Acas spreading the word on religious discussion in the workplace (UK)

On 15 May we posted a piece on a case about the importance of context on workplace discussions which might otherwise sail close to being discriminatory. As if by magic, Acas has now issued some new Guidance which includes comment on the same point: “Religion or Belief Discrimination – Key points for the Workplace”.

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United States Supreme Court Issues “Epic” Decision for Employers

For the past six years, employers have challenged the National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB”) position that the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) prohibits employers from requiring employees to forego class and collective action and instead individually litigate their employment-related claims.  (Our prior coverage on this issue has been extensive – see here.)  After a long battle, the United States Supreme Court resolved the question in a highly anticipated decision on May 21, holding that employers can require employees to bring claims in arbitration, and to do so only on an individual basis, without violating employees’ NLRA-protected right to engage in concerted activity for their mutual aid or protection.  Continue Reading

6th Circuit Shores Up Deference to Plan Administrator Interpretation in ERISA Retiree Benefits Suit (US)

On May 10, 2018, the 6th Circuit vacated the District Court for the Western District of Kentucky’s 2013 decision in “Clemons v. Norton Healthcare Inc. Retirement Plan”, No. 16-5124 (6th Cir. 2018). The District Court had granted summary judgment in favor of a class of former Norton Healthcare workers who chose to retire early and said their lump-sum retirement distributions were miscalculated.  In 1991, Norton had merged predecessor retirement plans into one Plan governed by ERISA. As of 1997, the Plan included a traditional defined-benefit formula applicable to members of the predecessor plans, and a cash-balance formula applicable to all other plans. In 2004, the Plan was amended to end accruals under the defined-benefit formulas and allow further accruals only under the cash-balance benefit formula. The retirees brought the class action in 2008, alleging the company was shortchanging them under the terms of the plan. The court certified the class in 2011 and eventually granted the Retirees summary judgment. Continue Reading

Webinar: National Minimum Wage Rises – Why You Should Pay Heed

WebinarThe National Minimum Wage rates have increased, bringing new risks for employers.

Employers may now find themselves breaching the regulations for something as simple as asking employees to provide an item of uniform, and the penalties for non-compliance can be severe.

On 25 June 2018, National Minimum Wage lawyers James Pike and Laura McLellan will be hosting this webinar to share their thoughts on the new National Minimum Wage rates. They will discuss the penalties for non-compliance and highlight how to prepare for a HMRC audit should this occur.

To learn more or to register for this webinar please visit our website.

 

The importance of context in determining unlawful harassment (UK)

Ostensibly the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s decision in Bakkali –v- Greater Manchester Buses last week is a faintly technical one about how the required connection with a personal characteristic protected under the Equality Act differs between direct discrimination and harassment.

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Global Edge launches new Nigeria resource

The Squires international employment law portal continues its growth with the release last week of its Nigeria section.

No more desperate internet searches, no more conflicting information or worrying about whether you are getting the whole picture – Global Edge offers you the opportunity to research specific questions or to compare and contrast Nigerian labour costs, laws and good practice with your other international operations as you prefer, all in less than a minute.

With grateful thanks to our colleagues at Perchstone & Graeys in Lagos, you can now keep abreast of the latest developments in Nigerian employment law and practice as updated quarterly by P&G, including the growing application of international conventions without their formal incorporation into domestic statute, new Nigerian practice on the expiry of probationary periods and the extent of an employer’s obligation to provide a valid reason for dismissal.

There are some omissions. Global Edge will not tell you, for example, that according to a UN report last year, Nigeria is Africa’s sixth happiest country. You will also find nothing about the Ancient Walls of Benin, which the New Scientist says were “perhaps the largest single archaeological phenomenon on the planet”. Apparently four times longer than the Great Wall of China and using a hundred times more stone than the Pyramids, they were still completed more quickly than the roadworks on the M1.

Global Edge now covers detailed commentary on up to 30 separate employment-related topics in 35 countries around the world, with more to come. A Global Edge subscription will give you not just the current state of play in your chosen countries, but also a horizon-scanning insight into proposed and imminent HR developments which may affect your business there.

To have a chat about Global Edge or for a free demo, please contact us on global.edge@squirepb.com.

NLRB Announces New Approach for Addressing Joint-Employer Test, Alleged Conflicts of Interest (US)

On May 9, 2018, the National Labor Relations Board announced an interesting development regarding two key ongoing issues, i.e., the Board’s joint-employer standard and the alleged conflicts of interest of Member William Emanuel. This announcement also sheds light on how the Board may change other areas of federal labor law in the future. Continue Reading

First Circuit Nixes ADA Suit Finding that Disabled Employee Was Not A “Qualified Individual” (US)

Not pulling any punches, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit recently issued a decision finding against a disabled former Burger King franchise employee, explaining that although its admittedly harsh decision was a “lesson straight out of the school of hard knocks,” “[n]o matter how sympathetic a plaintiff or how harrowing his plights, the law is the law and sometimes it’s just not on his side.”

Caribbean Restaurants, LLC operates Burger King restaurants throughout Puerto Rico.  In 2011, one of its assistant managers, Victor Sepulveda-Vargas, was attacked at gunpoint while making a bank deposit for Caribbean, hit over the head, and his car stolen.  Not surprisingly, this terrifying ordeal left Sepulveda with post-traumatic stress disorder and major depression.  When he was ready to return to work, Sepulveda asked Caribbean to accommodate his disability by allowing him to work a set schedule, rather than the standard manager schedule that rotates during the week through all three work shifts.  At first, Caribbean agreed to Sepulveda’s request because it believed the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) required it.  But Caribbean later reconsidered and informed Sepulveda that it could not continue to have him work on a set schedule, explaining that working a rotating schedule was an essential function of the assistant manager position.  Sepulveda then sued, alleging that Caribbean failed to reasonably accommodate his disability in violation of the ADA.  Continue Reading

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