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“Fair dismissal for not wearing face-mask” headlines hide full story (UK)

It’s not natural for our freedoms and permissions to be limited in the way they have been since last March, so whatever one’s own views, it is hardly surprising that some have found those restrictions hard to swallow and have railed against COVID-19 related rules, state imposed or otherwise. The requirement to wear masks in … Continue Reading

Sleepovers and the NMW, Part II – clarity at long last for the UK care sector

It was what seems an eternity ago in July 2018 that the Court of Appeal handed down its judgment in the combined cases of Royal Mencap v Thompson Blake and John Shannon v Jakishan and Prithee Rampersad (t/a Clifton House Residential Home). A link to our blog post at that time is here.  Readers will … Continue Reading

EAT looks through Sash Window for better view on worker holiday pay claims (UK)

King –v- Sash Window Workshop Company was a particularly difficult European Court of Justice case for businesses in the gig economy.  It suggested that where a worker was not provided with an adequate facility to take the paid leave to which he was entitled by that status under the Working Time Regulations (in particular, because … Continue Reading

Recent Ninth Circuit Equal Pay Act Decision A Reminder To Examine and Eliminate Gender-Based Pay Disparity (US)

On Monday, March 15, 2021, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, in part, a district court’s order denying a federal Equal Pay Act (“EPA”) claim filed by a former University of Oregon tenured psychology professor who claimed she was paid significantly less than her male colleagues. The decision serves as a reminder to employers … Continue Reading

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing for future Tribunal hearings survey (UK)

Look, it’s certainly not for me to criticise efforts being made by HM’s Courts and Tribunals Service to explore and improve how justice is best delivered during the pandemic and beyond. So the recent arrival in my inbox of a survey on the point being conducted by an independent external organisation IFF on behalf of … Continue Reading

EAT refuses to swallow stale discrimination training – keeping up the statutory defence (UK)

As a rule, an employer will be liable for the discriminatory acts of its employees towards each other unless it has taken all reasonable steps to prevent them doing that sort of thing (section 109(4) Equality Act, often known as the “statutory defence”). Allay (UK) Limited –v- Gehlen is one of really not very many … Continue Reading

Watching the detectives – employee rights to monitor employer misconduct (UK)

Today’s word is “Avizandum”, which the internet tells me is the name of the King of the Dragons, mate of Zubeia and father Azymondias, respected by all the elves as the most powerful creature in the whole of Xadia. Clearly. Whether the elves would have taken the same view if aware that the King of the … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Issues Timely Reminder Regarding the Importance of Employers Maintaining Accurate Wage Records (US)

A recent decision from a federal appeals court highlights the perils for employers associated with lax recordkeeping of employee work hours and wage information. It is well-established that every employer covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) is required to keep certain records for each covered non-exempt worker (i.e., those that are paid on an hourly … Continue Reading

Federal Court Decision On WARN Act And COVID-19 Could Signal Problems For Larger Employers (US)

UPDATE: On January 21, 2021, the defendants filed a motion with the district court for permission to take an interlocutory appeal to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on the following question: “What causal standard is required to establish that a plant closing or mass layoff is “due to any form of natural disaster” under … Continue Reading

Representative’s reprimand for clear misconduct unlawful, says EAT (UK)

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has recently handed down a judgment which serves as a useful reminder for employers of the risks of taking disciplinary action against union representatives for behaviour which may look like misconduct but which actually constitutes union activity. By way of background, section 146(1)(b) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) … Continue Reading

Dynamex is Retroactive Says the California Supreme Court  – The Independent Contractor Law Now Looks Back and Forward (US)

The range of employers who may be liable for the misclassification of workers just got bigger. On January 14, 2021, the California Supreme Court decided that the decision in  Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court (2018) 4 Cal.5th 903 (Dynamex) applies retroactively to all non-final cases that predate the April 2018 Dynamex decision. Dynamex … Continue Reading

US Immigration Update: Must Be the Season of the Witch

It’s been a frenetic October and we’re still in the first week. Here is a quick summary of significant developments in U.S. Immigration just within the past few days. Federal District Court Issues Preliminary Injunction Halting Implementation of Nonimmigrant Visa Ban On October 1, 2020 Judge Jeffrey S. White of the District Court for the … Continue Reading

Procedure-free dismissal found fair – don’t try this at home (UK)

“Loss of trust and confidence” is often pleaded as a basis for a fair dismissal, but rarely successfully.  Employment Tribunals are astute to employers using it as a short cut to address performance or conduct issues without going through a proper procedure.  After all, a dismissal without a fair procedure is going to be unfair … Continue Reading

Federal Appeals Court Allows Title VII “Sex-Plus-Age” Claims (US)

The Tenth Circuit – covering Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming – just became the first federal appellate court to explicitly rule that employees can bring “sex-plus-age” claims against employers under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964—a claim alleging discrimination on the basis of gender against individuals over the age … Continue Reading

NLRB Provides Much-Needed Reality Check, Lowers Barrier To Employers’ Ability To Discipline And Discharge Employees Who Engage In Arguably Protected, But Plainly Disruptive, Workplace Conduct (US)

An employee confronts you – a small business owner – and calls you a “f***ng mother f***cker,” a “f***ing crook,” an “a**hole,” and “stupid,” tells you that none of your employees like you and everyone talks about you behind your back, and warns you that you’ll regret firing him, if you do. Or you’re a … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Ruling Limits Insurer and Employer Contraceptive Obligations (US)

Earlier this month the Supreme Court of the United States upheld a regulation adopted under the Trump administration significantly cutting back the requirement that insurers and group health plans provide coverage for contraceptives without cost sharing under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).… Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Reverses Ohio Federal Court: Genetic Mutation Affecting Normal Cell Growth May Qualify as a Disability under the ADA (US)

In a previous blog, we discussed Darby v. Childvine, a decision from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio in which the court considered whether an otherwise healthy person with a genetic mutation meets the definition of disabled under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).  As a reminder, the ADA … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Adopts Broad Interpretation of the “Ministerial Exception,” Protecting Religious Schools Against Employment Discrimination Claims (US)

The religious education and formation of students is the very reason for the existence of most private religious schools, and therefore the selection and supervision of the teachers upon whom the schools rely to do this work lie at the core of their mission. Judicial review of the way in which religious schools discharge those … Continue Reading

Landmark U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Prohibits Sexual Orientation And Gender Identity-Based Discrimination In Employment (US)

“Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender. The answer is clear. An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable … Continue Reading

BREAKING: US Supreme Court – Title VII Prohibits Discrimination In Employment Based On Sexual Orientation And Gender Identity

Resolving a question that previously had vexed lower courts and resulted in inconsistent rulings across the country, on Monday, June 15, 2020, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the prohibition against sex-based discrimination in employment set forth in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 includes claims of sexual orientation and gender … Continue Reading

The Customer May Not Always Be Right When It Comes To Sexual Harassment (US)

We all know that employers have a legal obligation under federal law, as well as under various state and local laws, to provide their employees with a safe work environment free from sexual harassment, and that under certain circumstances, an employer can be held legally responsible for harassment directed at its employees. However, do companies … Continue Reading
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