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December 2014 Archives

Can Forcing an Employee to Use Technology Violate Their Religious Freedom?

In 2012, Consolidation Coal Company installed an attendance tracking system for payroll purposes at a mine in West Virginia. The system was a biometric hand scanner that creates and stores electronic information about an individual's hand geometry for purposes of future identification. Mr. Butcher, an evangelical Christian, who had worked at the mine for thirty-five (35) years, stated that his religious beliefs prohibited him from submitting to the scanning and requested a religious accommodation. Mr. Butcher gave his manager a letter explaining his beliefs about the relationship between hand scanning technology and the Mark of the Beast. As discussed in the Book of Revelation, the Bible describes, "a beast that has authority on earth during end times and forces all people, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads." (Rev. 13:16-17). Some Christians believe that technology will be used to implement the mark. Mr. Butcher proposed that the mine allow him to continue submitting his time and attendance manually as he had previously done, or that he be permitted to clock in and out with his supervisor.

Three common legal mistakes business owners make

If you are a small business owner, you probably have your hands full just keeping your company going on a day-to-day basis. Chances are that don’t have time to worry about intellectual property law, tax law, employment law or the other legal issues that may affect your company.

Are Forum Selection Clauses Enforceable?

Our office has received a number of calls from employees of Colorado companies who are currently working overseas. Their employment, and litigating legal issues arising in their employment, raises interesting questions of venue, jurisdiction, and conflict of law. For example, an employee may live in New Jersey and work in Afghanistan for a company based in Colorado. These cases present a conflict of laws question because it is unclear which state, or even which countries', laws should apply to the employment dispute. Similarly, some employment agreements contain a forum selection clause that requires the employee to bring a lawsuit in a different state or even a different country than where the individual resides.

Are Public Employees Who Are Accused of Sexual Harassment Entitled to a Hearing?

In 2011, Denver's newly elected Mayor, Michael Hancock, asked Mr. McDonald to work for the City of Denver. Mayor Hancock orally promised Mr. McDonald employment for the duration of his term or terms of office. Mr. McDonald accepted and began working for the City on July 18, 2011, as Executive Advisor to the Mayor, Special Projects Manager. On March 8, 2012, Mr. McDonald was reassigned to work in the Department of Excise and Licenses as Executive Advisor to the Mayor, Manager of External Affairs. Ms. Wise was employed by the City of Denver as a police officer. Shortly after Mayor Hancock was elected, Ms. Wise began to serve on his security detail. Mr. McDonald interacted with Ms. Wise when he traveled with Mayor Hancock around Denver. Between September 2011 and March 2012, Ms. Wise telephoned Mr. McDonald on his personal cell phone at least forty-one (41) times, before and after work hours and occasionally recorded their calls. The pair exchanged Christmas gifts, attended church together, and Ms. Wise met Mr. McDonald's family. The last time they spoke was on March 14, 2012. On May 18, 2012, Mr. McDonald was informed that Ms. Wise had filed sexual harassment charges against him. On May 21, 2012, Mr. McDonald was informed that he could either resign or be fired due to Ms. Wise's allegations. Mr. McDonald requested an investigation and opportunity to defend himself against the accusations. Mr. McDonald's request was denied; he was not provided a hearing and the City fired him on the spot.

Supreme Court weighs pregnancy discrimination claim

Pregnancy discrimination has been a pressing issue within employment law over the past few years. Essentially, pregnancy discrimination refers to a female applicant or employee who is treated adversely because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition caused by either pregnancy or childbirth.