Although most attorneys realize the law is a noble profession, there have always been those who compromise its integrity – sometimes capitalizing on or misleading others in times of misfortune. Legal ethics rules provide some guidance on how lawyers practice or market their services. However, new forms of communication and social media present evolving ethical challenges.
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.
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 than a year since it began, companies both large and small continue to feel the impact of the #MeToo movement. Beyond auditing policies and sexual harassment training, the conversation has expanded to include pay equity.
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.
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.
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.
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.
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (December 10, 2018) – Nilan Johnson Lewis and the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota (ACLU-MN) are proud to announce the award of “Minnesota Lawyer Attorneys of the Year 2018” to attorneys Jen Cornell and Allyson Petersen from …
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.
After one year in office, the general counsel at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is creating a buzz in the legal community. General Counsel Peter Robb has expressed strong recommendations to give employees access to collect more damages after an arbitration or settlement – a departure from the otherwise employer-friendly and red-tape cutting expectations of the Trump administration.
On November 14, 2018, in a unanimous vote, the St. Paul City Council adopted a $15 minimum wage ordinance which will take effect on July 1, 2020. Similar to ordinances passed across the country and across the river in Minneapolis, the ordinance will have a huge impact on employers in St. Paul, as well as those who regularly send employees into the city to work.
The award is given to those who have “demonstrated courage, excellence, and integrity in furthering the Association's mission of representing the interests of black citizens in the legal profession and judicial system.” Don will be recognized for his career-long work on highly visible and controversial investigations—including his appointment as special prosecutor on the Jeronimo Yanez/Philando Castile case (Castile was fatally shot by police officer Yanez during a traffic stop in 2016).
In the wake of #MeToo, two new laws in California seek to prevent further workplace sexual harassment by changing how employers structure arbitration and settlement agreements, among others. Signed into law on September 30, 2018, by Governor Jerry Brown, Senate Bill No. 820 makes it unlawful for settlement agreements to include confidentiality provisions that impede a person’s right to pursue civil damages against employers and harassers.
Minneapolis-based national law firm Nilan Johnson Lewis is pleased to announce the addition of Nicole Dailo as an associate attorney in its labor and employment practice group. Nicole will be advising and defending employers with an emphasis on California employment law issues.
ALFA International hosted a complimentary webinar on September 14 titled "Legal Hot Topics," where member firms' attorneys presented on hot new areas in their respective practices. NJL's product liability attorney Scott Rusert presented on industry custom evidence.
Nilan Johnson Lewis is proud to announce that Don Lewis has been recognized by Twin Cities Business as a “2018 Outstanding Director” honoree for his work on the Board of Directors of HealthPartners. Lewis will be honored for his dedication and exceptional work in the course of his board service at an award ceremony on the evening of October 10, 2018.
On September 6, 2018, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an employee who consents to a background check cannot pursue a claim in federal court based on a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act’s (FCRA) disclosure and authorization requirement.