Category: Practical Tips

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“Freaky Fast” Oppression? Jimmy John’s Should Reconsider its Approach to Blanket Noncompete Agreements

Most competent employment lawyers with experience pursuing and/or rebuffing enforcement of noncompetition agreements know that enforcement against low level workers is highly unlikely.  If recent news reports are true, Jimmy John’s apparently never got that memo. According to reports in The New York Times, The Oregonian and the Huffington Post, the restaurant franchise is requiring … Continue Reading

Stoel Rives World of Employment’s Top Predictions for 2014

As 2013 draws to a close, our Labor and Employment group put its collective head together to come up with our top predictions, from the cautious to the audacious, for what the new year will bring.  Stay tuned in 2014 to see how we do!  In the meantime, happy holidays!  Here goes: 1.                  Cost and morale pressures will lead more … Continue Reading

(Plaintiff’s) Paradise Found? Ninth Circuit Allows Title VII Claim, Omitted in Bankruptcy Petition, To Proceed

“Bankruptcy?” you ask. “Why are employment lawyers talking about bankruptcy?” Well, in fact, there are times when bankruptcy can provide a defense to employment discrimination claims. It involves a principle known as “judicial estoppel,” which precludes a party from taking a position in a case which is contrary to a position they have taken in earlier legal proceedings.  … Continue Reading

As the Election Nears, Employers Should be Cautious of Politics in the Workplace

From the Presidential debates to lawn signs, and TV ads to the Voters’ Pamphlet in your mailbox, there’s no denying that election season is in full swing. For employers, the home stretch to November 6 means not only around-the-clock coverage, but the potential for spirited debates—and resulting employee discord—in the workplace. Although with limited exception political activity … Continue Reading

December 31, 2012 Deadline Looms Under Tax Code for Fixing Severance Agreements with Releases

  Employers have until the end of the year to take advantage of relief from penalties under section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code for agreements that require employees to sign releases before severance benefits are paid. Section 409A was enacted in 2004 to regulate deferred compensation.  Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") regulations made clear that it … Continue Reading

Guidance on Terminations in Alaska

  Two recent opinions from the Alaska Supreme Court offer helpful guidance to employers regarding termination processes.   In Barickman v. State, an employer suspected an employee of theft.  When confronted, the employee signed a letter of termination and then wrote a letter stating that he was resigning to avoid a “black mark on his … Continue Reading

Update – New Rule Requires Employers to Post Notice of Employee NLRA Rights

In order to allow more time for legal challenges to its notice-posting rule to be resolved, the National Labor Relations Board has again postponed the rule’s effective date, this time to April 30, 2012.  Stay tuned. For additional information regarding the NLRB’s new rule and posting requirement, including links to the new rule and the … Continue Reading

New Rule Requires Employers to Post Notice of Employee NLRA Rights

Your bulletin board full of required workplace postings just got more crowded. The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) has issued a final rule that will require nearly all private sector employers, whether unionized or not, to post a notice to their employees about certain employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). The notice must be … Continue Reading

The EEOC Reiterates the Importance of the Interactive Process

A recent decision from the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reminds employers of their affirmative duty to engage in an interactive process once an employee raises a medical condition and requests some change to their work environment to accommodate it. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Rehabilitation Act at issue in Harden v. Social … Continue Reading

Lawmakers Aim to Take the “Spice” out of Synthetic Drug Use.

Meghan M. Kelly also contributed to this post. Alaska has joined the growing list of states that have outlawed the sale or possession of “synthetic cannabinoids.” These so-called designer drugs are sold under trade names like “Spice” and “K2”, and are essentially chemicals sprayed on dried weeds then rolled and smoked like marijuana.  Alaska’s new law, … Continue Reading

Why Employers Should Exercise Restraint and Objectivity

Retaliation claims are increasing at an alarming pace. Not only have these claims tripled in number within the last two decades, they now exceed race discrimination as the leading claim filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  Click here to see EEOC statistics. Why the startling trend? First, Congress has gone to great lengths to protect … Continue Reading

DOL Demonstrates Commitment to Wage and Hour Violations with Launch of New “DOL-Timesheet” App

In a highly visual public expression of its commitment to wage-and-hour violations, and to encouraging employees to file wage and hour complaints, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division entered the world of Smartphone apps when it recently launched its own “DOL-Timesheet” app for the iPad and iPhone. At first glance, the DOL-Timesheet App may … Continue Reading

New IRS Guidance for Health Care Reform: More News You Can Use

Editor’s Note: Today we are pleased to post the following health care reform update on new IRS guidance that came out last week.  Many thanks to our Seattle employee benefits colleagues, authors Howard Bye, Melanie Curtice and Erin Lennon, for sharing this timely content with World of Employment. Health care reform requires employers to report the cost of health … Continue Reading

EEOC’s Final Regulations on the ADAAA: News You Will Certainly Use

At long last the EEOC has issued its final regulations for the Americans With Disabilities Amendments Act.  In so doing, the EEOC has taken Congress’ words contained in the Act and declared (repeatedly) that the definition of “disability” is to be read very broadly and that employers should instead focus on whether discrimination has occurred or an accommodation … Continue Reading

The Do’s and Don’ts of Employee Handbooks

Employee handbooks can operate as a useful management tool to ensure fairness and consistency in employment practices which in turn may limit an employer’s exposure to unwanted and costly litigation. But if not carefully drafted an employee handbook may unwittingly supply a disgruntled employee with greater ammunition on the legal battlefield. A couple of Utah employers recently … Continue Reading

Stoel Rives/SHRM Ninth Annual Labor and Employment Conference!

Please join us for our Ninth Annual Stoel Rives/SHRM Labor and Employment Law Conference on March 10 at the Oregon Convention Center!  This year’s theme is "HR Horror Show." We have an all star lineup this year, including keynote speaker David Rabiner, lunchtime speaker Ed Reeves, and a variety of presentations by Stoel Rives attorneys on … Continue Reading

GINA Compliance?

As Stoel Rives World of Employment has previously reported, Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) prohibits employers from discriminating against employees and applicants based on their genetic information and regulates employers’ acquisition and use of genetic information.    GINA applies to private employers with 15 or more employees, employment agencies, labor … Continue Reading

How To Avoid Holiday Party Pitfalls (and Liability)

According to recent poll by the Society of Human Managers (SHRM), fewer employers are foregoing holiday parties this year than in 2009. Although the economy continues to sputter, many employers likely see the traditional holiday party as a relatively inexpensive way of boosting morale and creating good will among their employees.  Some employers approach party planning … Continue Reading

Oregon Supreme Court: Employers Are Not Required to Accommodate Medical Marijuana

Yesterday the Oregon Supreme Court conclusively ruled that employers are not required to accommodate the use of medical marijuana in the workplace, ending years of doubt and confusion on this critical issue. Click here to read the Court’s opinion in Emerald Steel Fabricators, Inc. v. Bureau of Labor and Industries. In Emerald Steel, a drill … Continue Reading

How Does the Heath Care Reform Package Impact Employers?

The health care reform legislation passed by Congress places significant new responsibilities on employers, group health plans, insurers, and individuals. The Stoel Rives Employee Benefits team has developed the following overview of the most significant issues affecting employers and group health plans, in order of effective date. (click on CONTINUE READING" for the full text of the overview). Effective … Continue Reading
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