Articles

The articles, white papers and blog posts in this section include those written by our attorneys and articles for which our attorneys were interviewed. This is for informational purposes only. You should not act upon article content without seeking professional legal counsel regarding your particular situation or issue.

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  • Utah Employment Law Letter
    September 2017

    While sitting in prison in 1642, the English poet Richard Lovelace penned his most famous lines: “Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage.” While Lovelace’s words about the nature and power of the human spirit are stirring and speak to our highest sense of humanity, the more mundane truth is that prisons are made from stone walls and iron bars. Prisons are also prisons thanks to the strict rules, regulations, and policies they operate under. In a recent dispute between the Utah Department of Corrections (UDOC) and one of its correctional officers, the state learned that not only the inmates but also the state itself should follow those strict rules strictly. The dispute involved a correctional facility, but its resolution provides guidance for all public employers.

  • Utah Employment Law Letter
    August 2017

    Have you ever thought about how the word “limit” de­fines our perceptions of and interactions with the world around us? The concept of a “limit” engenders thoughts of a bound­ary, an edge, or an end. When we say something is limited, we are suggesting that it is restricted, constrained, or regulated. Something that is limited is imperfect or incomplete. We speak of pushing things to the limit when we are going to the edge of our abilities, or we declare the “sky’s the limit” to indicate that things are unrestricted.

  • July 2017

    The workings of the human mind have fascinated and per­plexed people for eons. Scientists, artists, politicians, lawyers, and theologians have all grappled, in one way or another, with how the mind works and how its functioning affects society. But perhaps no group of people has systematically studied the human mind, its heights, and its recesses, more rigorously than psychologists. From Freud to Skinner, to Piaget, to Erikson, to Maslow, psychologists have tried to make sense of the mind in­side the brain, often coming to radically different conclusions. The fact that they don’t all agree points to one important fact: Psychologists—those masters of the mind—are human, too, subject to all the foibles and faux pas they try to illuminate. And that means psychologists, like all professionals, may make mistakes and can be difficult employees. Thankfully, as the University of Denver recently learned, the law grants the same protections to organizations that employ university-trained professionals as it does to the owner of the corner market.

  • Utah Employment Law Letter
    July 2017

    Boom! The sky is filled with glimmering light in all colors of the rainbow, and the crowd “Oohs” and “Aahs.” It’s that time of year, when roadside fireworks stands start popping up on every street corner and the sky glows with spectacular balls of colorful light. Fireworks are an integral part of Utah’s July 4 and July 24 celebrations. Although watching and igniting fireworks is enjoyable, it can also be dangerous. Unfortunately, many individuals end up in emergency rooms across the state because of injuries caused by or associated with fireworks dur­ing the month of July.

  • HR Hero
    June 27, 2017
  • Utah Employment Law Letter
    May 2017

    Since the civil rights movement of the 1960s, state and fed­eral laws have been enacted to prohibit employment discrimi­nation against individuals on the basis of their race, ethnicity, age, disability, religion, and gender. Until recently, virtually none of those antidiscrimination laws covered employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender iden­tity. Over the last decade, as issues related to sexual orienta­tion and gender identity have moved to the forefront of social consciousness, several states, including Utah, and certain fed­eral agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), have started to recognize and address employment discrimination in that context.

  • Utah Employment Law Letter
    May 2017

    Although the origin of the phrase “jumping through hoops” is uncertain, it is generally accepted that it probably was a reference to circus animals jumping through hoops to please their trainers. The phrase is often used to refer to steps—usually ones deemed unnecessary—that must be un­dertaken before something can be achieved or attained. Many employment claims have hoops employees must jump through to achieve legal redress. For example, antidiscrimination laws typically require employees to seek redress with a federal or state agency before filing a lawsuit.

  • Utah Employment Law Letter
    March 2017

    Laws related to transgender discrimination are in a state of rapid flux. In the past couple of years, courts’ views on the law, particularly federal ones, have swung back and forth like a pendulum. Indeed, the interpretation of discrimination “be­cause of sex” under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments Act is constantly changing, which leads to confusion for educators and employ­ers. Because of that, discrimination based on gender identity has been the topic of many articles in Utah Employment Law Letter. This article discusses the recent swings of the pendulum and what the swings may mean for employers.

  • Forbes
    February 17, 2017

    Jake Muklewicz, an attorney here at Kirton McConkie, is extensively quoted in a recent Forbes article about the changing environment of hiring foreign workers.

  • Law360
    February 1, 2017
  • Utah Employment Law Letter
    February 2017

    Public employees who have a right to continued employ­ment enjoy constitutional due-process protections that run-of-the-mill at-will employees do not. How can a public employer know if one of its employees enjoys constitutional protection? Well, the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose decisions apply to all Utah employers) recently clarified that looking at an employee’s employment contract is a good place to start.

  • Utah Employment Law Letter
    January 15, 2017

    During the 1990s, Saturday Night Live, a popular TV sketch comedy show, featured a recurring gender-ambiguous character, Pat. The gag in Pat’s comedy sketches often involved others’ failed attempts to determine the seemingly androgynous character’s gender. The skits played off the then-prevailing view that a person’s gender falls into one of two categories: male or female. 

  • Utah Employment Law Letter
    January 2017

    In 2016, employers were confronted with many new laws, regulations, and issues. Companies geared up for a substantial change in the overtime rule, which ultimately didn’t take effect after a federal judge in Texas issued an injunction placing the rule on hold. The Utah Legislature enacted a statute that significantly changed the law applicable to noncompetition agreements. And Utah lawmakers also amended the Utah Antidiscrimination Act to require employers with 15 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations in most instances when employees request them for pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and other related conditions.

  • Utah Employment Law Letter
    December 2016
  • Utah Employment Law Letter
    November 2016
  • Utah Business
    October 25, 2016
  • Utah Employment Law Letter
    October 2016

    Employers cannot interfere with employees’ right to take approved leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Failure to respect FMLA leave rights can open an employer to liability. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t take appropriate disciplinary action against an employee who is on leave. Read on to see how one company threaded that needle when it learned an employee on leave had what appeared to be a long history of hidden misbehavior.

  • Chapter Editor (Attorney’s Fees), Employment Discrimination Law by Lindemann, Grossman, Weirich
  • Utah Employment Law Letter
    September 2016
  • Utah Employment Law Letter
    August 1, 2016

    Kirton McConkie attorney Brinton M. Wilkins discusses the Supreme Court's 2011 ruling overtime exemptions and whether it actually covers service advisers or "salesmen."

  • Utah Employment Law Letter
    July 2016
  • Utah Employment Law Letter
    June 2016

    Kirton McConkie attorney Ryan Frazier discusses the U.S. Department of Labor final rule and what employers must do to ensure compliance.

  • Utah Employment Law Letter
    May 2016

    Kirton McConkie attorney Ryan Frazier discusses the hot topic in the classification of Uber and Lyft drivers.

  • Utah Employment Law Letter
    April 2016

    Kirton McConkie employment lawyer Ryan Frazier talks about new Utah law and how employers need to be aware of this revision of the law and consider how it may affect the use of noncompetition covenants in the future.

  • Utah Employment Law Letter
    March 2016

    Kirton McConkie employment lawyer Ryan Frazier talks emplyoment contracts. Read on to find out when a promise of continued employment may be more than a promise—and when it may be a contract.