Archives: Employment Policies

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More Handbook Guidance: NLRB Shows When It Will Uphold Policies Regarding Confidentiality, Cell Phones, and Email Usage

Since the National Labor Relations Board issued the precedent-changing Boeing Company decision in late 2017, the Board has continuously illustrated when employment policies will survive scrutiny under the National Labor Relations Act.  Recently, in Argos USA LLC, the Board clarified its position about three common types of employment agreements or policies, i.e., those concerning confidentiality, … Continue Reading

Pandemic or Pandemonium? Employers Brace for the Coronavirus (US)

You can’t escape the panic spreading through mass and social media regarding the 2020 Wuhan Novel Coronavirus, a virus that has resulted in fatalities in China and infected thousands worldwide. Symptoms mimic that of influenza (fever, cough), but can include difficulty breathing, pneumonia, kidney failure, and death in severe cases. Despite the panic, there are … Continue Reading

NLRB Releases Multiple Advice Memoranda Covering a Range of Hot Button Topics (US)

Memos provide guidance on a variety of topics, including employer confidentiality policies and arbitration agreements As you may recall from our previous blog posts, National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) advice memoranda are issued by the agency’s Division of Advice, which is part of the NLRB’s Office of the General Counsel (the “General Counsel”).  … Continue Reading

Can an Employer Implement a Nicotine-Free Hiring Policy?— It Depends on State Law (US)

Nicotine products are highly addictive and have been linked to a variety of serious health issues, including lung cancer and other respiratory illnesses.  In addition to the numerous health risks associated with nicotine use, there is also a causal connection between employee nicotine use and lower productivity in the workplace, as well as higher healthcare … Continue Reading

NLRB’s LA Specialty Produce Decision Provides More Clarity on Employee Handbook Rule Standards (US)

On October 10, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB” or “Board”) decision in LA Specialty Produce Company provided some employer-friendly clarification of its standard for assessing the lawfulness of employee handbook provisions under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”), and in doing so, categorized two specific types of policies as generally lawful.  In this … Continue Reading

Implicit Bias and Disparate Impact Claims: A Primer for Employers (US)

Employers are generally familiar with the complex web of federal and state statutes that prohibit workplace discrimination on grounds including sex, race, color, national origin, religion, genetic information, age, and disability and they are, by and large, vigilant to prohibit explicit forms of discrimination on these protected bases. But rare is the case where direct … Continue Reading

California Passes Slew Of Worker-Friendly Laws, Most Notably Banning Mandatory Arbitration of Employment Claims

California Governor Gavin Newsom just signed a new batch of worker-friendly laws sponsored by Democrats in the California Assembly and Senate.  These laws cover a range of topics from arbitration agreements to workplace safety. AB 51 will garner particular attention because not only does it substantially prohibit arbitration agreements, it criminalizes them.  The new law … Continue Reading

A Divided U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on Trio of LGBT Employment Discrimination Cases (US)

On October 8, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in three employment discrimination cases involving what protection, if any, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – which prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of, among other things, sex – affords against sexual orientation and gender identity-based discrimination.  As we previously discussed … Continue Reading

State Law Round-Up: Wage Theft Laws (MN, NJ) and Restrictions on Non-Compete Agreements (ME, MD, NH, OR, RI, WA) (US)

Wage Theft Laws In response to Minnesota’s wage theft law, which we previously reported about here, the city of Minneapolis has passed its own wage theft law, Ordinance No. 2019-031, which will go into effect on January 1, 2020. The law applies to any employee that works for an employer for at least 80 hours … Continue Reading

Summer Vacation Is Definitely Over At The NLRB (US)

Between August 29 and September 10, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) issued four decisions that resolve important issues that have been the subject of long-running disputes.  It also issued an invitation to submit briefs in a case that provides an opportunity for the current Board majority members to revise the standard for … Continue Reading

California Passes Sweeping New Law Limiting Employer Use Of Independent Contractors (US)

AB 5, and its “ABC test,” expected to have greatest impact in “gig economy” jobs, but impact certain to be even more widely felt After a summer of lobbying and debating, the California Assembly adopted AB 5, a headline-grabbing law purporting to transform the status of gig-economy workers at companies like Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash.  … Continue Reading

Illinois Enacts New Law In Response To #MeToo Movement (US)

On August 9, 2019, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed into law the Illinois Workplace Transparency Act (“WTA”), imposing new requirements and modifying existing laws in ways that will impact nearly all Illinois employers – and may be a signal of things to come in other US states.  The WTA aims to address concerns raised through … Continue Reading

NLRB Issues First Decision Addressing Mandatory Arbitration Agreements Since Epic Systems (US)

If you’ve been following our blog, you already know that the topic of employer-mandated arbitration agreements has been a hot issue in recent years for government agencies and in the state and federal courts.  Most notably, in May of last year, the United States Supreme Court issued its highly-anticipated decision in Epic Systems v. Lewis, … Continue Reading

New Jersey Expands Medical Marijuana Protections: Employees Hit Big (US)

New Jersey joins the growing list of states to offer employment protections for authorized users of medical marijuana. On July 2, 2019, New Jersey’s governor signed into law the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act (“CUMCA”), providing job protections to medical marijuana users and creating new drug testing procedures for marijuana. The new law … Continue Reading

Obesity Continues to Divide Courts: Washington’s High Court Says Obesity Qualifies as an Impairment (US)

As we previously discussed here and here, courts are split regarding the extent to which obesity qualifies as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). The Second, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Circuit Courts of Appeal have held that obesity must be accompanied by an underlying physiological disorder for it to constitute a disability, … Continue Reading

California Passes CROWN Act, Becomes First State to Ban Natural Hairstyle Discrimination (US)

On April 30, 2019, we reported that the California State Senate had taken steps toward enacting the CROWN Act (Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair) to prohibit discrimination on the basis of “traits historically associated with one’s race, such as hair texture and protective hairstyles.” The bill passed the Assembly on June … Continue Reading

Illinois Legalizes Recreational Marijuana – Cutting Through The Haze To Understand The Workplace Implications (US)

On June 25, 2019, Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker signed HB 1438, the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act (“CRTA”), which, as of January 1, 2020, legalizes recreational use and possession of marijuana by adults aged 21 or older.  Illinois is now the eleventh US state to adopt a general law authorizing adult recreational use of … Continue Reading

National Labor Relations Board Limits Another Union Tactic (US)

On June 14, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) issued another favorable decision for employers who might find themselves facing union organizing activities or other types of union solicitation.  This latest decision will make it significantly more difficult for unions to solicit employees, strategize with supporters, or engage in similar activities on an employer’s … Continue Reading

Growing Trend Towards Unlimited Paid Time Off: Best Practices (US)

Unlimited paid time off (“PTO”) is one of the new “it” workplace policies.  Adopted as both a means to attract and retain employees as well as to avoid having to coordinating and track specific grants of paid PTO or vacation– a task which can be arduous, particularly for smaller businesses – some employers have done … Continue Reading

State Law Round-Up: Paid Leave Proliferation (CT, ME, MA, NV, DC) and Minimum Wage Update! (US)

July 1 Minimum Wage Increases A number of jurisdictions will see a minimum wage increase effective July 1, 2019; please find our updated minimum wage chart here.  In addition to those listed, Nevada just (on June 12, 2019) passed a law to raise the minimum wage to $12/hour by 2024.… Continue Reading

State Law Round-Up: Developments in Wage and Hour (CO, MA, ME, WA), Non-Compete (WA), Commuter Benefits (NJ), Sexual Harassment (DE), and Sick Leave (Dallas and Minneapolis) Laws. (US)

It’s been an active few weeks since our last State Law Round-Up in mid-April 2019, with a number of bills being signed into new laws and case developments impacting employers in many US states over the past few weeks. Colorado Failure to Pay Wages as Theft Effective January 1, 2020, an employer’s failure to pay … Continue Reading

NLRB General Counsel Advice Memorandum Is “Uber” Favorable For Gig Economy Companies Utilizing Independent Contractors (US)

In a recently-released Advice Memorandum dated April 16, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB”) Office of the General Counsel (“GC”) determined that drivers utilizing Uber Technologies’ smartphone application-based rideshare platform are independent contractors, not employees, under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”).  In arriving at this conclusion, the GC utilized the independent contractor test … Continue Reading

New York City and New Mexico Protect Employees Who Are Medical Marijuana Users (US)

New York City New York City has enacted a first-of-its kind law (Intro. No. 1445-A) prohibiting pre-employment drug testing for the presence of marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinols. The law makes it an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer, labor organization, employment agency, or agent thereof to require a prospective employee “to submit to testing for the … Continue Reading
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