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  • Legal Issues

  • Appeals Court Vacates Ruling in Unpaid Internship Case
    On July 2, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit vacated a lower court decision that Fox Searchlight Pictures had improperly classified former workers as unpaid interns rather than employees, calling the U.S. Department of Labor’s standards out of date and “too rigid for our precedent to withstand.”
    Diversity Recruiting: How Does Fisher Impact Affirmative Action in Employment?
    In June 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the affirmative action admissions plan at the University of Texas. Attorney Ed Easterly looks at what Fisher v. University of Texas means for affirmative action.
    FERPA Primer: The Basics and Beyond
    FERPA was enacted to protect the privacy of students and their parents. It is designed to ensure that students and their parents can access the student’s education records and challenge the content or release of such records to third parties. This article summarizes the key points of FERPA, notes the 2008 and 2011 changes to the act, and highlights how career services practitioners can ensure their institutions and offices are in compliance.
    Legal Issues: Background Checks
    Employers use background checks to determine if an individual is suitable for a position within the organization. Recently, however, employers have been running into significant roadblocks in the use and application of background checks, and some are now being challenged in the courts for conducting background checks on potential applicants.
    Legal Issues: Diversity Recruiting
    Equal employment opportunity and nondiscrimination are an important part of the recruiting and hiring process. Career services practitioners and university relations and recruiting professionals should be aware of recent legislative changes to established laws.
    Legal Issues: Internships
    Recent court decisions and lawsuits make it prudent for employers and career services alike to understand the legal issues surrounding internships.
    Legal Issues: Interviewing and Hiring International Students
    Employers need to know how to determine if an international student will require visa sponsorship—and career services professionals also should be aware of this process so that they can effectively advise these students.
    Legal Issues: Job Postings
    Before posting job descriptions and opportunities, career services staff should be aware that there could be legal problems lurking in some of the job requirements. To avoid those problems, all postings should be reviewed thoroughly.
    Legal Issues: Marijuana in the Workplace
    The legalization of recreational and/or medical marijuana in many states raises a series of issues for employers and employees alike. How are drug testing policies affected? Must employers accommodate use of marijuana for medical purposes? What does legalization mean for federal contractors?
    Legal Issues: References
    The key for reference providers is to know what information should and can be disclosed, and what legal ramifications arise as a result of improper disclosures.
    Legal Issues: The Affordable Care Act: What Employers, New Hires, and Interns Need to Know
    The Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, will have a significant impact on individuals entering the work force as well as employers. The ACA is a set of health insurance reforms intended to make healthcare more accessible to Americans.
    Legal Issues: Understanding Copyright Laws And the Impact of the Digital Age
    What materials on the Internet are copyrighted and can you repost them? This article discusses copyright online and issues surrounding it.
    Legal Q&A: Are employers required to interview international students?
    Employers are not required to interview an international student who has an F-1 or J-1 visa, even if the student is otherwise qualified for the job. Although employers can refuse to interview or hire international students who do not already have some form of permanent work authorization, most cannot stipulate that U.S. citizenship is a job requirement.
    Legal Q&A: Can a career center prescreen candidates for an employer? Can faculty prescreen for an employer?
    Can a career center prescreen candidates for an employer? Can a faculty member prescreen candidates for an employer? If the career center or faculty prescreen candidates they are acting as an employment agency, and the relevant laws that apply to an agency would apply to the center or faculty member.
    Legal Q&A: Can a student or new graduate volunteer to work unpaid for an employer to gain experience?
    Although some recommend a student or new graduate volunteer to work unpaid to gain experience, it is illegal for-profit organizations to have “volunteers” perform work.
    Legislative Issues: Higher Education Act (HEA) Reauthorization
    The Higher Education Act (HEOA) requires every institution of higher education in the United States that receives federal funding to disclose information on, among other things, college costs, graduation data and other consumer information, emergency procedures, and fire safety reports.
    OFCCP’s Revised Functional Affirmative Action Program Directive Goes Into Effect
    The OFCCP has made revisions to its Functional Affirmative Action Program directive. The updated directive received approval from the Office of Management and Budget, and went into effect in late April 2016.
    Relationships Between Workers and Hiring Organizations
    In today’s marketplace, college students may be offered a wide variety of employment opportunities. The following information should help career services professionals advise their students on the nature of these opportunities.
    U.S. Supreme Court Upholds University of Texas Admissions Plan
    In a 4-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the affirmative action admissions plan at University of Texas. The case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, revolved around race in the admissions process. The University of Texas system provides for race to be considered as one factor in admissions.
    How to Write a Reference Letter
    This article provides guidelines for those writing reference letters, including questions to consider and legal and liability issues.
    Legal Issues: The STEM OPT Rule Impact
    Two immigration attorneys review how the new STEM OPT rule impacts international students and employers.
    USCIS Makes Notable Changes to H-1B Visa Rules
    The USCIS issued a new rule in November that impacts the H-1B visa program. Included in the new rule are two notable changes.
    OFCCP Reduces Veteran Hiring Benchmark
    For the third time since 2014, the OFCCP has reduced the annual Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act hiring benchmark.
    Legal Issues: Preemployment Testing
    Legal issues and questions around preemployment testing range from when a test is appropriate to how to conduct a test to how an employer can and should use the results.
    Restrictive Covenants: Noncompete, Nonsolicitation, Nondisclosure Agreements
    Employers may require new hires and interns to sign restrictive covenants, such as noncompete, nonsolicitation, and/or nondisclosure agreements. Attorneys George Hlavac and Ed Easterly discuss the issues.
    Social Media and Noncompete, Nonsolicitation Agreements
    The significantly increased use of social media has changed the way employers and courts have handled noncompete and nonsolicitation agreements.
    Harassment in the Workplace: What Employers, Employees, and Interns Need to Know
    What constitutes harassment? How are employers required to respond? What should employees do if they believe they are being harassed? Are unpaid interns protected?
    Harassment in the Workplace: The Intern Conundrum
    Employees are protected against harassment in the workplace. But what happens if the person subjected to harassment is an unpaid intern, not an “employee”?
    Interns and Harassment
    Interns should be are aware of the law and understand what remedies are available should they believe they are being subjected to harassment in the workplace during their internship.
    Maintaining and Handling Protected Data

    This article discusses maintaining and handling protected data, including how to an internal or third-party breach.

    Preemployment Personality Tests

    Employers use personality tests to screen out unsuitable candidates and screen in ones with potential. Employers need to understand the legal pitfalls; job seekers need to understand their legal rights.

    Handling a Data Breach by a Third-Party Vendor

    When a data breach comes from a third-party vendor, both the vendor and the party that provided the initial information may be subject to potential liability.

    OFCCP Offers Section 503 Focused Review Guidance
    The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) recently made further guidance about its Section 503 focused reviews available.
    Diversity in Higher Education: The Impact of the Harvard Bias Suit
    Affirmative action programs in educational institutions once again have come to the forefront, this time with Harvard University being accused of discrimination. The issues in such a case are complex, but the decision may have a ripple effect for other educational institutions and the policies they have adopted.
    Unpaid Internships for International Students: Risky Business
    Unpaid internships can put international students at risk of violating their immigration status.
    Judge Upholds Harvard's Admissions Process
    A Massachusetts U.S. District Court judge has ruled that Harvard University’s admissions process does not discriminate against Asian-American applicants.
    Avoiding the Potential Pitfalls of the Hiring Process
    Attorneys George Hlavac and Edward Easterly discuss potential pitfalls in the application and interview for applicants and employers.
    Coronavirus-related Legal Questions
    Attorney Edward Easterly addresses some of the key legal questions that have arisen in regard to the coronavirus pandemic for career services, employers, and new college graduates and interns.
    Marijuana in the Recruiting and Hiring Process
    Given the complexity and variety of laws, it is not surprising that employers, applicants, and career services professionals alike are confused about what is and isn’t legal in the case of marijuana—medical and recreational. This article addresses marijuana use as it pertains to some of the most pressing questions surrounding recruiting and hiring.