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Category Archives: Employment Law

Considering a Criminal Record During Hiring

By Tobin O’Connor & Ewing |

The hiring of individuals with criminal records is a sensitive issue. On one hand, many released convicts have a great deal of talent and exuberance to offer and can contribute significantly in a variety of positions. On the other hand, depending on the type of position and the nature of the conviction, hiring a… Read More »

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When Does Criticism Become Concerted Action?

By Tobin O’Connor & Ewing |

Employers have always had to deal delicately with criticism and insubordination by employees. On one hand, it is important for employees to feel they have an outlet for identifying problems in the company and suggesting ways that it can improve. However, when such criticism is pervasive and unconstructive, it can destroy morale, decrease productivity… Read More »

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SCOTUS May Consider Circuit Split on Retirement Plan Vesting

By Tobin O’Connor & Ewing |

As more and more employers in the United States are shying away from providing permanently vested benefits to their employees and retirees, a circuit split has erupted regarding the interpretation of ambiguous provisions governing collectively bargained retiree health care benefits. As is often the case when two U.S. courts of appeal reach conflicting answers… Read More »

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Government Moves to Raise Minimum Wage for Government Workers

By Tobin O’Connor & Ewing |

While efforts in Congress to raise the national minimum wage — currently $7.25 per hour — have received resistance from employers and a lukewarm reception for legislators, the Obama Administration’s decision to raise the minimum wage for government contractors across the board could have an impact on many employers that do business with the… Read More »

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What Northwestern’s Football Player Union Could Mean

By Tobin O’Connor & Ewing |

On April 25, 2014, 76 student athletes from Northwestern University cast their votes on whether the players should certify a union to bargain on their behalves under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). While the results of the election may not be known for some time — and are certain to have significant ramifications… Read More »

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U.S. Supreme Court Determines Scope of Whistleblower Protection under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act

By Tobin O’Connor & Ewing |

In Lawson v. FMR LLC, whistleblowers worked for mutual fund advisers, rather than the public company mutual funds. The Court of Appeals determined they did not fall within the whistleblower protections of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. The Court of Appeals held that the protections only applied to employees of public companies, not those… Read More »

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NLRB Reissues Expedited Union Election Rules

By Tobin O’Connor & Ewing |

In 2011, business advocates across the nation balked at the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB’s) attempt to modernize labor union election procedures and expedite elections. Opponents argued that these new rules — dubbed “ambush election” rules by opponents — would deprive management of a fair opportunity to make a case against unionization to their… Read More »

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Supreme Court Considers “Fair Share” Laws

By Tobin O’Connor & Ewing |

Over the last several decades, public sector unions that represent state and local government employees have steadily increased in power and influence in the United States. This has partially been due to the ability of these unions to enjoy a stable stream of revenue due to “fair share” laws that allow them to collect… Read More »

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High Court Case Takes on “Donning and Doffing” Under the FLSA

By Tobin O’Connor & Ewing |

Despite the fact that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has been in effect for almost 75 years, there are still instances where its nuances require judicial interpretation. One issue that arises from time to time is the extent to which union-negotiated collective bargaining agreements can override certain provisions of the FLSA. In a… Read More »

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US Supreme Court Clarifies Causality Standard for Retaliation Cases

By Tobin O’Connor & Ewing |

Employee charges and lawsuits for discrimination under federal law frequently go hand-in-hand with allegations of retaliation. These types of charges can be particularly damaging to employers from a public relations perspective because they are almost always premised upon allegations of deliberate and premeditated action by the employer. They are also a threat legally because… Read More »

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