Labor & Employment Law Update - Feb. 2009



 The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act Signed into Law by President Obama

By Chris M. Heffelbower and Jay Reding*


On January 29, 2009, President Obama signed his first bill into law: The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.  The law broadens the scope of potential damages for employers who engage in discrimination based upon wages, benefits or other compensation.  The Act overturns a controversial 2007 Supreme Court decision, Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber, 550 U.S. 618 (2007). 

New and Pending Regulations on Hold for Further Review by the New Administration 

By Chris M. Heffelbower 


Taking quick action that was widely expected, President Obama directed that federal agencies and executive departments place a temporary hold on new or pending regulations initiated by the Bush Administration. 

U.S. Supreme Court Broadens Protections for Employees Under Title VII in the Crawford Decision.
By Sejal K. Desai Winkelman


On January 26, 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Crawford v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, No. 06-1595, the last in a series of retaliation cases considered by the Court during its 2008 term.  By unanimous opinion, the Court further solidified its refusal to narrowly construe anti-retaliation provisions, holding instead that an employee who answers a question about another employee’s improper conduct during an internal sexual harassment investigation is engaging in “protected activity” under the retaliation clause of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  As a result of this ruling, employers likely will face more retaliation claims.

An Overview of The Employee Free Choice Act
By Bruce J. Douglas and Steven M. Cerny*

The change in political composition in Washington D.C. after the recent election will certainly result in alterations within different areas of law.  Labor and employment law is one such area that could face a significant change if the Employee Free Choice Act (“EFCA”) is passed by the new Congress and signed by the President.

What Your Company Needs to Know about Former Employees’ Right to Access to Personnel Files and Right to “Service Letters”

By Chris M. Heffelbower and Britta L. Orr*


Minnesota employees have specific rights with respect to personnel files and service letters when they are discharged.  It may be time for your Company to review its procedures to ensure that a request by a former employee for access to personnel files or a request for a “service letter” are properly handled.

How to Prepare When Faced with Laying Off Employees

By Chris M. Heffelbower


It is never an easy decision to layoff employees.  However, careful planning, good judgment, and awareness of the legal implications can ease some of stress for those employees being laid-off and for those remaining employed. 

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About our Practice:


The Larkin Hoffman employment law team identifies and resolves workplace issues in this rapidly evolving and highly regulated area.  Our attorneys provide counsel and advice to employers.  We represent employers in state and federal courts and administrative agencies including the EEOC, MHRA, NLRB, OSHA and DOL.

Contact our Labor & Employment Attorneys:  


Dayle Nolan                   

Email 952.896.3275           


Email 952.896.3312


Bruce J Douglas

Email 952.896.1569


Email 952.896.3288


Chris M Heffelbower

Email 952.896.1543


Sejal Desai Winkelman

Email 952.896.3325


Carrie L Zochert

Email 952.896.3353


Julia H Halbach

Email 952.896.3264


Peter A.T. Carlson

Email 952.896.3239 

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This alert is provided as a service to our clients and firm associates.  While the information provided in this publication is believed to be accurate, it is general in nature and should not be construed as legal advice.