Top Stories

Appellate Court Rules that Age Bias Disparate Impact Theory Pertains to Employees, Not Applicants

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on January 23, 2019, that assertions of age discrimination arising from facially neutral hiring policies can be brought only by a company’s employees, not by job applicants. In Kleber v. CareFusion Corporation, the court agreed with recent rulings by other courts – most recently the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Villareal v. R.J. Tobacco Co. – holding that under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), only employees can state a claim that a company’s actions or policies resulted in an unlawful “disparate impact” due to age. More >

Minnesota Skiers and Snowboarders Now Liable for Injuries on the Slopes; Are Other Sports Next?

On January 23, the Minnesota Supreme Court issued a decision that impacts the assumption of risk for skiers and snowboarders within recreational areas. Since the early 19th century, Minnesota has recognized a doctrine about who is responsible for protecting against harm associated with activities that have well-known risks. The “doctrine of implied primary assumption” of risk states that when a person enters into an activity that has well-known risks that are either expressed or implied, the individual assumes the risks associated with the activity. However, the Minnesota Supreme Court decision in Soderberg v. Anderson held that collisions with other skiers or snowboarders is not a risk of the sport that participants impliedly assume. More >

“Freedom to Compete Act” Aims to Wipe Out Most Non-Compete Agreements

In reaction to the recent proliferation of non-compete agreements, courts and legislatures are increasingly trying to find ways to limit their use. The latest attempt is at the federal congressional level. This week, Florida Senator Marco Rubio introduced the “Freedom to Compete Act” aimed at prohibiting non-compete agreements for lower wage workers. The Act would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to ban non-competes for most non-exempt workers. More >

Employers Should Immediately Review Recruitment Ad Practices Due to Facebook Class Litigation

A little over a year ago, three major employers—T-Mobile, Amazon, and Cox Communications—were sued for allegedly discriminating on the basis of age in the way they recruited new employees via Facebook. The plaintiffs’ lawyers targeted not only these three employers but also asserted claims against a “defendant class” of every employer that used age restrictions in their recruiting advertisements on Facebook. They also sent demand letters to scores of employers and filed charges of discrimination against yet more. Though the lawsuit and charge investigations are ongoing, the plaintiffs’ lawyers are now sending a new wave of demands to more employers and filing more charges of discrimination with the EEOC and state enforcement agencies. Employers who have not yet been targeted should take steps now to prepare. More >

Avoid Getting SLAPPed on Your Next Non-Compete Case

Your employee quits without notice or explanation. You discover that she moved to a competitor in violation of her non-compete agreement, and what’s worse, days before her resignation, she downloaded your trade secrets onto a thumb drive. You file suit and request an immediate injunction from the court. The last thing you expect is a counter-suit and motion to dismiss claiming you have interfered with the employee’s free speech rights. But that aggressive defense to restrictive covenant and trade secret litigation is becoming far more prevalent. Employers should be prepared for this defense when considering how to enforce their rights against former employees. More >

Nilan Johnson Lewis Announces New President and Attorney Promotions

Nilan Johnson Lewis is pleased to announce Heidi Christianson as the law firm’s next president, effective January 1, 2019. Christianson succeeds Stephen Warch, who will remain as a Board member, shareholder and co-chair of the firm’s health care group. At Nilan Johnson Lewis, Christianson previously served as the chair of the corporate and transactional services practice group and has an extensive background in health care law and nonprofit governance. More >

Michigan Passes Paid Sick Leave Requirements

On December 5, 2018, Michigan lawmakers presented a bill to the governor's desk to roll back paid sick leave requirements that were set to go into effect next year. Although opponents challenge the move as unconstitutional, Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to sign the scaled-back bill into law. If he does, the new law will take effect 90 days after lawmakers adjourn the 2018 session, sometime in March 2019. More >