information, contact Jon Hyman, a partner in our Labor & Employment group, at (216) 736-7226 or

Monday, December 28, 2009

Top 10 Labor & Employment Law Stories of 2009: Numbers 8 and 7

Gold top 10 winner 8. Associational Retaliation. In Thompson v. North Am. Stainless, the 6th Circuit reversed itself and held that retaliation is only actionable in a suit by a primary actor who engaged in protected activity, and not by a passive bystander. This decision, which rejected a retaliation claim by the fiancée of an employee who had engaged in protected activity, has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supremes have asked for the view of the federal government before it decides whether to hear this case. Expect more on this issue in 2010.

7. Genetic Information Discrimination. On November 21, it became illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of genetic information, creating the first new federally protected class in nearly two decades.

Presented by Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, with offices in Cleveland and Columbus. For more information, contact Jon Hyman, a partner in our Labor & Employment group, at (216) 736-7226 or

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Top 10 Labor & Employment Law Stories of 2009: Numbers 10 and 9

Gold top 10 winnerToday, I continue a tradition that I started last year – using the week between Christmas and New Year’s to count down the top 10 Labor & Employment Law stories of the past year. We start today, with numbers 10 and 9. We’ll wrap up on Dec. 31 with the top two, and fill in the rest in between.

10. Ohio Supreme Court punts on Employees’ Lactation Rights. In Allen v. totes/Isotoner Corp., the Ohio Supreme Court dodged the issue of whether alleged discrimination due to lactation is included within the scope of Ohio’s employment-discrimination statute as sex discrimination. Before you think that you can deny a female employee’s lactation request, consider that two of the Court’s more conservative justices wrote a separate opinion in which they unequivocally concluded that lactation is covered by Ohio’s proscriptions against employment discrimination on the basis of sex/pregnancy.

9. New FMLA Regulations and ADA Amendments Take Effect. Both are holdovers from the last year of the Bush administration, and both greatly impact how employers handle employees’ medical issues. The FMLA regulations greatly increase employers’ access to medical information. The paradigm-changing ADA amendments shift the focus in ADA lawsuits from whether an employee meets the definition of “disability” to what accommodations will enable an employee to perform the essential functions of the job.

Presented by Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, with offices in Cleveland and Columbus. For more information, contact Jon Hyman, a partner in our Labor & Employment group, at (216) 736-7226 or

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top 10 Labor & Employment Law Stories of 2008: Nos. 2 and 1

Today brings us to the end of our countdown, and the top two labor and employment law stories of the year. Each of these stories will have far reaching implications into 2009:

2. The economic downturn and the proliferation of layoffs and shutdowns: It’s no secret that our economy is in the toilet, and will continue to be at least in the short term. Companies have been and will continue to shed employees and operations as they try to stay afloat or fail. Unemployment insurance systems will continue to be stressed to the max. As employers continue to feel economic pressure, acronyms like OWBPA and WARN will continue to be on the tips of their tongues and at the core of employees’ fears. This story very well could climb to number in 2009 as the economy is predicted to continue to suffer, and employment lawsuits are expected to continue to rise.

1. The election of President Obama: In the last two years, the Democratic majorities in the House and Senate have proposed a cornucopia of new labor and employment laws – Employee Free Choice Act, Employment Non-Discrimination Act, Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Arbitration Fairness Act, Working Families Flexibility Act, Independent Contractor Proper Classification Act, RESPECT Act, Equal Remedies Act, Civil Rights Act of 2008, and the Health Families Act. While jump starting the economy should preoccupy the new administration, we cannot overlook that Senator Obama sponsored most if not all of these bills. With the Democrats in charge of the White House and Capitol Hill for the first time in 14 years, there is a real chance that we will see the most sweeping changes to our nation’s labor and employment laws in decades. This story is number one in 2008, and very well could repeat as the top story of 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and beyond.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Top 10 Labor & Employment Law Stories of 2008: Nos. 4 and 3

Today brings us numbers 4 and 3 of our countdown of the year’s top labor and employment law stories:

4. President Bush signs the ADA Amendments Act: The ADA Amendments, which go into effect Jan. 1, will undo several employer-friendly Supreme Court decisions that limited who could qualify as “disabled” under the statute. These amendments will make it easier for an employee to qualify for protection under the ADA, and make it harder for employer to get cases dismissed on summary judgment on the issue of whether an employee is disabled.

3. President Bush enacts new FMLA provisions for military leave, and the Department of Labor publishes new FMLA regulations: Thanks to the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008, the FMLA now provides for additional unpaid leave for family members to care for a servicemember with a serious illness or injury suffered in the line of duty, and for employees to take FMLA leave for certain emergencies stemming from a family members’ active duty. In a few weeks, the DOL’s regulations interpreting these new provisions and reinterpreting the original FMLA will go into effect. Covered employers will have to re-learn the FMLA in light of these new regulations, which, while being employer-friendly, significantly change how the FMLA operates. An already confusing statute is going to become that much more confusing, at least in the short-term.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Top 10 Labor & Employment Law Stories of 2008: Nos. 6 and 5

Our year-end countdown the year’s top 10 labor and employment law stories continues with numbers 6 and 5:

6. The Ohio Supreme Court holds that retained memories can qualify as trade secrets: In Al Minor & Assocs. v. Martin, the Ohio Supreme Court held that a customer list compiled by a former employee strictly from retained memory can form the basis for a statutory trade secret violation. According to the Court, information that constitutes a trade secret does not lose its character by being recreated from memory. In doing so, it not only greatly expanded the scope of statutory trade secret claims, but also expanded the class of employees against whom a non-competition agreement can be held to be enforceable.

5. The Ohio Healthy Families Act crashes and burns as its supporters pull it off the November ballot: The Ohio Healthy Families Act, if passed, would have provided 7 annual days of paid sick leave to employees of all Ohio employers with 25 or more employees. Thanks to an 11th hour compromise struck by Gov. Strickland and Sen. Brown, the SIEU agreed to remove this measure from November’s ballot. Had this measure been on the ballot, it would have likely passed, making Ohio the first state to mandate such a paid benefit. The last thing Ohio’s economy needs is a disincentive for businesses to call our state home. Thankfully, common sense prevailed.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Top 10 Labor & Employment Law Stories of 2008: Nos. 8 and 7

We continue our year-end countdown of 2008’s top 10 labor and employment law stories with numbers 8 and 7:

8. Wage and hour lawsuits continue to dominate federal court filings: Few if any companies do wage and hour perfectly. Save yourself the headache of defending a class action for misclassified employees or off-the-clock work and make 2009 the year your business audits its wage and hour practices.

7. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act becomes law: In May, President Bush signed GINA into law, one of several significant statutory employment law changes during the year. GINA adds “genetic information” to the list of classes of employees protected by the federal employment discrimination laws. It makes it unlawful for an employer to fail or refuse to hire, or to discharge, any employee, or otherwise to discriminate against any employee with respect to the compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment of the employee, because of genetic information with respect to the employee. Expect the EEOC to issue regulations interpreting this statute at some point in 2009.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Top 10 Labor & Employment Law Stories of 2008: Nos. 10 and 9

A couple of Sundays ago, the New York Times suggested that more and more companies will be flat out shutting down for the last week of the year as a cost-savings move:

Normally, the unfortunate people who are stuck at work during the molasses-slow week between Christmas and New Year get to know its spooky charms. Corridors and conference rooms lie empty, the telephone on the desk sits as quiet as a headstone.

But this year, a week that is usually just carefree and unproductive is likely to be positively dead. Companies in industries like high technology and manufacturing, pressed to the wall by the recession, are forcing workers to take the week off for accounting reasons as well as to reduce lighting and heating bills. Other people will also be taking the week off for the first time — not to dash off to ski at Killington, Vt., but because they lost their jobs.

I normally don’t like to be labeled a bandwagon jumper, but I happily will be joining this trend by taking off for the remainder of the year. Let me take this opportunity to wish everyone Happy Holidays (whatever your holiday of choice happens to be) and Happy New Year. I’ll see everyone back with fresh content in 2009.

Fear not, however, I will not leave everyone without something to read between now and Jan. 1. For the rest of the year, I will be counting down the top 10 labor and employment law stories of the year. We start today with numbers 10 and 9:

10. The 6th Circuit recognizes a claim for associational retaliation: In Thompson v. North Am.Stainless, the 6th Circuit expanded Title VII retaliation liability to cover adverse actions taken against those "who are so closely related to or associated" with employees who engage in protected activity. The question of how close is close enough is still open, and subject to lots of debate.

9. The 6th Circuit sets a very low bar to survive summary judgment in a mixed motive discrimination case: In White v. Baxter Healthcare Corp., the 6th Circuit held that the traditional McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting framework does not apply to the summary judgment analysis of a Title VII mixed-motive claim. Instead, to survive a motion for summary judgment, a Title VII plaintiff need only show: (1) that an adverse action occurred, and (2) some evidence that the protected class was a motivating factor for that adverse action. This is a very low threshold to meet, and will lead to fewer summary judgments being granted in this circuit.