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Egan v. Delaware River Port Authority, No. 16-1471, and Carvalho-Grevious v. Delaware State Univ., No. 15-3521 (3d Cir. Mar. 21, 2017)

The Third Circuit on Tuesday took up the issue of causation, and the amount of proof a plaintiff must present, under two federal anti-retaliation laws. In Egan, the panel holds that employees may pursue FMLA retaliation claims under a mixed-motive theory, as supported by a Department of Labor regulation. In Carvalho-Grevious, the court announces a lowered bar for establishing Title VII retaliation at the prima facie stage.

General Counsel as Whistleblowers: Lessons from the Bio-Rad Case

Last month, a federal jury in San Francisco awarded $8 million to a former general counsel for life sciences company Bio-Rad who was terminated after raising concerns about possible Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations by his employer. The verdict sent shockwaves through the legal community as it redefines the boundaries of general counsel privilege, and may spur others to act as whistleblowers themselves.

Caldwell v. KHOU-TV, No. 16-20408 (5th Cir. Mar. 6, 2017)

One way that an employee can circumstantially prove discrimination is by showing that the employer offered shifting and inconsistent rationales for its adverse action. The Fifth Circuit returns this ADA and FMLA retaliation case back for a jury to decide on just that rationale.

Can You Be Fired for Political Social Media Posts?

Political discussions seem to be happening everywhere today. And, more often than not, they can get quite heated. From tense family dinner tables to disagreements with complete strangers, people are voicing their opinions - loudly.

Nowhere is this more evident than on social media. Dip even slightly into Twitter and Facebook and you'll face a torrent of political memes, opinions, and arguments. It often degenerates into shouting matches between "trolls" on both sides of the deepening divide.

Even people who do not usually "get political" seem to be drawn in, sharing posts and piling on with their opinions. Thanks to social media, we seem to be opening up and freely discussing topics, such as politics, in the public space where we might not have done so even in the recent past.

This includes the workplace, and that raises the question of whether or not an employee can be fired for political posts on social media.

LA's New "Ban the Box" Ordinance is the Nation's Strongest

Last month, Los Angeles joined a growing group of U.S. cities taking steps to end hiring discrimination based on a job applicant's criminal history. The "Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring" ordinance took effect on January 22 and is arguably the strongest and most progressive so-called "Ban the Box" law in the country.

Approximately one-third of all American adults have some type of criminal record. According to data provided in 2016 by the Obama Administration, 12 million people each year are released from state and federal prisons as well as local jails. Most emerge with the immediate goal of finding employment - an effort that is often stymied by employers who insist on criminal record checks as a threshold means of weeding out otherwise qualified applicants. Since African Americans and Latin Americans are already incarcerated at disproportionately high rates, this has a devastating impact on populations that already face widespread employment discrimination based on race.

Coutard v. Municipal Credit Union, No. 15-1113 (2d Cir. Feb. 9, 2017)

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides that eligible employees may be entitled to leave to care for relatives with whom they had an in loco parentis relationship as a child. The Second Circuit holds that where the plaintiff requested leave to care for a sick grandparent, who raised him has a child, the employer had a duty to inquire further about the relationship before denying leave.

A Puzder-Led Labor Department Would Make Life Much Harder for U.S. Workers

President Trump's pick for Labor Secretary, Hardee's and Carl's Jr. CEO, Andrew Puzder, has come under attack by workers and their advocates since his nomination was first announced in December. Rightly so. Puzder's approach to doing business and his previous statements regarding key workplace issues paint a very worrisome picture regarding how workers will fare under his watch. Just ask the workers at his own company, who, in a report issued this week, describe a pattern of workplace violations, including being required to work sick and without pay, resulting from business decisions that appear to give low priority to workers' health and well-being.

Mayes v. WinCo Holdings, No. 14-35396 (9th Cir. Feb. 3, 2017)

This takes the cake: an employee on the night shift at an Idaho supermarket is accused of (and fired for) taking a cake from the bakery's "stales cart" without permission to serve to co-workers. The Ninth Circuit thinks that a jury could find management's story unpalatable, though, and remands it for a trial.

Flag on the Play: Injured Professional Athletes Fighting for Compensation

Professional athletes are often likened to warriors and lionized for pushing their bodies to the breaking point, ignoring pain, and remaining stoic. Most accept that some injuries - sprains, pulled muscles, etc. - are part of the job. More and more, however, professional athletes are drawing a line when it comes to preventable injuries that can be attributed to the often willful negligence of the teams and leagues that employ them.

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