Archives

Fifth Circuit Reins In NLRB After It Declares Basic Workplace Civility Policies Illegal

As we have reported to you in the past, workplace conduct policies have become a hotbed of trouble due to the NLRB’s recent focus on their potential for chilling union activity. In one such recent action, the NLRB attacked several employee handbook policies of employer T-Mobile USA, Inc./MetroPCS Communications, Inc. (MetroPCS is an affiliate of … Continue Reading

Senate Confirms Trump NLRB Nominee Marvin Kaplan; Delays Confirmation of William Emanuel

On June 19, we predicted that the Trump administration was expected to formally announce attorneys Marvin Kaplan and William Emanuel as candidates to fill the two vacant slots on the National Labor Relations Board. As predicted, President Trump did, in fact, nominate Messrs. Kaplan and Emanuel to the Board earlier this summer. The nominations went … Continue Reading

Two US Federal Agencies disagree as to whether Title VII as a matter of law, reaches sexual orientation discrimination

This past May, 2017, The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit granted en banc (meaning all the judges on the Second Circuit will hear the case instead of a three-judge panel) a review in Zarda v. Altitude Express, the case of a New York skydiving instructor who was fired from his job because … Continue Reading

USCIS Releases Update Of Form I-9: What Employers Need To Know

On July 17, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced the release of a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. This is the second version of the “smart” I-9 initially released in November 2016. (For details regarding the “smart” functions please see our previous blog post). Employers can use the revised … Continue Reading

Are Employers Going to be Required to Accommodate Medical Marijuana Use?

State-registered medical cannabis patients may now sue a private employer for discrimination under Massachusetts’ law if they are fired for their off-the-job marijuana use, according to landmark ruling issued July 17, 2017, by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Citing the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Act, the court states that patients shall not be denied “any right … Continue Reading

National Labor Relations Board Moves A Step Further Away From Its Current Pro-Union Composition

On July 13, the National Labor Relations Board took another step to shift away from the staunchly pro-union agency that has existed over the last eight years. This occurred when the Senate labor committee considered the nominations of Marvin Kaplan and William Emanuel, whom the Trump Administration had put forward for the two vacant Board … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Marshalls out More Plaintiffs’ PAGA Rights

On July 13, the California Supreme Court issued its long awaited decision in Williams v. Superior Court. The Court greatly expanded a plaintiff’s discovery rights in the early stages of litigation. For context, Marshalls of CA, LLC, a retailer with approximately 130 stores and more than 16,000 nonexempt employees, was sued by Williams under PAGA. … Continue Reading

Federal Court Holds a Full Trial on Issue of Website Accessibility to Visually Impaired Users

A U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida has held that Title III of the ADA, applicable to “Public Accommodations” applies to the Winn-Dixie Companies’ website, finding that the company has an obligation to make their website accessible by individuals with disabilities who use computers, laptops, tablets and smart phones. The policy must … Continue Reading

Federal Court Overturns NLRB, Says Jimmy John’s Employees’ Disloyal Conduct Not Protected 

In a closely-watched case, on July 3, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit refused to enforce a National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) decision in which the Board found MikLin Enterprises, Inc. (“MikLin”), owner of 10 Jimmy John’s franchises in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area, violated the National Labor Relations Act … Continue Reading

Hearing Set Before Senate Committee on NLRB Nominations

Updating our June 19 post, as expected, President Trump nominated Marvin Kaplan and William Emanuel to fill the two currently-vacant seats on the National Labor Relations Board.  A hearing on their nominations is now scheduled for July 13 before the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee.  If recommended by the HELP committee, the nominees … Continue Reading

US Department of Labor Resumes Issuing Opinion Letters To Assist Employers Navigate Federal Wage & Hour and Leave Laws

Newly appointed Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announced on June 27 that the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) would resume issuing opinion letters in response to employers and employees who submit inquiries seeking fact-specific interpretations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).  Opinion letters are official, interpretative … Continue Reading

Intentional Segregation By Race Is Not Enough to Trigger Title VII Liability, Says Seventh Circuit

In EEOC v. AutoZone, Inc., the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (which covers Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin) ruled that AutoZone did not violate the anti-segregation provision of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), when it transferred Kevin Stuckey, an African American employee, from a store with … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals: Public Employers with Less Than 20 Employees Are Covered By The ADEA

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”) prohibits covered employers from discriminating against employees and applicants who are age 40 or older.  All private employers are subject to the ADEA unless they have less than 20 employees.  States, and their agencies, instrumentalities and political subdivisions, also fall under the ADEA.  However, courts have split on … Continue Reading

NLRB’s Ruling on Workplace Recording Policy Survives Appellate Court Review

Like many employers, Whole Foods maintained a policy that prohibited employees from making audio or video recordings at work.  The purpose of the policy, as explained by Whole Foods, was not to stifle employees, but rather to promote open communications by allowing employees to speak freely without concern of being secretly recorded.  In 2015, the … Continue Reading

Summertime Blues for the President’s Travel Ban Executive Order?

As we enter the dog days of Summer, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a nationwide preliminary injunction issued by the US District Court for the District of Maryland enjoining the implementation of  President Trump’s second Executive Order, travel ban restricting nationals of six Muslim-majority countries from being issued visas and entering the United … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Joins Two Sister Circuits In Holding That Class Action Waivers In Employment Arbitration Agreements Violate National Labor Relations Act

Court joins Seventh and Ninth Circuits in holding that employer’s requiring employees to waive class and collective action procedures as a condition of employment is unenforceable, but issue will be resolved late this year by United States Supreme Court The issue of whether an employer can require, as a condition of employment, that an employee … Continue Reading

Managing Political Speech In The Workplace

In the current political environment, employers and employees alike may be wondering – what, if any, political conversation in the workplace is acceptable or appropriate?  Tones of “freedom of speech,” “freedom of association,” on one hand, intersect with tenors of “workplace harassment” or simple annoyance, on the other.  Although like the political debates themselves, the … Continue Reading

NLRB Rules That Barring A Former Hotel Employee Who Sued Her Employer From The Premises Is An Unfair Labor Practice

On May 16, 2017, a two-member majority (Members McFerran and Pearce) of the National Labor Relations Board held that it was an unfair labor practice for the Grand Sierra Resort &Casino (GSR) to bar a former employee from its premises after she filed a class and collective action lawsuit against the employer.… Continue Reading

Industrial Commission of Arizona Issues Long-Awaited Proposed Rulemaking Regarding Arizona’s Paid Sick Leave Statute

We previously reported that all Arizona employers will be required to make paid sick leave available to their employees beginning on July 1, 2017. The law requires that businesses with 14 or fewer employees provide at least 24 hours of leave annually, and businesses with 15 or more employees provide at least 40 hours of … Continue Reading

What Was Your Prior Salary? No Longer a Question You Can Ask When Hiring in New York City.

Last month, the New York City Council approved legislation that bars employers from asking prospective hires to disclose their past salary. In passing the measure, New York City joins Massachusetts (see our post here), Puerto Rico and the city of Philadelphia in banning the question from job interviews and on applications. (Also see our post here … Continue Reading

Pay History: An Improper Factor for Employers To Consider In Starting Salaries? Not Necessarily, According To the Ninth Circuit

As we previously reported to you, pay history has recently become a topic of much discussion among federal, state and municipal legislatures. Many jurisdictions around the country are considering laws that would quell employer inquiries into candidate pay history. The underlying purpose of these laws is to level out the historical pay gap between men … Continue Reading

House passes bill to allow private employers to offer paid time off in lieu of overtime time pay

On May 2, 2017, the House passed H.R. 1180, The Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017, which would allow private employers to offer paid time off, also known as “comp time,” instead of time-and-a-half wages for overtime hours. Congress had previously amended the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1985 to allow public-sector employees to be … Continue Reading

One Racial Slur May Be Sufficient To Create a Hostile Work Environment, Says Second Circuit

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held last week that a single racial slur might provide sufficient basis for a hostile work environment claim.  In the case, Daniel v. T&M Protection Resources, LLC,  Plaintiff Daniel, a black, gay man from the Caribbean, alleged he was harassed at work on the basis … Continue Reading
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