Employment Law - Parks Chesin & Walbert
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Job Interviews: What Is Legally Off-Limits?

Both employers and potential employees should be aware of the discrimination that can occur as early as the interview and the hiring stage of employment. While employers want to hire candidates who can perform the job and enhance their organization, potential employees want to make a good impression. Though interviews are crucial to the onboarding process—they leave opportunity for discrimination. Many employers may not realize this—and may violate anti-discrimination laws if they screen out a particular, protected class of potential employee.

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Uber in the News: Employment Law Ramifications

In this era of independent contractors, workers have the ability to work for themselves as consultants for other companies. If they’d like, they can simply fulfill tasks that companies outsource. Companies such as the taxi firm Uber are a prime example of this. Unfortunately, companies like this are also an example of the number of employment law cases that have recently been involved in a class action lawsuit. The way in which these workers are treated compared to the huge profits these companies make off of independent contractors is causing the era of independent contracting to be called into question.

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Antonin Scalia and the Supreme Court: The Impact on Employment Law

The hugely respected Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death has had massive implications for developments in employment law across America. As predictions about ongoing cases are made, ripples of uncertainty are being created throughout law firms across the country. Scalia acted as the embodiment of conservatism in the Supreme Court for three decades, and he was respected even by those who disagreed with him. His death will undoubtedly be accompanied by consequences for employees, employers and businesses.

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Can My Employer Force Me to Attend a Work Function?

Work functions: even if attendance is not mandatory, employees often feel compelled to attend.

Under most circumstances employers are permitted to require their employees attend a work function (even if it is outside normal business hours), because most states are at-will employment states. This means that an employee can be terminated or quit for any reason or no reason, as along as the employee is not part of a protected class, and the reason for termination is not unlawful discrimination. In at-will employment states, employees can be legally fired for not attending a mandatory work function that occurs outside normal business hours (even if that event occurs far away from their place of employment). Typical functions include holiday parties, meetings, weekend or evening retreats, and social or charity events. Sometimes these events are explicitly mandatory and sometimes there is strong peer pressure associated with attending— which makes them essentially mandatory events.

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Laws about Age Discrimination

Age discrimination against employees at least forty years old has been deemed illegal in most circumstances since President Johnson signed the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) into law in 1967. The ADEA applies to employers (of interstate commerce) who employ twenty or more employees.

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What Does Diversity Look Like on the Supreme Court?

Historically, the Supreme Court Justice has not been a diverse group. Only in the past several decades have Presidents even nominated candidates who fell outside the categories of white, Protestant, and male. There have been 112 Supreme Court Justices, 108 of them male, and only 4 female. Only 2 have been African American. The first, Thurgood Marshall, began serving in 1967 and the second Clarence Thomas is currently on the Court. In 1981, 205 years after the creation of the Supreme Court, the country got the first female Justice, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. In the 35 years since, women’s role on the Court has increased. Now, the Court has three female justices, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Justice Elena Kagan Justice, and Sonia Sotomayor, who is a Latina as well.

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Dr. Luke in the Limelight: Music Producers & Employment Law

Kesha’s attempts to void her recording contracts with Lukaz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald and Sony are directly related to allegations of harassment and rape. The lawsuit and the media frenzy surrounding it have placed the music industry (and how artists are employed in the industry) in the spotlight. In her lawsuit, Kesha claims she was the victim of sexual harassment, gender violence, civil harassment, unfair business, and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress as well as sexual assault and battery.

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Can I Get Fired over a Tweet? What NOT to Say on Social Media

In 1942— long before the advent of the Internet or social media— Thumper offered Bambi some sage advice: “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.” That advice still rings true today. When you post on social media, you may feel like you’re just venting or sending a message to a bunch of your friends and family (especially if you are not one of those people who have several million followers). However, it’s important to remember that there is nothing private about your online posts— even if you’ve activated the highest privacy settings. Any one of your “friends” could forward your post to someone— and even a time limited post (like a Snapchat) could be saved and transmitted by a third party via screenshot.

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In the News: Kesha’s Employment Lawsuit

The news about pop music star Kesha’s employment lawsuit is abuzz. Kesha– whose real name is Kesha Rose Sebert— filed a civil lawsuit in attempts to void her recording contracts with Lukaz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald and Sony. Kesha was trying to enter into contracts with other recording and publishing companies without penalty. The lawsuit alleges causes of action of sexual assault and battery, sexual harassment, gender violence, civil harassment, unfair business, as well as intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

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