Treasuring the Rule of Law – A Lawyer’s Thoughts on the Storming of the Capitol

Benjamin Franklin famously wrote that the only certainties in life are death and taxes. While it requires some temerity to edit Franklin, I would suggest that we can safely add “human conflict” to the list of certainties. By the fourth chapter of Genesis, Cain had killed Abel, and our conduct has not improved since. We…
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Book Review: A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again

A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace Recommended By: Ted Gentry If it is possible to be at once deeply amused and deeply uneasy, then that’s how I felt upon reading David Foster Wallace’s acclaimed essay, A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again.  A Supposedly Fun Thing chronicles and dissects Wallace’s experience…
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Book Review: John Adams

John Adams by David McCullough Recommended By: Henry Parr David McCullough’s  John Adams is so good that I hated to come to the end.  After a slow start, the book gives a compelling account of the wisdom, strengths and weaknesses of the people who formed our nation. This is a must for anyone with any remote interest…
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Wyche at Work: January 2015 Employment Update

Prepared by Ted Gentry January 2015 North Carolina Companies Entangled in Religious Accommodation Claims with the EEOC Claims of religious discrimination with the EEOC seem to be on the rise. Two recent announcements by the EEOC caught the eye of Wyche at Work. Both involved North Carolina companies and their refusal to hire Rastafarians and/or…
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Wyche at Work: October 2014 Employment Update

Prepared by Ted Gentry October 2014 EEOC Update:  More Tricks, Fewer Treats for Employers this Halloween The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) is the federal agency tasked with investigating violations of and enforcing federal discrimination laws. Recent EEOC activity has been particularly “spooky” for employers. The EEOC’s “Scary” Investigation Tactics Wyche at Work has highlighted the benefits…
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Wyche at Work: September 2014 Employment Update

Prepared by Ted Gentry September 2014 Kickball Injury Leads to Workers’ Compensation Award.  Wait, What? Because Wyche at Work enjoys competitive recreational activities and company team-building exercises, including the occasional foray on the co-recreational law league softball fields, a recent decision awarding benefits for an injury incurred a kickball event piqued our attention. In Whigham v.…
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Wyche at Work: August 2014 Employment Update

Prepared by Wyche attorney Ted Gentry August 2014 Handbook Series: Communication System Policies and the Blurred Line between Personal Space and the Workplace In a previous edition of Wyche at Work’s handbook series, we highlighted a difficult question facing many employers today: where does the workplace end and an employee’s personal life begin? This boundary…
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Wyche at Work: July 2014 Employment Update

Prepared by Ted Gentry July 2014 Fourth Circuit Rules in Favor of Employer in Whistleblower Case Whistleblower claims, which protect employees who report potentially illegal conduct by prohibiting retaliatory personnel actions by employers, are generally on the rise. The Fourth Circuit, which covers South Carolina, recently affirmed summary judgment in favor of the defendant employer…
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Wyche at Work: June 2014 Employment Update

Prepared by Ted Gentry June 2014 Employee Handbooks and Manuals Part VI: Exploring the Blurry Line between Business and Personal through the Lens of Social Media Policies Previous entries for Wyche at Work’s ongoing series on employee handbooks have focused on the workplace. We began the handbook series by explaining the benefits a handbook could bring to the workplace.…
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Wyche at Work: May 2014 Employment Update

Prepared by Ted Gentry May 2014 Construction Company Hit With Massive I-9 Penalty Wyche at Work has previously outlined the dangers of hiring undocumented workers and the importance of maintaining proper I-9 files for your company’s employees.  This point was driven home when ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations Office recently upheld a six-figure fine levied on M&D Masonry,…
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Wyche at Work: April 2014 Employment Update

Prepared by Ted Gentry April 2014 Fourth Circuit Reins in the EEOC with Attorneys Fee Award There have been a number of recent decisions penalizing the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for failures or deficiencies in its investigation or pursuit of litigation. Last month, in EEOC v. Propak Logistics, Inc. the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a…
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Wyche at Work: March 2014 Employment Update

Prepared by Ted Gentry March 2014 Employee Handbooks and Manuals Part III: Essential Provisions In Part II of our series on employee handbooks, Wyche at Work discussed a critical aspect of the first page of any handbook: a conspicuous and correctly formatted disclaimer stating that the handbook does not create a contract for employment. This…
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Wyche at Work: February 2014 Employment Update

Prepared by Ted Gentry February 2014 Employee Handbooks and Manuals Part II:  Highlighting the “No-Contract” Disclaimer Wyche at Work continues its 2014 series on employee handbooks by emphasizing what should literally be on the first page:  a conspicuous disclaimer that demonstrably expresses that the handbook is not a “contract of employment”.  While such a requirement…
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Wyche at Work: December 2013 Employment Update

Prepared by Ted Gentry December 2013 Social Media and the Workplace Part III In this month’s edition of Wyche at Work we will end our three-part series on social media in the workplace. In previous editions we have outlined the dangers of accessing employee/applicant-owned media social accounts and delved into the ways the National Labor Relations…
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Wyche at Work: May 2013 Employment Update

Prepared by Wyche attorneys, Ted Gentry and Andy Coburn May 2013 The Emergence of Genetic Discrimination Claims Earlier this year, Wyche at Work focused on the importance of screening job applicants in a way that does not reveal information about a protected characteristic – such as age, nationality, or disability — either directly through interview questions or…
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Wyche at Work: November 2013 Employment Update

Prepared by Ted Gentry November 2013 I Can Be Sued Personally For Wage and Employment Tax Claims? Clients tend to think that the corporate shield automatically insulates officers, managers, and owners from personal liability for corporate debts. It is intuitive that individuals might be responsible for tort claims and/or discrimination claims for which they were “bad…
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Wyche at Work: October 2013 Employment Update

Prepared by Ted Gentry October 2013 National Disability Employment Awareness Month October was National Disability Employment Awareness Month (“NDEAM”), a national campaign to raise awareness of disability employment issues. In his Presidential Proclamation, President Obama paid tribute to disabled employees as “leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators, each with unique talents to contribute and points of view to…
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Wyche at Work: Special Bulletin

Prepared by Ted Gentry October 2013 The Shutdown: How Does It Affect Private Employers? Wyche at Work is actively working (always!), but the news of the moment involves those who are not working – the federal government shutdown. While there are signs of a potential deal in Washington D.C. that might end the shutdown, there…
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Wyche at Work: September 2013 Employment Update

Prepared by Ted Gentry September 2013 IRS and DOL Issue Guidance Regarding Same-Sex Marriage The IRS and the Department of Labor (DOL) have both issued initial regulatory guidance (Revenue Ruling, 2013-17 and Technical Release 2013-04, respectively) regarding interpretation of the terms “marriage” and “spouse” under the Internal Revenue Code and ERISA. This guidance states that for…
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Wyche at Work: July 2013 Employment Update

Prepared by Ted Gentry July 2013 Administration Postpones Deadline for Employer Mandate The health care reform law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, includes the so-called “employer mandate,” which requires employers with more than 50 full-time equivalent employees to provide a certain level of health insurance coverage or pay a financial penalty. As Wyche at Work…
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Wyche at Work: June 2013 Employment Update

Prepared by Ted Gentry  June 2013 The EEOC Sues BMW for Improper Use of Background Checks in Employment Decisions The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is testing the applicability and legality of its new guidelines on how employers should best and legally use background checks in making employment decisions here in South Carolina. The EEOC filed a…
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Wyche at Work: April 2013 Employment Update

Prepared by Ted Gentry April 2013 E-Verify and SC Immigration Update The federal E-Verify program to confirm workers’ authorization to legally work in the United States continues to gain attention from employers and lawmakers alike. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reports that E-Verify enrollment increased by 35% in 2012 and grows by about 1,500 employers each…
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Wyche at Work: March 2013 Employment Update

Prepared by Ted Gentry March 2013 Hiring Highlights We believe it’s a good sign that South Carolina businesses are concerned about hiring issues. Nationally, the average number of claims for new unemployment benefits this month was the lowest level since February 2008. The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce reported that nearly 27,000 more South Carolinians…
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Wyche at Work: February 2013 Employment Update

Prepared by Ted Gentry February 2013 Hiring Highlights As experts cautiously track the economy and job growth trends, your company may find itself in the position of recruiting and interviewing more applicants for job openings.  Interviewing applicants – already a challenging task – takes on even more weight in light of the Equal Employment Opportunity…
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Wyche at Work: January 2013 Employment Update

Prepared by Ted Gentry January 2013 Hiring Highlights In response to the job growth trend in South Carolina at the end of 2012, Wyche at Work launched a series of articles on hiring issues. We have previously discussed E-Verify requirements and the need to question applicants about any existing contractual obligations that might interfere with their…
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Wyche at Work: December Employment Update

Prepared by Ted Gentry December 2012 2012 in Review:  South Carolina Legislative Changes On the employment front, 2012 will most likely be noted in South Carolina for the National Labor Relations Board’s bold initiatives to protect employees’ rights to unionize and record unemployment rates. Against that backdrop, the South Carolina Legislature passed two employment-related laws that…
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Wyche at Work: November Employment Update

Prepared by Ted Gentry November 2012 Holiday Parties We don’t want to dampen your holiday cheer, but there are a few ways employers can reduce the risk of legal problems that can arise during employer-sponsored holiday parties: Avoid customs that are not workplace appropriate (i.e., exchanging risqué gifts). Inappropriate conduct at a holiday party can later…
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Wyche at Work: October Employment Update

Prepared by Ted Gentry October 2012 Voting Leave Laws With Election Day drawing near, you may get some questions from employees about taking off time from work to vote. South Carolina does not mandate “voting leave” for employees, though companies are free to establish policies that permit voting during the workday. Other states (Georgia and Alabama,…
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Wyche at Work: September Employment Update

Prepared by Ted Gentry September 2012 Avoiding Pitfalls in Overtime Calculations An employer’s failure to follow the overtime pay requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) can be costly and result in lawsuits, fines and possibly criminal prosecution. The FLSA requires that a non-exempt employee receive overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40…
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Wyche at Work: August Employment Update

Prepared by Ted Gentry August 2012 Wyche Achieves Major Victory for Employers Before South Carolina Supreme Court In an appeal handled by Wyche litigator Henry Parr, the South Carolina Supreme Court issued a significant decision favoring employers seeking to enforce confidentiality agreements. For example, the Court noted that a lack of time limit in a confidentiality…
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Wyche at Work: July Employment Update

Prepared by Ted Gentry July 2012 There They Go Again:  NLRB Imperialism The National Labor Relations Board has published a new webpage for employees which, according to the accompanying NLRB press release, “describes the rights of employees to act together for their mutual aid and protection, even if they are not in a union.” The NLRB’s…
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Can Your Facebook Account Cost You Your Job?

Interview with Ted Gentry As heard on “The South Carolina Business Review” with Mike Switzer Broadcast Friday, July 13, 2012 Read the transcript below: Those of us with social media accounts are constantly warned not to post embarrassing items. It’s now part of conventional wisdom that indiscreet posts could keep you from getting – or…
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Are Unpaid Interns Legal?

Interview with Ted Gentry As heard on “The South Carolina Business Review” with Mike Switzer Broadcast Thursday, June 28, 2012 Read the transcript below: As summer approaches, industrious students are eager to gain workplace experience and make connections with potential employers, and businesses will always welcome some low-cost help. As a result of these pressures,…
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Wyche at Work: June Employment Update

Prepared by Ted Gentry June 2012 Statistics for Discrimination Charges Now Available Online The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) just posted statistics for private sector workplace discrimination charges. With 1,370 total charges in Fiscal Year 2011, South Carolina accounted for 1.4% of the total workplace discrimination charges nation-wide. Here is a breakdown, by frequency of type…
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Wyche at Work: May Employment Law Update

Prepared by Ted Gentry May 2012 EEOC Issues Enforcement Guidance on Employer Use of Arrest and Conviction Records Following several public meetings, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued an Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII. In light of the EEOC’s recent $3.13 million…
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Wyche at Work: April Employment Law Update

Prepared by Ted Gentry April 2012 NLRB Posting Not Required in SC … For Now We have previously discussed the recent National Labor Relations Board regulation requiring employers to post a notice advising employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act. With an effective date of April 30, 2012, South Carolina employers had been…
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Wyche at Work: March Employment Law Update

Prepared by Ted Gentry March 2012 NLRB Issues Second Report Challenging Social Media Policies The Office of the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board recently issued Memorandum OM 12-31 summarizing the Board’s findings on 14 social media cases. This is the second such report – the first, OM 11-74, was issued August 18,…
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Illegal Music Downloads: When It’s Not Nice to Share

Interview with Ted Gentry As heard on “South Carolina Business Review” with Mike Switzer Broadcast February 19, 2009 As parents, we spend a lot of time teaching our children to share. But if their generosity extends to copyrighted music and other works, sharing can turn out to be a bad – and costly – habit.…
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Retaliation: Don’t Get Mad, Don’t Get Even

Interview with Ted Gentry As heard on “South Carolina Business Review” with Mike Switzer Broadcast April 24, 2008 Many employers are familiar with the traditional disputes that can arise with their employees — in areas like worker’s compensation and anti-discrimination law.  But many don’t know about one of the fastest-growing groups of claims — suites…
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You’ve Been Sued: Now What?

Interview with Ted Gentry As heard on “South Carolina Business Review” with Mike Switzer Broadcast April 11 and 12, 2007 If you run a business, large or small, there’s a good chance that at some point your company will be sued.  And while you may have to live with that lawsuit for months or years…
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