Martin K. Deniston Partner





  • Employment Newsletter

    Reevaluating Employment Background Checks

    August 2012

    The EEOC’s recent guidance provides that employers may violate Title VII if they treat criminal history information differently for applicants or employees. This does not mean that employers should abandon background screening altogether. In fact, to do so could run afoul of an employer’s obligation to use reasonable care when hiring employees and lead to liability if third parties are harmed by an employee.

  • Employment Newsletter

    Retaliation Claims by Employees Increasing

    June 2012

    In the past few years several U.S. Supreme Court cases have effectively expanded the scope of retaliation claims and lowered the requisite standard for a retaliation charge. The EEOC's latest enforcement and litigation report confirms that claims of retaliation against employers are significantly increasing.

  • Employment Newsletter

    Employers Access to Employees’ Social Media Accounts

    May 2012

    Two U.S. senators and Facebook, Inc. express outrage at the practice by some employers in requesting social media passwords from applicants for employment. The senators have asked for an investigation to determine the potential for a violation of discrimination laws, and Facebook asserts that the practice is a violation of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.

  • California Employers Need to Evaluate Meal and Rest Break Policies

    April 24, 2012

    Because the California Supreme Court has provided some specific guidance regarding employers’ obligations in reference to meal and rest breaks, it is very important that employers review their policies and practices to ensure they are in compliance with the requirements set forth in a recent decision.
  • Employment Newsletter

    FLSA’s Overtime Requirements

    March 2012

    Two of the most misapplied exemption categories to the FLSA’s overtime requirements are the executive and administrative exemptions, which are often referred to as the “supervisory” and “managerial” exemptions. To avoid DOL audits and fines, employers need to determine whether an employee is exempt under the FLSA, which is a function of analyzing individual employees’ actual job duties.

  • Employment Newsletter

    NLRB Employer/Union Process Overturned

    October 2011

    The National Labor Relations Board in 2007 established a process by which an employer’s voluntary recognition of a union could be challenged promptly. That decision was recently overturned, making it easier for unions and employers voluntarily to enter into exclusive bargaining relationships that are not subject to quick challenge and without a secret ballot election to determine the employees’ choice.

  • Employment Newsletter

    Delivery driver classification

    August, 2011

    Delivery drivers are often misclassified as independent contractors, which has led to claims for failure to comply with the obligations owed to this class of employees under the FLSA, including tip credit and expense reimbursement. Various lawsuits brought by pizza delivery drivers exemplify the challenges to employers in properly compensating this type of worker.

  • U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against Class Action in Wal-Mart Case

    June 2011

    Employers across the nation breathed a sigh of relief as the U.S. Supreme Court found that the Ninth District Court's certification was not consistent with Rule 23's requirements that a class action must have common "questions of law and fact."

  • Arizona Law Imposes Stiff Sanctions on Employers for Hiring Illegal Workers

    June 2011

    Arizona employers were placed on alert as the U.S. Supreme Court, amid challenges from the business community, upheld an Arizona law that (1) mandates use of the federal E-Verify program and (2) uses language in the Legal Arizona Workers Act of 2007, which relies on an exception in the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, to impose "the business death penalty" on employers who "employ, or recruit or refer for a fee for employment, unauthorized aliens."

  • Employment Newsletter

    Employer's Right to Background Info

    April 2011

    A U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholds background checks on employees working for a NASA contractor – an important decision affecting workers’ constitutional privacy rights.

  • Whether and when "English-only" rules in the workplace are discriminatory

    May 2010

    The population of the United States is becoming increasingly diverse.  Recent surveys reflect that Hispanics currently comprise more than 15 percent of the population – more than 46 million people – making them the country’s largest minority group.  As such, employers should make it a priority to become more knowledgeable about issues pertaining to Hispanic-Americans and other non-native English speakers in the workplace in order to avoid potential legal problems now and in the coming years.
  • Important ruling on New York Workers' Compensation Law for GSITs

    April 2010

    A recent ruling by the New York Supreme Court, Albany County, in Held v. State of New York Workers' Compensation Board regarding Group Self-Insured Workers' Compensation Trusts is a decision that all providers of workers' compensation insurance in New York should pay special attention to.  In particular, the court addresses important issues of liability, constitutionality, and relatedness in connection to Group Self-Insured Trusts.
  • Rollout of updated policies with the new year

    January 2010

    After the frenzy of the holiday season, January is the perfect time to reassess employment policies.  This includes making modifications to comply with changes in the laws and implementing any updates appropriate for the ever-changing needs of the workplace.
  • Caretaker coverage extended under new law

    November 2009

    Recently, President Barack Obama signed into law the National Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, which extends military caregiver leave provisions to veterans.  Under the new law, a worker will be able to take up to 26 weeks of leave from employment to care for a veteran for up to five years after the service member leaves the military.  The leave could be taken by the caregiver if the veteran suffered a qualifying injury or illness in the line of active duty (or had an existing injury or illness aggravated in the line of active duty).  The injury or illness could manifest itself before or after the service member became a veteran.
  • Swine Flu and the Americans with Disabilities Act

    July 2009

    Concern over spread of the H1N1 flu virus ("swine flu") in the workplace does not relieve employers of their obligations under employee protection laws, including the federal Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).  Indeed, as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently noted, swine flu raises a number of potential disability discrimination issues of which employers must be aware.
  • Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act extends filing deadlines for pay-bias complaints:Employers need to review compensation policies to limit liability

    February 2009

    With the recent signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, President Obama effectively overturned a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2007 that severely restricted the amount of time an employee had in which to assert a pay discrimination claim. An employee can now file a complaint of pay discrimination long after learning of any pay discrepancy.

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