Practice/Industry Group Overview
Ogletree Deakins’ employment lawyers are experienced in all aspects of employment law, from day-to-day advices to complex employment litigation. Our litigation practice includes deep experience with myriad laws governing the workplace, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the Equal Pay Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the WARN Act and many other federal and state laws. Our workplace dispute litigation experience includes matters involving protection of trade secrets and confidential business information, and restrictive covenants not to compete.
Articles Authored by Lawyers at this office:
New Jersey Appellate Court Rules Arbitration Agreement in Employee Handbook Unenforceable
Robin Koshy,Steven J. Luckner,Evan J. Shenkman, January 18, 2016
In C.M. v. Maiden Re Insurance Services, LLC, No. L-3622-13 (App. Div. Sept. 18, 2015), the New Jersey Appellate Division held that an employee was not compelled to arbitrate her employment discrimination claims, notwithstanding her confirmed receipt of a handbook containing an arbitration...
Pay Transparency Rule to Go Into Effect on Same Day as OFCCP’s Webinar
Hera S. Arsen,Leigh M. Nason, January 18, 2016
On Monday, January 11, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ (OFCCP) final rule on pay transparency, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating against employees and applicants “who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their own compensation or the compensation...
New Brunswick New Jersey’s Paid Sick & Safe Leave Law Goes Into Effect
Robin Koshy,Steven J. Luckner,Evan J. Shenkman, January 15, 2016
On December 17, 2015, the City of New Brunswick passed its own paid sick leave ordinance, making it the eleventh municipality in the State of New Jersey to require paid sick leave. The ordinance becomes effective on January 6, 2016, but employees must wait until May 5, 2016 (or 120 days after they...
A New Year’s Resolution for California Employers: Fair Pay Act Compliance
Hera S. Arsen,Christopher W. Olmsted, January 11, 2016
California employers are preparing for the effects the Fair Pay Act—the new law signed by Governor Brown last October that significantly changes California’s gender equality pay law. Senate Bill 358 (SB 358), which went into effect on January 1, 2016, requires employers to pay employees...
How Federal Preemption Affects Local and State Labor Peace Agreements
David F. Loeffler, January 11, 2016
Unions have been largely unsuccessful in their efforts to organize employees and negotiate first contracts within the system created by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Only about 7 percent of the private-sector labor force is unionized. Consequently, unions have adopted new organizing...
DHS Issues Proposed Rule for Changes to Employment of High-Skilled Foreign Workers
Jacob D. Cherry, January 08, 2016
On December 30, 2015, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) concerning employment-based visa programs for high-skilled workers. The notice is published in the December 31, 2015 Federal Register and is subject to a 60-day comment period ending...
New Jersey Annual Notice Reminders With Deadlines Fast Approaching
Mark Diana,Steven J. Luckner,Jocelyn A. Merced,Evan J. Shenkman, January 07, 2016
New Jersey employers should be aware of two impending annual notice requirements. First, employers must distribute to each employee working in New Jersey a written copy of the Gender Equity Notice on or before December 31 each year and must obtain a signed acknowledgement from each employee in...
Philadelphia Goes Beyond Ban the Box
Jacqueline R. Barrett,Julie Donahue,Emily K. O'Brian, January 07, 2016
On December 15, 2015, Mayor Michael Nutter signed a bill amending Philadelphia’s “ban the box” law, formally titled the Fair Criminal Records Screening Standards Ordinance, which was enacted in 2011. With these amendments, Philadelphia’s ordinance joins New York City’s...
Revised “Persuader” Reporting Requirements Are Back
Harold P. Coxson, January 07, 2016
Don't look now, but the U.S. Department of Labor’s latest Fall 2015 Semiannual Regulatory Agenda advances the controversial proposed revisions to the "persuader activity" reporting requirements under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA). Final regulatory...
Elizabeth Becomes the Tenth New Jersey City to Require Paid Sick Leave
Mark Diana,Steven J. Luckner,Jocelyn A. Merced,Evan J. Shenkman, January 04, 2016
On November 3, 2015, voters in the City of Elizabeth approved a paid sick leave ordinance, making it the tenth municipality in the State of New Jersey to require paid sick leave. The ordinance, which goes into effect on March 2, 2016 (120 days after voter approval) is nearly identical to sick leave...
Mexico Increases the Minimum Wage Effective January 1, 2016
Pietro Straulino-Rodriguez, January 04, 2016
On December 11, 2015, the Council of Representatives of the National Minimum Wage Commission, pursuant to a vote to determine the minimum wage held every year, unanimously decided to increase the daily minimum wage by 4.2 percent in 2016.
New Jersey Advances Bill to Ban Most Employee Credit Checks
Mark Diana,Steven J. Luckner,Jocelyn A. Merced,Evan J. Shenkman, January 04, 2016
On December 14, 2015, the New Jersey Assembly Labor Committee released another bill-A2298-seeking to prohibit most credit checks on employees. Essentially the same as prior bills that failed in the New Jersey legislature (including those we reported on in 2010 and in 2012), A2298 would prohibit...
BOLI Issues Guidance on New Oregon Statewide Sick Leave Law
James M. Barrett, December 16, 2015
The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) has issued additional guidance on complying with the new Oregon statewide mandatory paid sick leave law, Senate Bill 454, OL 2015, Ch. 537, which takes effect on January 1, 2016.
Do I or Don't I?—Alcoholism and Accommodations in the Workplace
Lara C. de Leon, December 16, 2015
Any college football fan can attest that this has been quite the year for upsets. As interesting as the on-field action has been, we have seen increasing media attention and fan commentary focused on the action off the field—especially on the activities of college football coaches and players.
Hillsborough County, Florida Passes Wage Theft Ordinance
Edmund J. McKenna, December 16, 2015
On October 21, 2015, the Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners enacted the “Hillsborough County Wage Recovery Ordinance.” By it terms, the ordinance applies to all employers within Hillsborough County and any company with an employee or independent contractor who performs work...
New Pinellas County Wage Theft Ordinance Goes Into Effect January 1
Edmund J. McKenna, December 16, 2015
The commissioners of Pinellas County recently adopted a wage theft ordinance that will become effective on January 1, 2016. The ordinance provides that if any employer fails to pay wages of at least $60 due to an employee 14 days or more from the date the work was performed, the failure to pay will...
New Regulatory Agenda Contains Surprises
Harold P. Coxson, December 16, 2015
The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) just-released Fall 2015 Semiannual Regulatory Agenda and Plan Statement contains several surprises for federal labor and employment rulemaking. Although the timetables are often aspirational and not met, the announced agency goals for regulatory actions...
Overview and Guidance on Final Joint Standards on Diversity and Inclusion
Nonnie L. Shivers, December 16, 2015
On June 9, 2015, several federal agencies jointly issued a policy statement on standards that companies could use to assess their diversity policies and practices, particularly for entities regulated by more than one agency. The Federal Reserve Board, Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection,...
Texas Supreme Court Vindicates Employer That Uniformly Enforced its Leave Policy
Tiffany L. Cox, December 16, 2015
On December 4, 2015, the Texas Supreme Court vacated a jury verdict in favor of a former employee who had alleged workers’ compensation retaliation, rendering judgment in favor of the employer and finding that the employee had not presented evidence that his termination had resulted from...
The Minimum Wage Battle Is Heating Up and Retail Is Fighting Back
Diane M. Saunders, December 16, 2015
Over the past two years, we have seen minimum wage hikes in states and cities (such as St. Louis, Kansas City, Los Angeles, and Emeryville) across the country as labor groups push for a universal $15 per hour minimum wage. With the presidential elections coming, organized labor is reinvigorating...
CDLE’s Official Guidance on Use-It-Or-Lose-It Vacation Policies: Still Prohibited
Steven R. Reid,Austin E. Smith,Roger G. Trim, December 15, 2015
The use of so-called “use-it-or-lose-it” vacation pay policies is receiving significant attention in Colorado, both from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) and from employers trying to make sense of the CDLE’s recent announcements. A typical use-it-or-lose-it...
Final New Jersey Ban-the-Box Regulations Issued Today, Effective Immediately
Mark Diana,Evan J. Shenkman, December 10, 2015
The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) published its long awaited, final “ban-the-box” regulations today, which take effect immediately. The final regulations, and the NJDOL’s comments to the regulations, clarify the following issues regarding New...
“Deaf Culture” Expert to Testify at Trial? Judge Allows EEOC to Test the Limits
James M. Paul, December 09, 2015
In the last couple of years, pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has prosecuted at least 12 lawsuits on behalf of deaf or hard-of-hearing employees or job applicants. And, within the last 10 years, the U.S. Department of...
Is an Offshore Rig a Single Site of Employment Under WARN?
Jessica M. Knapp,Christopher E. Moore, December 09, 2015
A federal judge in the Eastern District of Louisiana recently issued an important ruling for oil field employers conducting layoffs. In Voisin v. Axxis Drilling, Inc. (October 21, 2015), the court held that for the purposes of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988 (WARN...
Portland’s New Ban-the-Box Ordinance Imposes Stricter Rules Than State Law
Leah C. Lively,Kathryn P. Roberts, December 09, 2015
On November 25, 2015, the Portland City Council passed an ordinance restricting an employer’s ability to inquire regarding a job applicant’s criminal history. As of July 1, 2016, Portland employers with six or more employees will be prohibited from soliciting information regarding an...
Pennsylvania Still Requires Separate Consideration for Restrictive Covenant Agreements
Donald D. Gamburg,L. Evan Van Gorder, November 27, 2015
In a much anticipated decision released on November 18, 2015, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania closed the door—if it was ever open—on any arguments doing away with the separate consideration required for restrictive covenant agreements entered into after the commencement of employment....
Predictive Scheduling: A Primer for Retail and Hospitality Employers
Diane M. Saunders, November 27, 2015
One of the most closely watched issues today among retail and hospitality employers is “predictive scheduling,” or as opponents call it, “restrictive scheduling.” Predictive scheduling has become the new cause célèbre among labor activists around the country...
Texas’ Open Carry Law: 3 Steps Hotels Should Take Before the New Year
John G. Harrison, November 26, 2015
The Texas statute allowing the open carrying of guns by licensed holders will become effective on January 1, 2016. Prior to this effective date, Texas hotel properties should consider following these three steps in an effort to comply with the law.
Everything You Need to Know About New York's New FCA Guidance
Gustavo A. Suárez,Aaron Warshaw,Stephen R. Woods, November 24, 2015
As we previously reported, New York City’s Fair Chance Act (FCA) went into effect on October 27, 2015. On November 5, 2015, the New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR or Commission) issued long-anticipated guidance on the FCA. Although the Commission’s website indicates that...
The Push for Pay Transparency and Equity
Kiosha Hammond Dickey, November 24, 2015
On September 10, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) published its final rule on pay transparency, setting a trend for states to enact legislation aimed at strengthening fair pay, pay transparency, and other legal protections in the...
An Easing of Brazil’s Restrictive Labor Laws? Only Time Will Tell
Carolyn Ann Knox, November 18, 2015
Brazil’s troubled economy has been making global headlines for the past few months. After five years of growth, understood now to have largely been fueled by China’s seemingly insatiable hunger for commodities, the economy has ground to a halt and is declining to negative growth for...
New ACA Reporting: Frequently Asked Questions About Form 1095-C
Stephanie Alden Smithey,Timothy G. Verrall, November 18, 2015
For many employers, the employer mandate under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is already a reality. Having now worked out some of the administrative kinks associated with providing the health plan coverage required by the mandate, employers face a new and daunting challenge: detailed reporting to...
Here To Organize”— NLRB now Accepts E-Signatures on Authorization Cards
Timothy C. Kamin, November 17, 2015
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has made union organizing by email and social media a reality. The NLRB’s General Counsel issued Memorandum 15-08 on September 1, 2015, stating that, “[e]ffective immediately, parties may submit electronic signatures in support of a showing of...
Transgender Issues in the Workplace: Navigating a Changing Legal Landscape
Kelly S. Hughes,Nonnie L. Shivers, November 17, 2015
Legislation prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity is popping up all around the country. From California’s Senate Bill 703 prohibiting state agencies from entering into certain contracts with contractors that discriminate between employees on the basis of gender identity...
New York’s Wage Deduction Law in Effect for Three More Years
Brian Jeffrey Gershengorn,Sonu Ray, November 13, 2015
On October 26, 2015, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed State Assembly bill A07594, extending the expiration period of 2012 amendments to New York Labor Law §193, which had permitted employers to make deductions from employee wages in circumstances otherwise deemed impermissible by the New...
Is Your Workplace Violence Plan Ready? 5 Essential Elements of a Comprehensive Plan
Dennis A. Davis,Luther Wright, November 10, 2015
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, one out of every six violent crimes occurs in the workplace. These crimes include assaults, rapes, robberies, and-on rare occasions-homicides. Employees, customers, and third-party individuals are increasingly acting out in ways that devastatingly alter...
Per Diems and the Regular Rate of Pay: What to Know for Your Overtime Calculation
Andrew P. Burnside,Jacob C. Credeur, November 10, 2015
The United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma in Sharp v. CGG Land (U.S.) Inc., No. 14-cv-0614 (October 19, 2015), recently ruled in favor of an employer that had excluded per diem payments from a regular rate calculation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The...
D.C. Commuter Benefits Are Almost Here: Employers Must Comply by January 1
Vicki M. Nielsen, November 09, 2015
Employers with 20 or more employees working in the District of Columbia have fewer than 90 days to comply with a new law that requires them to offer commuter benefits to employees by January 1, 2016. Washington, D.C. is one of several cities and regions that have recently passed mandatory commuter...
California Court Deems Truck Drivers Employees, Not Independent Contractors
Christopher W. Olmsted, November 02, 2015
Companies that classify workers as independent contractors are facing increasing scrutiny in court and before administrative agencies. A recent unpublished California Court of Appeal decision in a case titled Garcia v. Seacon Logix, Inc. highlights the factors considered by a court in determining...
New York Expands Discrimination Protections Against Workplace Gender Bias
Michael R. Marra,A. Sonu Ray, November 02, 2015
On October 21, 2015, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a number of bills, which cumulatively expand protections against gender discrimination, sexual harassment, domestic violence, and human trafficking. This comprehensive legislation, which grew out of the governor’s call for a...
NLRB Makes a Mess of the Burns Successorship Analysis and Worker Retention Laws
Seth D. Kaufman, October 29, 2015
New York City’s Displaced Building Service Workers Protection Act (DBSWPA) is one of numerous local worker retention laws, which apply to various industries in jurisdictions across the country, such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Providence, Rhode Island, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia....
Can a Prevailing Plaintiff Recover Expert Fees? The Second Circuit Says “No”
A. Sonu Ray, October 28, 2015
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that expert witness fees are not recoverable under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In Gortat v. Capala Brothers, Inc., No. 14-3304-cv (July 29, 2015), the Second Circuit ruled in a class action case filed by five former employees who sought...
St. Louis Minimum Wage Hike Struck Down at the 11th Hour
Joseph Charron,William M. Lawson,Robert W. Stewart, October 26, 2015
Hours before a St. Louis ordinance increasing the city’s minimum wage was set to take effect, St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Steven Ohmer struck down the ordinance. The ordinance, which was passed on August 28, with an effective date of October 15, would have increased the city’s minimum...
Top 10 Workplace Investigation Mistakes: Part II
Patricia Chavarria Perez, October 26, 2015
In part one of this two-part series, we covered five of the most common mistakes that employers make while conducting workplace investigations, including poor complaint mechanisms, ignoring employee complaints, failing to adequately plan an investigation, and failing to be objective while...
DHS Proposes New STEM OPT Extension Rules
Miguel A. Manna,Caroline Tang, October 23, 2015
On October 16, 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) concerning new rules for extending the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program for international students with degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The...
Florida’s Minimum Wage Likely to Remain Unchanged on January 1, 2016
Edmund J. McKenna, October 23, 2015
On November 2, 2004, Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment that created Florida’s minimum wage. The minimum wage applies to all employees in the state covered by the federal minimum wage. Florida law requires a new minimum wage calculation on September 30 of each year, based on...
The Fallout from the Schrems Decision Continues
Simon J. McMenemy,Hendrik Muschal,Grant D. Petersen, October 23, 2015
On October 14, 2015, the data protection commissioner from the German state of Schleswig-Holstein issued a position paper declaring that the use of model contract clauses by U.S. companies and European employees’ consent to transfer their personal data to the United States are invalid. This...
Top 10 Workplace Investigation Mistakes: Part I
Patricia Chavarria Perez, October 22, 2015
Resolving conflict in the workplace is a key issue for employers. Legal requirements have continued to expand in terms of what courts expect employers to do in order to prevent and correct wrongful behavior. In response, employers have increased mechanisms through which employees can lodge...
California Governor Signs Gender Wage Equality Law
Christopher W. Olmsted, October 20, 2015
The California Fair Pay Act (FPA), a state law that codifies the principle that an employee is entitled to equal pay for equal work without regard to gender, has been amended with the passage of Senate Bill 358 (SB 358), which Governor Jerry Brown signed yesterday.
European Court of Justice Invalidates European Commission’s Safe Harbor Decision
Simon J. McMenemy,Hendrik Muschal,Grant D. Petersen, October 20, 2015
On October 6, 2015, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued its much-anticipated decision in Schrems v. Data Protection Commissioner, Case C-362/14. The case considered the viability of the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework, which has been applied to permit U.S. companies to transfer personal data...
Everything You Need to Know About St. Louis’s Minimum Wage Law
William M. Lawson,Robert W. Stewart, October 20, 2015
On August 28, 2015, the city of St. Louis passed a law to raise its minimum wage. The minimum wage increase will start at $8.25 per hour and will increase to $11.00 per hour by 2018. Beginning on January 1, 2019, the minimum wage will increase annually on January 1 of each year on a percentage...
Mexico Supreme Court Issues Guidance on Outsourcing
Pietro Straulino-Rodriguez, October 20, 2015
The Second Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation in Mexico recently issued guidance establishing that outsourcing does not violate the constitutional principles of legal certainty and freedom.
OFCCP Publishes Final Rule to Promote Pay Transparency
Alec Hillbo, October 20, 2015
On September 10, 2015, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) published its final rule on pay transparency. The purpose of the rule is to prohibit “pay secrecy policies” to make it “possible for workers and job applicants to share information about their pay...
Is the Safe Harbor Framework Still Safe?
Simon J. McMenemy,Grant D. Petersen, October 15, 2015
On October 6, 2015, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will issue its decision in Schrems v. Data Protection Commissioner, Case C-362/14, which may invalidate the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework. The Safe Harbor Framework permits U.S. companies to transfer personal data regarding their employees and...
Is the Six-Factor Test Still Good? Eleventh Circuit Endorses Modified Intern Test
Kristy G. Offitt, October 13, 2015
A recent decision by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals appears to reject the U.S. Department of Labor’s oft-recited six-factor test, which is used to determine whether interns are actually functioning as employees. In Schumann v. Collier Anesthesia, P.A., et al, No. 14-13169 (September...
Creating an Inclusive Law Firm Culture: A Strategy and a Story, Too
Michelle P. Wimes, October 06, 2015
In recent years, much has been written about the importance of creating diverse, inclusive workplaces to ensure the best possible business results. As with any other successful initiatives spearheaded by an organization, law firm inclusion requires a well thought-out strategic plan implemented by...
Do Your Employees Have the Right to a Union Rep During a Drug Test?
Michael Clarkson, September 28, 2015
On August 27, 2015, a three-member panel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued Manhattan Beer Distributors, LLC and Joe Garcia Diaz, (29-CA-115694) finding that an employer had unlawfully denied an employee his right to the physical presence of a union representative during a...
A Potential Federal Government Shutdown: The Immigration Implications for Employers
Charles Edward Gillman,Ceridwen J. Koski, September 25, 2015
Congress has until September 30, 2015 to reach an agreement on the 2016 Fiscal Year federal budget. If an agreement to fund the federal government is not reached, immigration processes are expected to be impacted as they were in the shutdown that occurred in October of 2013. Some federal agencies...
State Employment Laws That Every Virginia Employer Should Know
Tevis Marshall, September 24, 2015
Keeping track of the latest changes to federal employment laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), to name just a few, is hard enough. But employers sometimes forget that there are also specific state...
The Affordable Care Act: What’s Ahead?
Penny C. Wofford, September 24, 2015
More than five years after its enactment, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues to be one of the top concerns for employers, and rightly so: the ACA is one of the most comprehensive laws impacting employee benefits since the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.
The Latest OFCCP News: VEVRAA Coverage, Outreach Poster, and Approaching Deadlines
Gretchen W. Ewalt,Patrick Lawler, September 24, 2015
On July 2, 2015, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council amended the jurisdictional threshold for coverage under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA). Currently, a contractor with a single contract valued at $100,000 or more annually meets the threshold for the...
No Credit, No Problem: NYC’s New Guidance Further Limits Employer Credit Checks
Gustavo A. Suárez,Aaron Warshaw, September 23, 2015
As we previously reported, New York City recently passed a law prohibiting employers from requesting or using an individual’s credit history in making employment decisions. On September 3, 2015—the same day that the new law went into effect—the New York City Commission on Human...
Home Health Care Agencies, DOL Continue to Wrangle Over FLSA Regs Effective Date
Robert R. Roginson,Carolyn E. Sieve, September 21, 2015
As we previously reported, on August 21, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Home Care Association of America v. Weil reinstated the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) regulations extending the federal minimum wage and overtime requirements for home health care...
Accommodations Legalese: 5 Key Terms Every Employer Should Know
Patricia Chavarria Perez, September 18, 2015
It’s true in other areas of employment law as well, but in the world of disability discrimination law there are numerous phrases that have taken on special meaning and become true terms of art. Even those who are well-versed in other areas of employment law and HR often find it difficult to...
Second Circuit Refines Title VII Pleading Standard
P. Kramer Rice, September 15, 2015
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently remanded a former employee’s racial discrimination lawsuit brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In Littlejohn v. City of New York, No. 14-1395 (August 3, 2015), the court held that the “plausibility” standard for...
OSHA Testing Joint Enterprise Theory in Wake of NLRB Ruling
John F. Martin, September 11, 2015
Around the same time the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued its controversial and precedent-shattering decision in Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc. d/b/a BFI Newby Island Recyclery, a franchise industry group revealed that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration...
President Obama Orders Federal Contractors to Provide Paid Sick Leave
Dara L. DeHaven,James J. Murphy, September 11, 2015
On Labor Day, President Obama announced a new Executive Order that will require federal contractors to provide employees with paid sick leave. The new order, anticipated to apply to new federal contracts entered into on or after January 1, 2017, will require covered federal contractors and...
A Reminder for Retailers: Risks Associated With Hiring Third-Party Workers
Michael R. Marra, September 09, 2015
As the retail sector grapples with the many challenges of a perpetually evolving economy and an increasingly mobile, independent, and dynamic workforce, it has become common practice for retailers to engage third parties to provide specialized, non-core services. Whether engaged through staffing...
At Will? What’s That?
Rebecca Marks, September 02, 2015
Did you know that employees in most countries outside the United States have a contractual right to continued employment, whether or not they have written contract? If an employer does not provide an employee with a written contract, rights will be implied at law to the advantage of the employee...
The NLRB Goes Back to Church (Schools), Gets Entangled
John Richard Carrigan,James C. Pennington, September 02, 2015
In our June 2015 blog post, “NLRB Moves to Assert Jurisdiction Over Religious Educational Institutions,” we reported that Regional Directors of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) were beginning to exercise jurisdiction over religiously-affiliated colleges and...
California Minimum Wage Bill Stalls in Legislature
Christopher W. Olmsted, September 01, 2015
A controversial bill to increase California’s minimum wage has failed to pass in the state legislature. The bill would have phased in a $3.00 per hour increase to the minimum wage rate and also would have imposed annual cost of living increases.
Federal Court Upholds Louisiana Ban on Project Labor Agreements
Andrew P. Burnside, September 01, 2015
A federal court in the Eastern District of Louisiana recently ruled that Louisiana’s ban on project labor agreements on public works projects was neither unconstitutional nor preempted by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). In Southeast Louisiana Building and Construction Trades Council...
Louisiana Supreme Court Reaffirms At-Will Employment Doctrine
Katherine E. Pizzini, September 01, 2015
In Read v. Willwoods Community, 2014-C-1475 (La. 2015), the Supreme Court of Louisiana overturned a jury verdict awarding damages to a plaintiff who claimed that his employer breached a verbal contract to employ him for a term of five years. The plaintiff argued that during his interview the...
NLRB Finds Joint Employer Status Can Exist Merely Based on Indirect or Potential Control
Mark G. Kisicki,Elizabeth M. Townsend, September 01, 2015
Overturning decades of precedent, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), on August 27, 2015, issued its long-awaited decision in Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc. d/b/a BFI Newby Island Recyclery, 362 NLRB No. 186 (August 27, 2015). The decision establishes a new standard for...
Red Flags for Homebuilders Related to DOL's Latest Guidance on Independent Contractors
Jessica M. Knapp,Charles E. McDonald,Ted D. Meyer, September 01, 2015
On July 15, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued an “Administrator’s Interpretation” (AI 2015-1) providing guidance on whether workers are employees or independent contractors under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Wage and Hour Division of the Department of...
Your Compliance Toolbox: 7 Tips for a Successful Interactive Process
Patricia Chavarria Perez, September 01, 2015
Dealing with issues related to accommodation requests at work can be a daunting task—even for the most seasoned HR or legal professional. The path to a successful interactive process and a meaningful analysis of an accommodation request is fraught with landmines at every turn. Though...
Indiana Employment Law Update: 5 Changes to Laws You Should Know
Brian L. McDermott,Robert F. Seidler, August 27, 2015
A number of significant changes to Indiana employment law took effect on July 1, 2015. These changes affected employer’s obligations in areas such as hiring, wages, discrimination, and termination. If employers have not already done so, they should review and revise their policies and...
Inability to Work Under A Particular Supervisor Is Not a Disability in California
Christopher W. Olmsted, August 24, 2015
In response to standard negative performance feedback from a supervisor, an employee takes a leave of absence due to stress and submits a medical note stating that the employee must be transferred to another department as an accommodation. Under California law, must a company grant such an...
Update on Local Paid Sick Leave Ordinances
Christopher G. Elko,Steven J. Luckner,Evan J. Shenkman, August 24, 2015
In the recently decided matter of New Jersey Business and Industry Association, et al v. City of Trenton (L-467-15, April 16, 2015), the court held that Trenton’s paid sick leave ordinance applies only to employers based in Trenton, and not to employers “whose employees have to come to...
California Amends FEHA, Protecting Accommodation Requests
Christopher W. Olmsted, August 18, 2015
On July 16, 2015, California’s Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill amending the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), adding protections for workers who request accommodations for disabilities or religious beliefs.
Alcoholism and the ADA: The DOs and DON’Ts of Alcohol Testing in the Workplace
Michael Clarkson,M. Tae Phillips, August 14, 2015
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (ADA) considers alcoholism to be a “disability.” Individuals who suffer from alcoholism are entitled to the protections of the ADA just as those with significant mental illnesses or those confined to wheelchairs are. Thus,...
It’s Time to Work Overtime on Your Comments to the DOL
Steven F. Pockrass, August 07, 2015
Time is not on your side if you are an employer who has yet to address the U. S. Department of Labor’s proposed revisions to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s white collar overtime regulations.
Lessons from Deflategate: 5 Ways to Avoid Workplace Investigation Fumbles
Michael Clarkson,Patricia Chavarria Perez, August 07, 2015
Over the years, the topic of workplace investigations has gained increasing importance in the HR and employment law world. Now, with investigations routinely making headlines, they have become a part of our popular culture as well. Most recently, the investigation conducted and conclusions reached...
Rhode Island Enacts Legislation Authorizing the Use of Electronic Pay Cards
Todd M. Torres, August 07, 2015
On July 10, 2015, the Rhode Island General Assembly sent Governor Gina Raimondo a compromise measure (House Bill 5590/Senate Bill 351) that would allow Rhode Island employers—for the first time in the state’s history—to pay wages via electronic pay cards. The measure became law on...
West Virginia Amends State Rule Verifying Legal Employment Status of Workers
Caroline Tang, August 07, 2015
On July 1, 2015, a new legislative rule amending the procedures required for West Virginia employers to verify the legal employment status of their workers went into effect in West Virginia. Pursuant to section 21-1B-4 of the West Virginia Code, all employers are required to keep “records of...
Miners & Marijuana
Michael T. Heenan, August 04, 2015
As in other industries, mining companies must contend with employees and contractors using or being under the influence of illegal drugs in the workplace. Marijuana is one of the most prominent substances detected in drug screens of job applicants. Mine operators have routinely made blanket...
Independent Contractor or Employee: DOL’s Latest Guidance on Employee Status
Margaret Santen Hanrahan,Brittni Alecia Pitts, August 03, 2015
On July 15, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued guidance on determining whether a worker is an independent contractor in the form of an “Administrator’s Interpretation.” Describing independent contractor misclassification as resulting in an “uneven playing field...
New York Wage Board Recommends Minimum Wage of $15 per Hour for Fast Food Workers
Aaron Warshaw, July 31, 2015
As we previously reported, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently appointed a Wage Board to make recommendations on increasing the minimum wage for New York State fast food employees. Throughout the recent public meeting process, fast food employers have roundly criticized any proposed minimum...
Employees Now Have Greater Rights to Work Overtime in Wisconsin
Timothy G. Costello, July 28, 2015
According to a Wisconsin state law, employers are required to provide a consecutive 24-hour rest period every 7 days for employees in factory and mercantile workplaces. As a result of the budget bill recently signed by Governor Scott Walker, Wisconsin employers will no longer be required to obtain...
City of Chicago Increases Minimum Wage
Daniel O. Canales, July 16, 2015
Effective January 1, 2015, the City of Chicago increased the minimum wage within its city limits to $10.00 per hour worked for non-tipped employees and to $5.45 per hour worked for tipped employees.
Restroom Rights-The New Challenge for Texas Employers
Robert E. Bettac, July 16, 2015
Time was when an employer’s only preoccupation with restrooms was whether the cleaning crew was keeping them stocked with soap, towels, and toilet paper. Enter the new reality: federal agencies and LGBT rights groups are contending that transgender employees should be given the right to...
California Governor Signs Paid Sick Leave Amendment-Effective Immediately
Christopher W. Olmsted,Robert R. Roginson, July 15, 2015
California Governor Brown signed legislation on July 13, 2015 that aims to clarify and improve California’s new paid sick leave law that requires employers to offer employees 3 days or 24 hours of paid sick leave per year as of July 1, 2015. The amendments are effective immediately.
Employees Permitted To Openly Discuss Wages in Connecticut
William C. Ruggiero,John G. Stretton, July 15, 2015
On July 2, 2015, Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed into law Public Act No. 15-196, entitled An Act Concerning Pay Equity and Fairness (the Act). The Act is effective as of July 1, 2015 and limits an employer’s ability to discourage employees from having open discussions about their wages.
IRS Notice 2015-43 Addresses Expatriate Health Coverage
Christina M. Crockett, July 15, 2015
New guidance from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) leaves in place the limited Affordable Care Act (ACA) exemptions set out in the Expatriate Health Coverage Clarification Act of 2014 (EHCCA). IRS Notice 2015-43 (Notice) permits a good faith interpretation of the EHCCA exemptions and attempts to...
New 2015-2016 Employment Laws for Oregon Businesses
Sean M. Driscoll, July 15, 2015
The 2015 Oregon legislature has adjourned, but not before handing Oregon businesses a number of significant new employment laws. Below is a brief summary of the new legislation, all of which Governor Kate Brown has signed, that Oregon businesses should consider as they head into the third and...
The CFRA Amendments: How to Prepare Your Organization
Kathryn B. Gray,Patricia Chavarria Perez, July 15, 2015
On March 4, 2015, the California Fair Employment and Housing Council approved updates to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) regulations. These updates, which took effect on July 1, 2015, clarify certain CFRA provisions and align the CFRA more closely with the federal Family and Medical Leave...
DOL’s Part 541 Proposal: Next Steps
Alfred B. Robinson, July 13, 2015
Now that the Obama Administration and U.S. Department of Labor (DOL or Department) have released its proposal to revise the Part 541 overtime regulations, it is important to understand what may be next and when we can expect developments with this regulatory proposal.
Indiana Wage Law Amendments Become Effective on July 1, 2015
Bonnie L. Martin,Steven F. Pockrass, July 10, 2015
Two significant changes to Indiana’s wage laws will become effective on Wednesday, July 1, 2015. First, liquidated damages will no longer be mandatory when an employer violates Indiana’s Wage Payment or Wage Claims statutes. Instead, a court must find that the employer was not acting in...
In Fresenius, the NLRB Admits It Was Wrong . . . Sort Of!
Harold P. Coxson, July 07, 2015
On June 24, 2015, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a new decision involving allegations that an employer had unlawfully discharged an employee who had scrawled sexually-oriented obscenities and threatening statements on the face of union literature. In Fresenius USA Manufacturing,...
The People Have Spoken, and It’s Time to Start Smokin’. . . Or Just Say No
Sean M. Driscoll, July 07, 2015
It’s July 1, 2015, and Oregon law now allows adults to lawfully use marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes. Many employers have already faced questions from employees about the impact of the state’s new marijuana law, and many more will face such questions in the coming...
The Proposed Overtime Regulations: Are Your White Collar Employees Still Exempt?
Hera S. Arsen,Steven F. Pockrass,Alfred B. Robinson, July 07, 2015
On June 30, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced its long-awaited proposed rule that would revise the regulations concerning the white collar exemption contained in section 13(a)(1) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). According to the announcement, the proposed rule would...
Your Rx for Complying with California’s Newly Effective Paid Sick Leave Law
Hera S. Arsen, July 07, 2015
The Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014, which Governor Jerry Brown signed on September 10, 2014, goes into effect today, July 1, 2015. The Act requires California employers to provide employees with one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Below is a round-up of some...
NLRB Moves to Assert Jurisdiction Over Religious Educational Institutions
Lisa Karen Atkins,John Richard Carrigan,James C. Pennington, July 01, 2015
Before December of 2014, religious colleges and universities could generally assume that under the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) “substantial religious character” test, the NLRB would decline to assert jurisdiction over them because of their religious missions. The...
School’s Out For Summer, But Not For Administrators: California’s “Yes Means Yes” Legislation Becomes Effective on July 1, 2015
Tracy A. Warren,Sarah A. Williams, July 01, 2015
On July 1, 2015, California colleges, universities, and postsecondary schools are required to bolster their compliance with new state laws regarding policies concerning sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. This new law requires, among other things, that Cal Grant Fund...
The Same-Sex Marriage Ruling: Key Employment Law Take-Aways
Nonnie L. Shivers, July 01, 2015
On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States answered the two questions it posed in the consolidated same-sex case, Obergefell v. Hodges, No. 14-556 (June 26, 2015). The consolidated case arose from challenges to Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee state laws that continued to ban...
Rhode Island Raises Minimum Wage Again: Now $9.60 per Hour
Andrew E. Silvia,Todd M. Torres, June 26, 2015
On June 22, 2015, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo signed into law another increase to the state’s minimum wage. This marks the fourth straight year that Rhode Island has raised its minimum wage. Effective January 1, 2016, the minimum wage will be $9.60 per hour.
“Ambush” Election Challenge Fails in Federal Court
Hera S. Arsen, June 24, 2015
A federal judge in Texas recently ruled in favor of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in a case challenging the Board’s “ambush” election rules. The lawsuit, Associated Builders and Contractors of Texas, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 1:15-cv-00026 (June 1,...
Oregon Legislature Mandates Sick Leave for All Employees
Sean M. Driscoll, June 24, 2015
On June 12, 2015, Oregon became the fourth state in the country to pass a statewide mandatory sick leave bill. Provided it is signed by Governor Kate Brown (which is virtually certain), the new law will require all Oregon employers to provide employees with up to 40 hours of legally protected sick...
Oregon Legislature Votes to “Ban the Box”
Sean M. Driscoll, June 24, 2015
Oregon will soon join the ranks of states with “ban the box” legislation. Provided House Bill (HB) 3025 is signed by Governor Kate Brown (which is virtually certain), the new law will regulate when Oregon employers can ask applicants to disclose criminal convictions. The effective date...
Oregon Tightens Restrictions on Noncompetition Agreements
Sean M. Driscoll, June 24, 2015
Oregon strictly regulates the use of noncompetition agreements by statute, generally limiting them to (a) exempt employees earning more than the median income for a family of four (approximately $74,000 currently), and (b) conditioning enforceability on a “bona fide advancement” or an...
New York City Moves to “Ban the Box” on Criminal Background Checks in Job Applications
Sonu Ray,Aaron Warshaw,Stephen R. Woods, June 19, 2015
On June 10, 2015, the New York City Council passed the Fair Chance Act (Intro No. 318-A, 2014) by a vote of 45-to-5. The legislation prevents employers from inquiring about job applicants’ criminal arrests and convictions prior to hire. Employers will be permitted to make such inquiries after...
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Issues Two Significant Opinions for Employers
Rachel Reingold Mandel,Diane M. Saunders,Andrew E. Silvia, June 18, 2015
In April 2015, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts issued two important decisions providing guidance for employers on the scope of Massachusetts’s wage and hour laws. In one decision, the Court held that employers may institute no-tipping policies in the Commonwealth without violating...
Fifth Circuit Finds Settlement Agreement Did Not Release Employees’ FLSA Claims
Tiffany L. Cox, June 17, 2015
In Bodle v. TXL Mortgage Corp., No. 14-20224 (June 1, 2015), the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a generic, broad-form settlement release between an employer and two of its former employees did not bar those employees’ subsequent lawsuit under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for...
AAO Guidance Clarifies That Worker Mobility May Come at a Cost
Miguel A. Manna,Lowell Sachs, June 16, 2015
In a move likely to elicit equal parts appreciation and exasperation among the employer community, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued guidance on the need to file an amended H-1B petition when there is a change in worksite locations. The guidance, which was issued on May 21,...
California Employers Take the Heat . . . of new Revised Heat Illness Standards
Hera S. Arsen, June 16, 2015
On April 7, 2015, the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) and the state safety and health agency announced that the current heat illness prevention regulation has been amended. The Office of Administrative Law approved the state Occupational Safety & Health Standards...
New Texas “Open Carry” Legislation On Its Way to Becoming Law
Stephen J. Quezada, June 16, 2015
The Texas House of Representatives recently passed legislation (H.B. 910) that will allow holders of a concealed handgun license to carry holstered handguns in plain view. The Texas Senate passed its version of the “open carry” law (S.B. 17) in April 2015. The bills will proceed to...
OSHA Issues Guidance on Restroom Access for Transgender Employees
John F. Martin, June 16, 2015
On June 1, 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced its publication of new guidance on best practices regarding transgender employees’ bathroom access. The announcement comes after the National Center for Transgender Equality formed an alliance with OSHA and...
Pending California Bill May Cure Sick Pay Law
Christopher W. Olmsted, June 16, 2015
Mere weeks before sick pay becomes mandatory in California, the state legislature is racing to cure what is ailing employers. Beginning on July 1, 2015, the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (HWHFA) will obligate employers in California to offer sick pay to employees in nearly every...
Projected Impact of the Upcoming Overtime Rules On Retail and Hospitality
Diane M. Saunders, June 16, 2015
As we await the issuance of new federal overtime regulations, employers in the retail and hospitality industries may be interested in the recent National Retail Federation (NRF) report, “Rethinking Overtime.” The NRF report includes the results of a study conducted by Oxford Economics...
Tips for Lawfully Hiring Teenagers for Summer Jobs in California
Christopher W. Olmsted, June 16, 2015
Summer is almost here and many teenagers will be hitting the workforce to earn a few extra dollars. Companies that hire teenagers should be aware that state and federal law restricts the employment of minors or “child labor.”
Yet Another Municipal-Level Paid Sick Leave Measure Passes in California
Hera S. Arsen,Brooke S. Purcell, June 16, 2015
In addition to implementing a minimum wage rate increase, the ordinance that the Emeryville City Council unanimously approved on June 2, 2015 will provide paid sick leave to employees in Emeryville—over and above what is already provided to employees under state law. The “Minimum Wage,...
Uniforms, Dress Codes, and the FLSA
Elizabeth S. Washko, June 08, 2015
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not prohibit employers from requiring employees to follow a particular dress code or wear a designated uniform. However, it does prohibit employers from requiring employees to pay for uniforms, if such costs would cause an employee’s pay to drop below...
Ten Tips To Comply With California’s Upcoming Sick Pay Mandate
Christopher W. Olmsted, June 01, 2015
Mandatory sick pay is coming to California in less than 60 days. Beginning July 1, 2015, the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (HWHFA) will obligate employers in California to offer sick pay to nearly every category of employee. The minimum obligation is to provide sick pay at the...
Set It and Forget It? Not so Fast, Says the Supreme Court in Tibble
Preston R. Burch,Timothy G. Verrall, May 29, 2015
On May 18, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States rendered a much anticipated (by ERISA attorneys, at least) decision in Tibble v. Edison International, clarifying a relatively narrow but still significant issue involving fiduciary responsibilities and retirement plan investments. Tibble v....
Captain of the Cheerleading Team: An Employee Too?
Dawn M. Knepper, May 27, 2015
On April 21, 2015, California’s legislature advanced a bill that would require professional sports teams based in California to classify their cheerleaders as employees and pay them a minimum wage. The state assembly’s Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media...
Governor Cuomo Seeks to Increase New York Minimum Wage for Fast Food Workers
P. Kramer Rice, May 15, 2015
On May 7, 2015, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the empanelling of a New York State Wage Board directed to investigate and make recommendations on increasing the minimum wage in the fast food industry. Both Governor Cuomo and Acting New York Commissioner of Labor Mario J. Musolino have stated...
Philadelphia Releases Sick Leave Poster
Paul Lancaster Adams,Julie Donahue, May 15, 2015
On May 13, 2015, Philadelphia’s paid sick leave ordinance, formally entitled “Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces,” becomes effective. In addition to the key provisions of the ordinance requiring certain employers to provide employees with up to 40 hours of paid sick leave...
You’ve Got Mail: EEOC Rolls Out Online Charge System
David J. Harris, May 15, 2015
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has taken its first steps towards moving to an all-digital charge system. On Wednesday, May 6, 2015, the agency announced that 11 of its 53 field offices would begin a pilot program called “Act Digital.” The new online system will...
California Confectioner Defeats Worker’s Age Discrimination Claim
Christopher W. Olmsted, May 13, 2015
Armenta v. Morris National, Inc., No. B255575 (March 27, 2015): Discrimination claims often ensue after a reduction in force (RIF) because laid off employees second-guess management’s selection process. However, as seen in a recent unpublished California Court of Appeal decision, a systematic...
California Employer Successful in Arbitration Policy Dispute
Serafin Tagarao, May 13, 2015
Serafin v. Balco Properties Ltd., LLC, No. A141358 (March 16, 2015): The California Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District recently upheld an arbitration award in favor of an employer despite the employee’s arguments that (1) she never entered into a binding agreement to arbitrate...
DOL “Springs” Its Part 541 Proposal for Review
Alfred B. Robinson, May 13, 2015
On Tuesday, May 5, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it had sent its draft proposed part 541 overtime regulations to the Office of the Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) at the Office of Management and Budget for review. President Obama signed a presidential memorandum...
Justices Give Courts Authority to Review EEOC Conciliation Efforts
Hera S. Arsen, May 13, 2015
On April 29, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States decided whether¿and the extent to which¿courts may review efforts made by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to resolve discrimination claims with an employer before filing suit. The Court decided that courts may review...
New York Court of Appeals Applies Federal Impact Analysis Under State Law
, May 13, 2015
Margerum v. City of Buffalo, 24 N.Y.3d 721 (N.Y. Feb. 17, 2015): The New York Court of Appeals held that, where an employer has allegedly engaged in intentional discrimination to avoid or remedy an unintentional disparate impact, liability under the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) should...