Management Update
Volume 4, Issue 6
June 2015
Revised Louisiana Posting Shows EIC 
Louisiana has revised the mandatory Earned Income Credit posting to show the 2015 earned income and adjusted gross income levels required to receive Earned Income Tax Credits. Posters must be kept up to date with required postings. You can purchase Louisiana and Federal Labor Law posters here.
To Pay or Not To Pay 
As interns have begun to transition from coffee-gophers to actual contributors in the daily workings of a company or organization, the need to determine whether an intern should be paid or unpaid has grown. The Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division's Fact Sheet 71 identifies six factors that must be met for an employer to lawfully have unpaid interns. The biggest distinction between an educational opportunity for the intern and an entry-level employee is the benefit the employer receives. If the intern is not providing any beneficial contributions to the employer, then there is no payment required. Along with providing fair payment to interns whose responsibilities reflect that of an entry-level employee, several states like Maryland have moved to include interns in state workplace anti-discrimination protections for unpaid interns. 
The Impact of an Invisible Disability 
Employers are more concerned than ever about employees who fail to disclose or receive treatment for mental health issues, many of which often go undetected in the workplace. One of the most notable examples of this is the Germanwings plane crash caused by a co-pilot with a history of depression. Due to the strict anti-discrimination laws on the state and Federal level, however, employers are finding it difficult to determine if an employee has mental health issues if it is not disclosed or an outwardly obvious disability. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers can only make medical inquiries about their employees if it directly correlates with their job and is consistent with business necessity. If an employer believes an employee poses a direct threat to others in the workplace or themselves, they can require the individual to be examined by a healthcare professional but only insofar as to determine if they are capable of continuing their job effectively. Alternatively, if the occupation directly pertains to public safety, e.g. firefighters, police officers, and medical professionals, the employer can require periodic medical exams. If an employee does disclose a mental health impairment, the employer has to reasonably accommodate the employee unless it poses an undue hardship to the employer. 
Inspirational Posters/First Amendments Retaliation
Two police officers in Oregon filed a lawsuit against the Cornelius, Oregon police department claiming they were retaliated against after complaining of misconduct and corruption. The officers claimed that their First Amendment rights were interfered with when the police chief began putting up posters he claimed were "inspirational" in the men's restrooms. One of the posters said: "Question: are you holding us back or Leading the charge to greatness?" 
The Federal district court of Oregon said the posters could reasonably be considered an "adverse employment action." The officers claimed that the posters were criticisms for complaining about the department. The court ruled in favor of the officers because the hanging of the posters was sanctioned by the police department, and the public placement of the posters had a greater chance of communicating the displeasure management felt with the officers complaints and could deter future complaints that are considered protected conduct. This broad interpretation of "adverse employment action" is another example of the expansion of discrimination laws in favor of employees over the last decade. 
Trend Trouble

The term "digital native" was coined in a 2001 essay and is defined as "someone born during or after the start of the digital world." Recently, employers have been using the term in job listings as a way to subtly weed out older applicants. The trend has replaced the outdated "new grad" terminology that was phased out after the EEOC warned that it could be in violation of the Age Discrimination Employment Act of 1996. The EEOC has yet to make a decision on whether or not "digital native" is discriminatory because there have been no complaints filed. Employers are left open to claims of age discrimination with the use of language like "digital native," "new grad," and similar terms.
Management Update Briefings

Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson, L.L.P. presents Management Update Briefings, a labor and employment law seminar at convenient locations across the state of Louisiana.


Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson, L.L.P. Labor & Employment Attorneys 


  Rachael M. Coe

 Leo C. Hamilton



This electronic newsletter is provided to clients and friends of Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson, L.L.P. The information described is general in nature, and may not apply to your specific situation. Legal advice should be sought before taking action based on the information discussed. Applicable State Bar or Attorney Regulations May Require This Be Labeled as "Advertising."