Employment Law Archives - Page 11 of 17 - Parks Chesin & Walbert
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Court of Appeals Clarifies Procedural Hurdles To Whistleblower Protection Under TPFCA

The Court of Appeals recently explored the procedural and immunity implications of the Taxpayer Protection and False Claims Act (TPFCA) with respect to state universities and their officers and employees. In Fuciarelli v. McKinney, No. A15A0223, 2015 WL 4313845 (Ga. Ct. App. July 16, 2015), the Court held that a state university and its officers and employees – as public employees – are entitled to sovereign immunity in their official capacities when sued under the TPFCA. On the other hand, the Court clarified that a public employee is not required to obtain approval from the Attorney General before filing a retaliation suit under the TPFCA against other public employees in their individual capacities.

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What Obama Administration’s Expansion of Overtime Means for You

The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) was passed in 1938 in an effort to address concerns about the exploitation of blue-collar workers made to work more than the standard 40 hours a week without extra pay. Almost a century later, the White House just announced its plan to propose new rules that will drastically increase the number of people eligible to receive overtime pay. This plan focuses on bringing relief to America’s middle class and memorializes the Administration’s observation that: “[a] hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.”

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Whistleblower Update: Court of Appeals Focuses on Pretext before Prima Facie Case.

The Court of Appeals’ most recent decision in Tuohy v. City of Atlanta further clarifies the standard for bringing a claim under the Georgia Whistleblower Act (“GWA”), O.C.G.A. § 45-4-1. 771 S.E. 2d 501 (2015). In Tuohy, the former Atlanta City Treasurer brought suit against the City of Atlanta, Mayor Kasim Reed and the Atlanta City Council (collectively “the City”) alleging that he was terminated in retaliation in violation of the GWA. Specifically, Tuohy alleged that he was retaliated against for objecting to performing improper illegal financial transactions. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the City and Tuohy appealed. The Court of Appeals affirmed on the grounds that Plaintiff failed to show that the nondiscriminatory reason given by the city for his termination was pretextual.

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Discrimination Based on Genetic Information? There’s an Act for That

Seven years ago, Congress passed a law which prohibited employers from discriminating against people with genes that increase their risk for costly diseases. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA” or the “Act”) makes it illegal “for an employer to request, require, or purchase genetic information with respect to an employee.” 42 U.S.C. §2000ff et seq.

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UPDATE: SCOTUS Rules Abercrombie & Fitch “Look Policy” Violates Title VII

UPDATE: On June 1, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Petitioner, Samatha Elauf, a seventeen year-old Muslim woman who applied for a job at an Abercrombie Kids store. In an 8-1 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that employers can’t refuse to hire job applicants who require accommodations for their religious beliefs, even if the potential employee has not explicitly requested an accommodation and regardless of whether the employer knows for certain that religious accommodation is needed.

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Eleventh Circuit Holds State Whistleblower Laws Preempted By National Bank Act

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued a decision that may significantly undercut whistleblower protections in the banking industry.  After acknowledging the issue of whether the National Bank Act (“NBA”) preempts the Florida Whistleblower Act (“FWA”) concerning a state-employment contract as one of first-impression, the court ruled that the FWA – which protects even private sector employees from retaliatory employer action for reporting, objecting to, or refusing to participate in a violation of law, rule, or regulation – is preempted by the NBA, which allows for termination of national bank officers “at pleasure.”

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Denial of Unemployment Benefits Violated Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment

In a recent Georgia Court of Appeals case the Court held that a claimant cannot be denied unemployment benefits following claimant’s termination based on her refusal to work on Saturdays due to her religious beliefs. Lester v. Butler, 2015 WL 1204867 (Mar. 17, 2015). In a unanimous opinion, the Court held that to do so would violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religious, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” U.S. Const. amend. I (emphasis added).

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