Archives: Recent Cases

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Federal Court Clarifies When Employers Must Pay Employees For Pre- or Post-Shift Activities

A federal court recently provided guidance on an issue that still vexes some employers, i.e., when they must pay employees for time spent on tasks immediately before or after a shift. Many employers require employees to take certain steps immediately before or after they start their actual shifts. For example, an employer might require an … Continue Reading

“One-Size-Fits-All” Return-To-Work Policies Cause An Extra Large Problem For Major US Airline

On November 3, 2017, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) filed a lawsuit against a major United States airline, alleging the company maintained policies that violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), and inked a $9.8 million settlement deal with the company the same day. The EEOC alleged that the company maintained a “100% return … Continue Reading

Department of Labor Takes Surprise Appeal From Texas Decision Overturning Overtime Rule

The Department of Labor (DOL) is appealing a Texas judge’s decision to toss out an Obama-era rule that would have extended overtime pay to some 4 million Americans. As we reported previously, the Secretary of Labor under former President Obama announced a rule raising the salary basis threshold for overtime exemption from $455/week to $913/week, … Continue Reading

Winds Of Change Blowing At The NLRB? One Recent ALJ Decision Provides A Glimmer Of Hope

Many employers find the current environment created by the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) not only confusing, but often quite hostile, particularly its treatment over the past few years of employer work rules governing employee behavior in the workplace.  The Board has taken any increasingly narrow posture, most notably in the past three … Continue Reading

The Hits Keep Coming: Third Travel Ban Partially Blocked by Two Court Rulings

For the third time in 2017, US District Courts have thwarted the Trump administration’s attempt to implement a travel ban. On October 17, 2017, the US District Court for the District of Hawaii issued a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) blocking most of the restrictions President Trump laid out in his newest September 24, 2017 travel … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Refuses to Give Progressive a (Rest) Break on Compensable Flex Time Policy

On October 13, 2017, the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled in a precedential decision that employers are obligated by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to pay their employees for breaks of 20 minutes or less, even if they are logged off their computers and free from any work-related duties. The … Continue Reading

Looking into disciplinary investigations – EAT’s lessons on when enough is enough

It is a basic plank of a fair disciplinary dismissal that it be preceded by a reasonable investigation.  But what is that, exactly?  How much detail must you include in your enquiry, how many witnesses must you grill, how far back do you have to go, how far must you challenge or test the evidence … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Weighs Validity of Employer Class Action Waivers; Justices’ Questions Suggest A Close Decision Ahead

Yesterday marked the first day of the United States Supreme Court’s new term, and the first case heard (Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis) was one of interest to employers around the country.  In several cases consolidated before the Court on appeal, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) found employer arbitration agreements that included waivers of … Continue Reading

US Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to Public-Sector Union Fees

On September 28, 2017, the US Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge to the so-called “fair share” fees public employee unions collect from non-members. The justices agreed to hear a case brought by non-union government employees in Illinois that targets fees that their state and many others compel such workers to pay to unions … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Refuses to Defer to DOL’s Interpretative Guidance on FLSA Tip Credit Regulation

The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) provides that employers ordinarily must pay their non-exempt employees at least the federal minimum hourly wage of $7.25.  However, employers may pay “tipped employees” as little as $2.13 per hour if they regularly earn more than $30 per month in tips, and then make up the difference between the … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Explains: The ADA Is Not A “Medical Leave” Statute

On September 20, 2017, the Seventh Circuit in Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc. held that a long-term leave of absence is not a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).  As we all know, the ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against “qualified individuals” with disabilities, defining such individuals as applicants or employees who, with … Continue Reading

US Immigration Update: Executive Order Travel Ban, DACA and What Employers Need to Know

Executive Order Travel Ban Update In recent days, the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) has once again weighed in and issued a preliminary ruling regarding the Executive Order Travel Ban (EO) challenge in Trump v. Hawaii. For background, please see our prior blog posts detailing the travel ban EO’s history and SCOTUS’ decision of June 26th. … Continue Reading

Recently-Released NLRB Advice Memo Favors Reversal of Precedent on Weingarten Rights For Non-Union Workers

On September 7, 2017, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) released several advice memoranda issued previously by the Board’s Office of the General Counsel to local field offices.  Advice memos are used by the Board’s General Counsel to guide local offices on Board policy, and may serve to instruct the offices on a … Continue Reading

Texas Federal Judge Invalidates Obama-Era Overtime Regulations

In 2016, the Department of Labor issued long-awaited amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) regulations that would have raised the minimum salary for employees exempt under the so-called “white collar” exemptions from $455/week ($23,660 annually) to $913/week ($47,476 annually) (the “Final Rule”). The Final Rule also would have required an upward adjustment to … Continue Reading

Take time to understand Court Orders; do time for ignoring them

“The system will not work if people think they can ignore court orders and destroy evidence. Those who so can expect terms of imprisonment.”   Mr Dadi was an employee of OCS, an aviation cleaning contractor working at Heathrow for (amongst others) British Airways. OCS lost the British Airways contract to a competing firm Omni Serv … Continue Reading

DC Circuit Says Nurses Not Improperly Denied Weingarten Rights During Peer Review Investigation Interview

One of the long-standing rights under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) is for union-represented employees to be accompanied by a union representative at workplace investigatory interviews that the employee reasonably believes may result in disciplinary action.  These rights are referred to as “Weingarten” rights after the case, NLRB v. Weingarten, Inc., in which the … Continue Reading

Class Action Waivers: Two More Fifth Circuit Opinions Favor Waivers Over NLRB Challenges

In early August, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued two decisions regarding class and collective action waivers.  Like its earlier decisions in D.R. Horton, Inc. and Murphy Oil USA, Inc., both decisions supported employers’ use of waivers to eliminate group lawsuits against them in employment cases.  The two new cases, … Continue Reading

Restrictive covenants clauses: consistency is the key

Restrictive covenants in employment contracts are a bit like lifejackets: it’s nice to have them there and you hope that they will fit you in an emergency but you would really prefer not to have to use them. That said, if the time comes and your employees are approached by a competitor in breach of … Continue Reading

Mission Impossible? – Hospital’s obligations to cure dying relationship

Akinwunmi – v – Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust is the perfect example of when employment law reaches the limits of its usefulness in HR practice. For a fuller description of the facts, see Chris Lynn’s blog http://www.employmentlawworldview.com/when-20-months-unauthorised-absence-is-still-an-unfair-dismissal/. For our purposes, however, Dr Akinwunmi fell out with five of his neurosurgeon colleagues over … Continue Reading

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

UK Employment Appeal Tribunal confirms that statutory holiday pay should include voluntary overtime

One of the last remaining pieces in the jigsaw of what constitutes “normal pay” for the purpose of calculating statutory holiday pay was slotted into place by the Employment Appeal Tribunal on Monday when it confirmed that such calculations should include voluntary overtime. Willetts and Others v. Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council is a claim for … Continue Reading

Sow the wind, reap the hurricane for UK Government in Tribunal fee fiasco

There was a great deal of entirely unfair schadenfreude directed at the Government last month over its abject failure to justify the Employment Tribunal fees regime in front of the Supreme Court. After all, apart from the report of its own Justice Committee, the views of everyone else from both sides of industry and all … Continue Reading
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