Practice Areas & Industries: Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.

 




Ethics Compliance, Investigations and Whistleblower Response Return to Practice Areas & Industries

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Practice/Industry Group Overview

Ogletree Deakins provides clients with innovative and business-oriented solutions to compliance issues across every facet of labor and employment law. Our lawyers work with clients to design effective compliance measures, assist in audits and investigations, and defend clients in relation to compliance as well as retaliation claims.

The rapid expansion of additional legislation and regulation related to employee anti-retaliation protections, especially for whistleblowing activities across a number of industries, requires that clients be able to access immediately lawyers with very specific and sophisticated knowledge and experience in counseling, investigating, and litigating under these laws.

Ogletree Deakins’ Ethics Compliance, Investigations and Whistleblower Response Practice Group works with clients in handling compliance issues, investigations, and other matters arising under the panoply of laws related to whistleblower activities, including the following: False Claims Act; Sarbanes-Oxley Act; Consumer Financial Protection Improvement Act; Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act; Energy Reorganization Act; Occupational Safety and Health Act; Mine Safety and Health Act; Wendell H. Ford Aviation and Reform Act for the 21st Century; Pipeline Safety Improvement Act; Surface Transportation Assistance Act; Toxic Substances Control Act; Solid Waste Disposal Act; Federal Water Pollution Control Act; and Clean Air Act.

Experience and Proactive Assistance

Our lawyers have deep experience representing clients in whistleblower matters. This includes the representation of clients in False Claims Act whistleblower retaliation and qui tam cases; Sarbanes-Oxley investigations and litigation; Dodd-Frank investigations; Occupational Safety and Health Act retaliation investigations and litigation; and investigations and litigation under other industry-specific anti-retaliation laws.

We are able to assist clients in connection with:

  • Training
  • Counseling
  • Audits
  • Policy design and review
  • Procedure design and review
  • Document retention design and review
  • Internal investigations
  • Agency representation
  • Litigation and appeals

Effective Handling of Sensitive Matters

Our lawyers work with our clients directly, as well as with corporate compliance counsel and appropriate subject matter experts, to ensure compliance, thorough and responsible investigations, and vigorous and effective defense of claims related to these laws. We work with clients to solve highly-sensitive situations involving key executives and assist clients in managing comprehensive workplace crises. Our excellent working relationships and track record of credibility with investigative and enforcement agencies work to our clients’ benefit in these sensitive and high-profile matters of central concern to their businesses.

In addition, our lawyers are mindful that every whistleblower complaint carries the risk of a subsequent retaliation claim. Accordingly, our practice group lawyers can assist our clients in developing best practices for responding to the challenges of managing a whistleblowing investigation to manage that risk successfully and assist our clients in following those practices in real time.


 
 
Articles Authored by Lawyers at this office:

NYC Cares for Caregivers: New Bill Awaiting Mayor’s Signature Would Make Caregivers a Protected Class
Sonu Ray, January 18, 2016
On December 16, 2015, the New York City Council passed a bill prohibiting employers from discriminating against employees based on their actual or perceived status as a caregiver. The new law would establish caregiver status as a new protected class under the New York City Human Rights Law, and...

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...

Minimum Wage Changes to New York’s Fast Food Industry: New Hospitality Wage Order & FAQs
Seth D. Kaufman, January 11, 2016
As we previously discussed in May and July of this year, wage and hour requirements for the fast food industry in New York State are changing starting in the new year. These changes, which go into effect on December 31, 2015, result from recommendations made by the Fast Food Wage Board, which...

Worth the Wait: Will USCIS Draft Policy Guidance Bring Greater Job Portability and Career Advancement for Foreign Workers and Their Employers in 2016?
Diane M. Rish, January 11, 2016
On November 20, 2015, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a highly anticipated draft policy memorandum for public review and comment that provides guidance to USCIS Immigration Services Officers (ISOs) on evaluating whether one job is in “the same or a...

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...

Preparing for the Upcoming Amendments to the FLSA Overtime Regulations: A Toolkit for Retail and Hospitality Employers
Diane M. Saunders,Elizabeth S. Washko, January 08, 2016
As we have previously reported, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), specifically as to the criteria for the Part 541 “white collar” exemptions, are projected to have an enormous impact on retail and hospitality...

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...

California’s New Piece-Rate Compensation Requirements and a New Affirmative Defense Take Effect January 1, 2016
Hera S. Arsen, January 04, 2016
On October 10, 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1513, which added new requirements with regard to employees who work on a piece-rate basis. The new law, which amends California Labor Code section 226.2, changes the way employers are required to pay employees paid on a...

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...

Jersey City Expands Paid Sick Leave Ordinance to Small Businesses, Increases Penalties for Noncompliance
Mark Diana,Steven J. Luckner,Jocelyn A. Merced,Evan J. Shenkman, January 04, 2016
On October 30, 2015, the Jersey City mayor approved a change to the city’s existing paid sick leave law (Ordinance 15.145), purportedly to bring the sick leave ordinance more in line with those of other New Jersey cities that have since passed their own paid sick leave ordinances. One major...

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.

For California Employers, New Year Brings New Restrictions—Along With a Few Silver Linings
Christopher W. Olmsted,Keith A. Watts, December 16, 2015
In 2015, the California legislature undoubtedly took aim at employers with piecemeal legislation covering everything from cheerleaders (who are now employees by statute) to gender-based pay differentials—the latter with what is now the nation’s most aggressive “equal pay”...

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 DOL’s Fall 2015 Regulatory Agenda: Does it Really Shed Light on the Timing for a Final Overtime Rule?
Hera S. Arsen,Alfred B. Robinson, December 16, 2015
Approximately three months after the comment period closed on the proposal from the Obama administration and U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to revise the Part 541 overtime regulations, the DOL issued its Fall 2015 Semiannual Regulatory Agenda that includes a statement on the timing for a final...

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...

Washington Snapshot: Leadership Contests and a Push to Break Legislative Limbo in the Nation’s Capital
Harold P. Coxson, December 16, 2015
For many in the country, the term "Washington leadership" is an oxymoron, and calling someone a "Washington insider" may be an epithet rather than a compliment. The truth remains, however, that developments in Washington, D.C., especially at the federal regulatory agencies,...

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...

Louisiana Workforce Commission Finds Employers Misclassify Workers as Independent Contractors
Andrew P. Burnside,Katherine E. Pizzini, December 15, 2015
The Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) is on track for a second consecutive record-setting year in identifying workers misclassified by employers as independent contractors, according to a recent announcement by the LWC. In 2014, Louisiana led the nation with the LWC finding an average of 11...

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 Court Rules Religious Institutions not Exempt From all Employment-Related Claims
Lawrence D. Smith, November 27, 2015
The United States and Texas Constitutions each provide for the free exercise of religion and the separation of church and state. These constitutional prescriptions frequently bar the application of civil laws, including employment laws, to religious institutions if they require the evaluation of a...

Filing of Police Report Accusing Coworker of Stealing Deemed Protected Activity by California Court
Christopher W. Olmsted, November 26, 2015
It is generally understood that an employer may not retaliate against an employee for “whistleblowing” and alerting authorities that a business has engaged in unlawful activity. Is an employee also protected against retaliation when he or she reports a coworker to the police for...

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.

When Does Termination of the Employment Relationship Violate Public Policy? The Restatement of Employment Law Offers a New Framework
Simone R. D. Francis, November 26, 2015
In July of 2015, the American Law Institute published the first Restatement of Employment Law. The Restatement provides a new lens through which employers, employees, and courts can evaluate the common law duties affecting the employment relationship.

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...

Postcards from the R-Case Edge: Insights into Supervisory Status Issues in a Proposed Unit
Matthew J. Kelley, November 24, 2015
Since the new “ambush” election rules went into effect on April 14, 2015, there have been over 1,000 petitions for elections filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Approximately 60 of those petitions have led to pre-election representation-(R-case) hearings to determine...

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...

California Court Rules That Employee’s Occasional Performance of Nonexempt Duties Does Not Negate Exempt Status.
Carmine Joseph Pearl, November 18, 2015
In an unpublished opinion, Abarca v. JK Residential Services, Inc.., No. B256488 (June 26, 2015), the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, recently affirmed a trial court order rejecting a residential property manager’s misclassification and overtime claims.

Coffee and Tipping Do Not Mix: Fifth Circuit Rejects Behind-the-Scenes Baristas’ Tip Pooling Arrangement
Mark A. McNitzky, November 18, 2015
In Montano v. Montrose Restaurant Associates., Inc., 800 F.3d 186 (5th Cir. Aug. 28, 2015), the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded a decision of the Southern District of Texas in which the trial court had granted summary judgment in favor of a restaurant. The issue was whether it...

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...

“Click 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...

Labor Provisions of the Just-Released Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Trade Agreement
Harold P. Coxson, November 13, 2015
This morning, the Obama administration released the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, setting up a bitter debate over its provisions next year. Foremost among the opponents of TPP, organized labor will closely review TPP’s “Chapter 19 ¿ Labour.”...

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...

Consent Decree Sheds Light on the EEOC’s Interpretation of its Background Check Guidance
James R. Silvers, November 10, 2015
On September 8, 2015, BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) entered into a consent decree ending the EEOC’s disparate impact lawsuit over BMW’s use of criminal background checks in employment. The consent decree requires BMW to pay $1.6...

Illinois Court Leaves Former Employer Without Remedy After Invalidating Its Overly Broad Restrictive Covenants
Carol A. Poplawski, November 10, 2015
Just days before Halloween, the Illinois Appellate Court sent a scary message to employers: We will not enforce or judicially modify your overly broad restrictive covenants! In AssuredPartners, Inc. v. Schmitt, No. 13 CH 19264 (October 26, 2015), the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed a circuit...

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...

Trial Court’s Dismissal of Sexual-Orientation Discrimination Claim Was Proper Says Divided Missouri Court of Appeals
Andrew L. Metcalf,Eric A. Todd, November 09, 2015
In Pittman v. Cook Paper Recycling Corp., WD 77973 (Mo. App. W.D. Oct. 27, 2015) a divided panel of the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District affirmed the dismissal of an employee’s claim of discrimination based on sexual orientation under the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA)....

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 City Issues Fair Chance Act Notice Form for Criminal Background Checks
Gustavo A. Suarez,Aaron Warshaw,Stephen R. Woods, November 02, 2015
As we previously reported in July and June, New York City recently passed the Fair Chance Act (FCA), which becomes effective on Tuesday, October 27, 2015, and is applicable to criminal background checks.

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...

New York State Department of Labor Publishes Revised Proposed Regulations Governing Use of Payroll Debit Cards
Stephanie L. Aranyos,A. Sonu Ray, November 02, 2015
On October 28, 2015, the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) published revised proposed regulations modifying its draft regulations (which were initially published on May 27, 2015) governing permissible methods of wage payment, including the use of payroll debit cards (also referred to as...

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...

Update on STEM OPT Work Permit Extension: Administrative Process for Regulation Is Underway
Ashley Karen Kerr,Bernhard Mueller, October 26, 2015
In response to Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle’s ruling in Washington Alliance of Technology Workers v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security et al., No. 14-529 (August 12, 2015) that vacated the previous regulations on STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) work permit extension, on October 2,...

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.

California’s Gender Identity Legislation: New Protections for Transgender Employees Working with State Agencies
Hera S. Arsen, October 20, 2015
On October 7, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 703 (SB 703), protecting transgender employees whose employers engage in business with state agencies. Specifically, the bill expands on the state’s pre-existing discrimination laws by prohibiting “a state agency from entering...

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.

New California Law Allows Employers to Correct Wage Statements to Avoid Litigation-Review Your Wage Statements Now
Douglas J. Farmer,Michael Darrell Thomas, October 20, 2015
On October 2, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 1506 (AB 1506). The new law amends the California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) to allow employers the right to “cure” certain commonly litigated defects in employee wage statements within 33 days of notice by...

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...

Employers’ Bundle of Joy: The Rhode Island General Assembly Passes Mandatory Reasonable Accommodation Law for Pregnant and Nursing Women
Todd M. Torres, September 24, 2015
On June 25, 2015, the Rhode Island General Assembly passed and Governor Gina M. Raimondo signed legislation making it an unlawful employment practice under the state’s Fair Employment Practices Act for an employer to refuse to reasonably accommodate an employee’s or prospective...

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...

New Jersey Arbitration Agreement Declared Invalid Without Express Waiver of Employee’s “Right to a Trial”
Mark Diana, September 04, 2015
Many employers have turned to mandatory employment arbitration agreements as a way to control the cost, duration, and publicity of employment litigation. New Jersey courts will enforce properly drafted agreements that require employees to arbitrate their employment-related claims, including...

Advertising Requirements in PERM-A Survey of BALCA’s Application of 20 CFR § 656.17(f)(7)
John T. Combs,Ceridwen J. Koski, September 03, 2015
The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) permanent labor certification (PERM) program requires employers to conduct specific recruiting activities to test the labor market before filing an application. The regulation at 20 CFR § 656.17(f) sets forth the advertising requirements, which also...

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 Federal Court Cautions Against Seeking Enforcement of Invalid Noncompete Agreements
Andrew P. Burnside, September 01, 2015
In what should serve as a cautionary tale to employers with noncompete agreements, a federal court in the Eastern District of Louisiana allowed an unfair trade practices claim to survive against an employer that attempted to enforce an allegedly invalid noncompete agreement.

Louisiana Legislature Ensures Franchisees Are the Sole Employers of Their Workers
Katherine E. Pizzini, September 01, 2015
The Louisiana legislature recently passed Act 404 of the 2015 legislative session, clarifying that in most circumstances franchisees are the sole employers of their employees. The bill was signed by Governor Bobby Jindal on July 1, 2015, and went into effect on August 1, 2015.

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...

New “Living Wage Ordinance” for New Orleans City Contractors Goes Into Effect on January 1, 2016
Jacob C. Credeur, August 25, 2015
On August 17, 2015, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed a new ordinance that will require all city contractors to pay a minimum wage of $10.55 per hour to employees. The New Orleans City Council unanimously passed by the law, Ordinance Calendar No. 30,550on August 6, 2015. Known unofficially as...

Federal Appeals Court Reinstates New Federal Minimum Wage and Overtime Requirements for Home Health Care Workers Employed By Third-Party Employers
Robert R. Roginson,Carolyn E. Sieve, August 24, 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 regulations extending the federal minimum wage and overtime requirements for home health care workers employed by third-party employers. Today’s...

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...

Senate Majority Leader Introduces Bill That Would Dramatically Curtail New Jersey Employers’ Ability to Alter Work Schedules
Christopher G. Elko,Steven J. Luckner,Evan J. Shenkman, August 24, 2015
On May 19, 2015, New Jersey Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg introduced a bill (S2933) as part of a package of legislation seeking to dramatically regulate the scheduling and compensation of employees in New Jersey. The bill, entitled the “New Jersey Schedules That Work Act,”...

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...

Does the “No-Rehire” Provision in Your Settlement Agreement Restrain the Lawful Practice of a Profession?
Daniel J. Kanter, August 20, 2015
When resolving an employment dispute, employers often wish to include a “no-rehire” provision in the settlement agreement. In a typical no-rehire clause, the parties agree that they wish to resolve their dispute and sever any relationship they may have now or in the future. The employee...

Missouri Appellate Court Enforces Delegation Clause, Holds Arbitrator Has Authority to Decide Whether Claims Are Arbitrable
Andrew L. Metcalf,Erin E. Williams, August 20, 2015
This year, Missouri courts have issued several decisions interpreting arbitration agreements between employers and employees. While some of these agreements have been enforced, others have been struck down. The Missouri Court of Appeals invalidated two employment arbitration agreements in January...

Missouri School Boards, Cities, and Counties: Consider Enacting Ordinance Providing for Secret Ballot Union Elections for Certain Employees
Meredith A. Lopez,Robert W. Stewart, August 19, 2015
Article I, Section 29 of the Missouri Constitution gives employees “the right to organize and to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing.” For most public sector employees, Chapter 105 of the Missouri Revised Statutes (RSMo) includes a procedure by which...

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.

California Court of Appeal Rules in Favor of Public Entity Employer: No Forum Shopping for California Public Entity Employees
Sarah A. Williams, August 18, 2015
In a recent unpublished case, the California Court of Appeal ruled a public civil service commission decision on a worker’s employment claims precluded him from relitigating his claims in a civil action. According to the state appellate court, the suit brought by a discharged worker who filed...

Hawaii Enacts New Restrictions on Noncompete and Nonsolicitation Agreements for Employees of Technology Businesses
Patricia Haim, August 17, 2015
A new Hawaii law prohibits and makes void noncompete and nonsolicit clauses in the employment contracts of “technology business” employees if the contracts are entered into on or after the law’s effective date of July 1, 2015. The new law does not affect noncompete and nonsolicit...

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,...

Is Everyone Disabled? Temporary Disabilities and the Ever-Expanding Definition of “Disability"
Katherine (Kathy) Dudley Helms, August 07, 2015
Following the amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)—the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA)—employers were told to refrain from asking employees whether they were disabled. The employer community took this instruction with a grain of salt, knowing that although the...

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...

“Common Sense” Shows The Value of a Well-Written Dissent: Southern New England Telephone Company v. NLRB
Harold P. Coxson, July 31, 2015
It must be frustrating to be in the minority of an administrative adjudicatory body and to constantly be forced to write dissenting opinions, as was the case for former National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) member Brian E. Hayes (now an Ogletree Deakins shareholder). But if anyone doubted the value...

Another One Bites The Dust: Missouri Court Refuses to Enforce Arbitration Agreement Due to Unilateral and Retroactive Modification Clause
Andrew L. Metcalf,James M. Paul, July 31, 2015
Arbitration agreements have been a roller coaster for Missouri employers. Recently, in State ex rel. Hewitt v. Kerr, the Missouri Supreme Court enforced such an agreement, sending an employee’s discrimination lawsuit to arbitration. But overall, courts in Missouri have restricted the...

DOL’s Recent Guidance on the “Economic Realities” Test and Effects on Independent Contractor Misclassification in the Energy Industry
Ron Chapman,Matthew M. McCluer,Christopher E. Moore, July 31, 2015
Paying hot-shot drivers by the load or mile? Contracting out repair work to vehicles or machinery? Are individuals who regularly perform work integral to your business being paid through accounts payable? Have welders that you regularly call for work? Under new guidance published by the U.S....

Do Discharges Resulting From a Career Planning Program Amount to Group Termination Under the OWBPA?
Michael O. Eckard,Gretchen W. Ewalt, July 31, 2015
In Barnes v. The Hershey Company, No. 3:12-cv-01334, Judge Charles R. Breyer of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted summary judgment to an employer on the age claims brought by several former employees who had signed waivers of their age discrimination claims...

New York Bill Follows California’s Lead to Recognize Professional Cheerleaders as Employees
Dino A. Bovell, July 31, 2015
It’s official—professional cheerleaders are now recognized as employees under California law. On July 15, 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that requires all California-based professional sports teams to pay their cheerleaders the minimum wage. As employees,...

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...

Quest for “Living Wage” Results in Minimum Wage Increases in Kansas City, Missouri
Adam T. Pankratz, July 31, 2015
After months of heated debate, Kansas City, Missouri’s City Council voted to incrementally increase the minimum wage in Kansas City, Missouri over time from the current state-mandated $7.65 per hour to $13.00 per hour in 2020. The first incremental increase takes effect on August 24, 2015,...

The First 100 Days of Ambush Elections: Impact on the Retail and Hospitality Sectors
Diane M. Saunders, July 31, 2015
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) implemented its “ambush” or “quickie” election rules on April 14, 2015. An analysis of available NLRB data on representation election (RC) petitions filed since the effective date of the new rules yields some interesting information...

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...

A Call to Action: The Comment Period on the new Proposed Overtime Regulations Begins
Robert A. Jones, July 15, 2015
On Monday July 6, 2015 the Obama Administration and U.S. Department of Labor (DOL or Department) published their proposal to revise the Part 541 overtime exemption regulations in the Federal Register, beginning the required 60-day comment period.

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...

Should Employers Be Allowed to Count Nondiscretionary Bonuses Toward the FLSA’s Minimum Salary Threshold? The DOL Wants Your Comments
Steven F. Pockrass, July 15, 2015
As we reported last week in “A Call to Action: The Comment Period on the new Proposed Overtime Regulations Begins,” employers have a limited window of opportunity to submit comments in response to the proposed revisions to the white collar overtime regulations that the U.S. Department...

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...

A New Internship Standard-The Second Circuit’s Seven-Factor Test and What it Means for Your Company
Brian Jeffrey Gershengorn,Seth D. Kaufman, July 14, 2015
On July 2, 2015, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision regarding the employment status of unpaid interns that should prove helpful to employers. In Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc., Nos. 13-4478 and 13-4481, the Second Circuit overturned a decision by the U.S. District Court...

Connecticut Court Rules Urine Drug Testing Restrictions Do Not Apply to Hair Drug Testing
Michael Clarkson, July 14, 2015
On May 22, 2015, in an unpublished decision, Judge Andrew W. Roraback of the Connecticut Superior Court (Waterbury Judicial District) found that Connecticut’s statutory restrictions on urine-based drug testing did not apply to hair follicle-based drug testing. In the case, the plaintiff,...

The Proposed Overtime Regulations: What They Say, What They Mean, and What To Do Now
Maria Greco Danaher, July 14, 2015
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued its long-awaited proposed rule that would change the federal regulations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) overtime provisions in a June 30, 2015 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), and the firestorm of praise and criticism has begun.

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...

Massachusetts Attorney General Issues Final Earned Sick Leave Regulations With Substantial Revisions
Mark H. Burak,Rachel Reingold Mandel,David P. Mason, July 03, 2015
As many of you are aware, the July 1, 2015 effective date of the Massachusetts earned sick leave law is looming. In summary, the new law provides that employers of 11 or more employees must provide their Massachusetts employees with job-protected paid sick leave accrued at a rate of 1 hour for...

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 Obama Administration’s Proposed “Labor Violation” Reporting Duties Present Challenges for Federal Contractors
Dara L. DeHaven,W. Gregory Mott,Alfred B. Robinson, July 01, 2015
President Obama’s July 2014 Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order 13673 mandates that federal contracting agencies collect information concerning a potential prime contractor’s 3-year violation history with respect to 14 federal labor, employment, wage payment, and safety laws...

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,...

New Amendment to the Federal Labor Law in Mexico Raises Minimum Age for Employment
Rodolfo Giles Salgado,Pietro Straulino-Rodriguez, June 24, 2015
On June 12, 2015, a new amendment to the Federal Labor Law (FLL) was published in the Official Gazette, increasing the minimum age for employment from 14- to 15-years-old.

New York Federal Courts Increasingly Scrutinize Excessive Attorneys’ Fees in Wage and Hour Class and Collective Actions
Seth D. Kaufman, June 24, 2015
In what is becoming oft-cited language, U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III of the Southern District of New York recently stated regarding the Fair Labor Standards Act that,

OFCCP Files Suit Against Federal Subcontractor Staffing Agency for Alleged Discrimination and Harassment
Janet Q. Lewis, June 24, 2015
In a complaint filed on June 17, 2015, OFCCP alleges that a staffing agency that supplies laborers to work for federal prime construction contractors at the prime contractors’ construction sites, permitted the prime contractors’ supervisors to harass the staffing agency’s Hispanic...

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...

Colorado Supreme Court Affirms Right to Discharge Medical Marijuana User Who Tested Positive in Violation of Zero Tolerance Policy
Raul Chacon,Austin E. Smith, June 19, 2015
Today, the Colorado Supreme Court issued its long-awaited opinion in Coats v. Dish Network, No. 13SC394 (June 15, 2015). The court held that Colorado’s lawful off-duty conduct statute does not prohibit employers from discharging employees who choose to use marijuana for medical purposes...

Massachusetts Attorney General Issues Revised “Safe Harbor” Delaying Full Implementation of New Earned Sick Time Law and Required Posting
David P. Mason, June 19, 2015
On June 10, 2015, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (AGO) issued two important new documents for employers concerning implementation of the new earned sick time law that goes into effect on July 1, 2015. The AGO has held public hearings and listening sessions concerning the proposed...

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...

“Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” Guidance Explains Broad Labor Reporting Requirements for Federal Contractors
Harold P. Coxson,Dara L. DeHaven,Leigh M. Nason,Alfred B. Robinson, June 18, 2015
Today, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published proposed guidance addressing the controversial Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order 13673, which President Obama signed on July 31, 2014 (80 Fed. Reg. 30574 (May 28, 2015)). The Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council also issued...

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...

Hang Up After Hours? The Spring 2015 Regulatory Agenda Tackles This and Other Overtime Issues
Alfred B. Robinson, June 16, 2015
On Thursday, May 21, 2015, the White House, through its executive branch and other federal agencies, issued the Spring 2015 edition of the Semiannual Regulatory Agenda. Published twice a year, the agencies’ regulatory agendas provide an outlook on regulatory activity, identify agency...

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...

Retaliation in the Fourth Circuit: Recent Decision Creates New Challenges for Employers
Tevis Marshall, June 16, 2015
In May 2015, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (which has jurisdiction over federal courts in Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina) issued an opinion with negative consequences for employers facing claims of retaliation. In Foster v. University of Maryland-Eastern...

Supreme Court Rules Employer’s Motive (Not Knowledge) Decides Disparate-Treatment Claims
Hera S. Arsen, June 16, 2015
On June 1, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States decided whether an employer’s obligations under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are triggered only when an applicant has informed the employer of his or her need for an accommodation of a religious practice. In an 8-to-1...

The New Highest Minimum Wage in the Country: Emeryville Expected to Reach $16 Per Hour by 2020
Hera S. Arsen,Brooke S. Purcell, June 16, 2015
As of this week’s vote, the small California city of Emeryville, which is located in San Francisco’s Bay Area, is slated to have one of the highest minimum wage rates in the country. As expected, on June 2, 2015, the Emeryville City Council voted unanimously in favor of a minimum wage...

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...

Rhode Island and Federal Officials Agree to Cooperate in Investigating Independent Contractor Misclassification
Todd M. Torres, June 02, 2015
On May 7, 2015, the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (RI-DLT) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in which they agreed to share information on independent contractor misclassification and coordinate...

Should Employers Guess Their Applicants’ Religion? SCOTUS Expected to Face Accommodations Issues Head On
Hera S. Arsen, June 02, 2015
The Supreme Court of the United States is poised to decide a case that should clarify employers’ obligations to provide applicants with accommodations for their religious practices. Simply put, the question is whether applicants must notify companies of any religious beliefs that would...

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...

Massachusetts AG Announces Safe Harbor Delaying Full Implementation of New Earned Sick Time Law for Some Employers
David P. Mason, May 29, 2015
On May 18, 2015, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (AGO) held the first of several public hearings on proposed regulations concerning implementation of the new earned sick time law passed by Massachusetts voters in November 2014. At that hearing, Attorney General Maura Healey stated...

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....

$15 Per Hour Minimum Wage? Los Angeles and Emeryville Give Seattle a Run for the Money
Hera S. Arsen, May 27, 2015
On May 19, 2015, the Los Angeles City Council voted, 14-to-1, to raise the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour in increments over the next five years. As a result, the city council will draft a proposal to raise the wage rate from $9.00 per hour to $15.00 per hour by 2020. For businesses with 25 or...

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...

EEOC’S Proposed Wellness Program Regulations Offer Guidance on Confidentiality of Employee Medical Information
John G. Stretton, May 15, 2015
On April 20, 2015, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published a much-anticipated proposed rule that seeks to amend the EEOC’s prior regulations with respect to employer “wellness programs” and address the implications of such programs under the Americans...

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...

Wisconsin Supreme Court Holds That Continued Employment Constitutes Adequate Consideration for Restrictive Covenants
Mark A. Johnson, May 15, 2015
The Wisconsin Supreme Court recently issued a decision holding that continued employment is adequate consideration for restrictive covenants. In Runzheimer International, Ltd. v. Friedlen, et al., No. 2013AP1392 (April 30, 2015), the state’s highest court held that an employer’s...

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...

Automobile Service Advisers Are Not Exempt Under the FLSA—At Least Not According to the Ninth Circuit
Seth E. Ort, May 13, 2015
Navarro v. Encino Motorcars, LLC, No. 13-55323 (March 24, 2015): The plaintiffs in Navarro v. Encino Motorcars, LLC were “service advisors” at a Mercedes Benz dealership. The main duties of service advisors are to evaluate the repair needs of customers’ vehicles and then to...

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 Court of Appeal Reminds Employers About the Importance of Thorough Harassment Investigations
Jaclyn A. Simi, May 13, 2015
Dawson v. Country Club of Rancho Bernardo, No. D064654 (March 23, 2015): In an unpublished opinion, a California Court of Appeal reversed an order granting summary judgment in favor of the employer, Country Club of Rancho Bernardo, in a food and beverage manager’s sexual harassment case...

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...

Caltrans Liable for Failure to Properly Address Employee’s Requests for Accommodation
Nisha Verma, May 13, 2015
Kamali v. California Department of Transportation, No. B247756 (March 17, 2015): In an unpublished opinion, the California Court of Appeal recently upheld a jury’s verdict finding the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) liable for failure to provide a reasonable accommodation...

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 City Passes Bill Prohibiting Employers From Requesting or Using Credit History in Employment Decisions
Evan B. Citron, May 13, 2015
On April 16, 2015, the New York City Council passed a bill to amend the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) to prohibit employers from requesting or using an individual’s credit history in making employment decisions. The bill (Intro. No. 261-A, 2014) would make it an unlawful...

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...

Spring: A Time for Change in UK Employment and Data Protection Law
Pia Padfield, May 01, 2015
Spring is always a time for new beginnings: the end of the financial year and the start of a new one, government election season, and time to advance clocks forward for daylight saving time. In the United Kingdom, spring also heralds new changes in employment and data protection laws. Below are...

The WARN Act An "Employment Loss" by any Other Name Would Smell
David Lee Zwisler, May 01, 2015
The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988 (WARN Act) requires covered employers to provide affected workers 60 calendar days’ notice prior to a plant closing or a mass layoff that results in an employment loss. Whether a reduction in workers constitutes a...

Three Tips on Avoiding Summer Internship Headaches
Diane M. Saunders, May 01, 2015
Spring is here and retailers across the country are considering hiring summer interns in areas such as finance, communications, marketing, merchandising, production, and public relations. Internships serve a valuable training role for students interested in retail careers, and they provide an...

Two-Year Preapproved Defined Contribution Plan Window is Still Open
Christina M. Crockett, May 01, 2015
Retirement plan vendors sponsoring defined contribution plan documents approved by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have begun issuing packages containing the new IRS-approved version of those documents-reflecting the Pension Protection Act and other required regulatory updates-to employers that...

City of St. Petersburg, Florida Passes Wage Theft Ordinance
Edmund J. McKenna, April 30, 2015
Under the new City of St. Petersburg “wage theft” ordinance, an employer commits wage theft when the employer fails to pay wages, or a portion of wages, due to an employee within a “reasonable time” (typically 14 business days) from the date on which that employee performed...

Decisions Raise Bar on Waiver of Arbitration Agreements Under Texas Law
Lawrence D. Smith, April 30, 2015
While employers may enter into arbitration agreements with employees relatively easily, ensuring the enforcement of arbitration agreements can be a different matter. For this reason, employers are rightfully cautious to avoid taking any steps in litigation that a trial court might consider to be a...

Employers Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Another Puzzling “Status Quo” Case Decided On Other Grounds
Matthew J. Kelley, April 30, 2015
The National Labor Relations Board (Board) recently decided a case previously remanded back to it by the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals. The Board’s decision in Arc Bridges, Inc., 362 NLRB No. 56, March 31, 2015, circumvents a now common problem for employers by relying on...

Employers Can Decide That Physical Presence at the Workplace is an Essential Function
Kelly S. Hughes, April 30, 2015
On April 10, 2015, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its long-awaited en banc decision in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Ford Motor Company following a vacated panel decision from April 2014 in which a divided panel had reversed a district court’s summary judgment award in...

Getting with the (Wellness) Program: EEOC Proposes New ADA Regulations for Wellness Programs
Jeanne Ellen Floyd,Ruth Anne Collins Michels, April 30, 2015
For some time, employers have faced uncertainty about the status of their wellness programs under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). While the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have allowed employers to provide financial...

Massachusetts Attorney General Issues Proposed Regulations on Implementation of New Earned Sick Time Law
David P. Mason, April 30, 2015
As we detailed in November 2014, Massachusetts voters last fall approved a new law mandating that employers provide earned sick time to their employees. Under the new law, employers with 11 or more employees must provide paid sick leave for workers and smaller employers must provide unpaid sick...

NLRB's New "Ambush Election" Rules Go Into Effect: Is Your Organization Ready?
Harold P. Coxson,C. Thomas Davis,Eric C. Stuart, April 30, 2015
On April 14, 2015, after a four-year battle, the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) final “ambush election” rules, which will dramatically shorten the time between requests for a vote and a union election, go into effect. The controversial new rules will significantly alter...

New Law Restricts Employer Access to Employee Social Media Accounts, Including Through “Friend Requests”
John G. Stretton, April 30, 2015
On March 23, 2015, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed a new law, H.B. 2081, that restricts the ability of employers in Virginia to access the social media accounts of current and prospective employees-making Virginia the nineteenth state to enact such legislation. The other 18 states include...

New Massachusetts Minimum Wage Regulations Contain Significant Changes
Diane M. Saunders, April 30, 2015
While the January 2015 increases in the Massachusetts minimum wage for regular and tipped employees have received considerable attention and publicity, the Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards (DLS) also issued new minimum wage regulations to little fanfare. The new regulations have been...

Noncompete Law in France-Payment of a Noncompete is Required During Garden Leave
Rebecca L. Marks, April 30, 2015
In France, a valid noncompete clause in an employment contract must provide for the payment of financial compensation to the departing employee, as long as the employee remains bound by and complies with the clause’s terms and conditions. But when must the payment of compensation commence?...

Oil Field Employers Post-McMaster: Still Searching for Clarity on the TCA’s Impact on the Motor Carrier Act Exemption
Jennifer G. Betts, April 30, 2015
In McMaster v. Eastern Armored Services, Inc., No. 14-1010 (March 11, 2015), the Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued one of the first federal appellate court opinions discussing the SAFETEA-LU Technical Corrections Act of 2008 (TCA). The TCA is an uncodified amendment to the Fair Labor...

Overtime Changes Threaten the Exempt Status of Retail and Hospitality Managers
Diane M. Saunders, April 30, 2015
The National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Committee on Employment Law held its spring meeting last week, and one of the hottest topics on the minds of the attendees concerned the impact that the U.S. Department of Labor’s proposed changes to the overtime regulations would have on retail...

The New Wave of Data Breach Settlements
Madi Bakker,Ashley Prickett Cuttino, April 30, 2015
4.8 million. 10 million. 15 million. 25 million. Before 2014, these large numbers were likely to represent the number of individuals affected by a data breach. Today, they are the dollar figures that companies must spend to put a breach in the past-and that’s just the cost of settlement....