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Employment Law Update Summer 2013
'WAGE & HOUR WORRIES'
SEMINAR OFFERED SEPTEMBER 10 & 17

Please join us for our upcoming employment law seminar 'Wage and Hour Worries'. This is a complimentary one-hour seminar directed at business owners, in-house counsel, and human resources professionals and will include a discussion of:  

 

  • Employee Use of Mobile Devices  
  • Unpaid Interns
  • Common Mistakes to Avoid
  • Class Action Update  

 

This seminar, which includes breakfast, will be offered twice:

September 10 from 8:30-9:30am at the Germantown Municipal Center in the Board of Mayor and Aldermen's Chambers   

and  

September 17 from 8:30-9:30am at the Burch, Porter & Johnson offices located on Court Square downtown.  

 

The seminars are free to attend, but we do ask that you reserve your space by September 3. Please email khathcock@bpjlaw.com and let us know which date/location you prefer.

The seminars have also been submitted to the HR Certification Institute for review.
EXPLODING THE MYTHS ABOUT NON-COMPETE AGREEMENTS

The common wisdom among Tennessee employers is that if they take the time to train employees, introduce them to their customers and entrust them with what they consider to be confidential and proprietary information, these employers have a right to enforce broad non-competition agreements that prevent employees from going to work for any competitor for any reason. The common wisdom among employees in Tennessee is that they do not even need a lawyer to look at their non-compete before they sign it because "everyone knows" they are not enforceable. So who is right? Actually, the truth lies somewhere in the middle of these two views. MORE...
EMPLOYEES KEEPING 'GUNS IN TRUNKS' ON YOUR PROPERTY 
Is Tennessee's New Law an Exception to the Employment-at-Will Doctrine?

On July 1, 2013, Tennessee Code Annotated 39-17-1313, commonly referred to as the "Guns in Trunks" law, took effect across Tennessee. This law allows a valid handgun carry permit holder to transport and store firearms in his or her vehicle in certain public and private parking areas if the vehicle is parked in a permitted location and if the firearms are appropriately stored and secured. The "Guns in Trunks" law, however, leaves intact an employer's ability to prohibit the possession of weapons by employees on its premises by posting appropriate signage. In the employment law realm, the interplay between this new law and the existing at-will employment doctrine has raised the question of whether an employer is now prohibited from firing an employee who is in violation of the employer's posted policy yet properly exercising his or her right under the "Guns in Trunks" law. Because disagreement already exists over how the new law should be applied, until Tennessee's courts begin issuing decisions over the next few years, Tennessee employers should tread carefully. MORE... 

A REMINDER OF YOUR OBLIGATIONS UNDER THE TENNESSEE LAWFUL EMPLOYMENT ACT  
Mere Compliance with Federal I-9 Obligations May Leave You at Risk

The Tennessee Lawful Employment Act ("TLEA") became applicable to all Tennessee employers, both private and public, with six or more employees on January 1st of this year. This law, aimed at curtailing the employment of illegal immigrants in Tennessee, has not been discussed much since the time of its enactment. However, with the recent national focus on immigration reform, now would be a good time for employers to review their employment verification methods to make sure that they are in compliance with both Federal I-9 regulations under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 ("IRCA"), and the additional obligations imposed under the TLEA. Tennessee Employers who are merely complying with Federal I-9 requirements are risking hefty fines and possible suspension of their business license for non-compliance with the TLEA. That is, the TLEA imposes additional employment verification requirements on Tennessee employers beyond what is required by Federal I-9 regulations under IRCA. MORE...
EVALUATING AND DEFENDING AN UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIM
New Changes Good for Employers

One of a human resources manager's least favorite job duties is dealing with claims for unemployment benefits by former employees. For employees whom the company considers itself well rid of, it's like a bad penny that keeps turning up; even when the employee left on reasonably good terms, such as in the event of a layoff, it's a hassle of forms, documentation and the possibility of participation in a live hearing before the administrative law judge ("ALJ"). This article will give you some practical tips about how to process these claims more effectively and discuss recent changes favorable to employers enacted by the Tennessee legislature. MORE... 

HEALTHCARE REFORM UPDATE FOR EMPLOYERS 

The Obama administration recently announced a one-year delay in the enforcement of the employer shared responsibility provisions and related information-reporting requirements under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the "Act"), also referred to as the employer mandate or "pay or play" rules. The administration cited the complexity of the reporting requirements under the Act and the need for more time to implement them effectively as the reason for the delay. On July 9, the IRS published Notice 2013-45 making the delay official. MORE...
A LOOK BACK AT EMPLOYMENT LAW CASES BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT IN 2013 

 

The Supreme Court recently decided Vance v. Ball State University, a case in which the Court resolved a dispute among the federal courts of appeal and determined that a "supervisor" is an individual with the authority to take tangible employment actions, such as hire, discipline, and terminate other employees. The Vance decision is particularly important because a supervisor's harassing conduct can subject the employer to vicarious liability. According to the Court, the decision provides a clear, straightforward standard for judges and juries to follow. In another pro-employer decision, University of Tex. Southwestern Med. Ctr. v. Nassar, the Supreme Court held that an employee alleging retaliation must show that the unlawful retaliation would not have occurred in the absence of the wrongful action of the employer. We provide summaries of the main issues in each of these cases below.  MORE... 

Burch, Porter & Johnson's Labor & Employment Practice

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This newsletter is a publication of Burch, Porter & Johnson, PLLC and materials contained herein should not be construed or relied upon for legal advice.  Readers are urged to consult legal counsel concerning particular situations and specific legal questions. The listing of attorneys or areas of practice does not indicate any certification of expertise.