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2007 Articles

Anti-Pretexting Statute By Michael R. Lied November 2007 Hewlett-Packard’s Chairman, Patricia Dunn, was allegedly upset about leaks to the media about the company’s long term strategic plans. Hewlett-Packard retained an outside firm to gain access to its directors’ phone records, believing that one or more directors were the source of the leak.
Does a manager have to express happiness that a subordinate is pregnant? By Michael R. Lied August 2007 Probably not. However, failure to do so was one issue considered significant in a pregnancy discrimination case. Asmo v. Keane, Inc., 471 F.3d 588 (6th Cir. 2006).
EEOC issues guidance on workers with caregiving responsibilities By Michael R. Lied August 2007 In May 2007, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued guidance on workers with caregiving responsibilities.
Employer’s handbook rules discourage protected labor activity By Michael R. Lied March 2007 The lesson in Guardsmark, LLC v. N.L.R.B. is that it is important to review handbook language to assure that it does not violate Federal labor law.
Employer’s obligations under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act By John N. Maher March 2007   Some of the central issues that you, as an employer, may face when your employees are called to active duty are addressed in this article.
Failure to insure contraceptives was not sex discrimination By Michael R. Lied June 2007 Union Pacific Railroad provided health care benefits to its employees who were covered by collective bargaining agreements. While the health plans provided benefits for services such as routine physical exams, they excluded coverage for a number of things. They excluded both male and female contraceptive methods, prescription and non- prescription, when used for the sole purpose of contraception. The health plans only covered contraception when medically necessary for a non-contraceptive purpose.
Intellectual property law for the general practice attorney By Preston H. Smirman & David A. Burns March 2007 While the topic of IP law may seem intimidating, the intended purpose of this article is to “demystify” this area of the law. 
Mass flu outbreak: Employment implications By Michael R. Lied June 2007 Not “if” but “when.” According to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”), a pandemic, likely an influenza break- out, is inevitable. Some CDC recommendations have employment law implications. For example, if employees become ill, an obvious issue may be the need to satisfy Family and Medical Leave Act obligations. There may also be issues under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. There could be implications under the Fair Labor Standards Act for employees who are required to work from home. For employers with a union, there may be labor law issues.
The need to accommodate workplace proselytization? By Keri A. Legg March 2007 There is an increase in the number of employees who desire to not only discuss their religious beliefs and practices at work, but who also hold religiously based needs to proselytize or affirmatively oppose “sin” in the workplace.
NLRB changes damages presumptions when employer refuses to hire paid union organizers By Michael R. Lied August 2007 In Oil Capital Sheet Metal, Inc., 349 NLRB No. 118 (2007), the Complaint alleged, and the Administrative Law Judge found, that the Respondent violated Section 8(a)(3) of the National Labor Relations Act by refusing to hire Couch, a paid union organizer.
Private investigator’s actions lead to invasion of privacy claim By Michael R. Lied November 2007 Private investigators can be a helpful tool for business. However, it is important to assure that the investigation does not cross over the line to create an invasion of privacy.
Retaliation: How to prove it, How to avoid it. Attorney’s Perspective – Plaintiff By Lori D. Ecker June 2007 In cases where the plaintiff claims that she was retaliated against for exercising her rights under the ADEA, the usual common law tort damages, such as emotional distress, may be recovered. The same is true for retaliation cases under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The expectation is that the same would hold true for retaliation claims under the FMLA, although there do not appear to be any Seventh Circuit decisions on point.
Seventh Circuit clarifies “cat’s paw” doctrine By Richard A. Russo August 2007 In Brewer v. Board of Trustees of University of Illinois, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals clarified the law regarding the “cat’s paw” doctrine.
Sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace By James E. Snyder & Hon. Reva S. Bauch June 2007 Imagine being called into your employer’s boardroom and being told: “You’re a great employee, but you’re gay,’re fired!” Federal law does not prohibit this kind of conduct by the employer. And in 33 states it is not an unlawful employment practice. In Illinois and 16 other states and the District of Columbia, however, it is illegal for an employer to fire an otherwise competent employee because of his or her sexual orientation.
Union not entitled to employee e-mail addresses By Michael R. Lied November 2007 In Trustees of Columbia University, Case 2-RC-22355 (August 9, 2007), a majority of a panel of the National Labor Relations Board (“Board”) found the employer did not violate the law when it refused to provide the union with e-mail addresses of eligible voters.
United States Supreme Court crystallizes time limitation for EEOC claims By Daniel K. Wright November 2007 In Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Inc., the United States Supreme Court held that an employee who has suffered a discriminatory pay decision must file a questionnaire with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) within 180 days of such decision in order to preserve a cause of action under Title VII for individual sex discrimination in pay and raises.
When are single-location bargaining units appropriate for health care employers? By Benjamin E. Gehrt March 2007 In County of Cook (Provident Hospital, the Illinois Court of Appeals was presented with the issue of what standard should be applied to determine if a single-location bargaining unit is appropriate for a health care employer with multiple facilities.