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Does Title VII cover sexual orientation claims? It depends.

In July 2015, the EEOC officially took the position that sexual orientation claims may be brought under the non-discrimination provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, in the recent case of Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College, the Seventh Circuit refused to accept the EEOC’s position and affirmed the dismissal … Continue reading

DOL issues sex discrimination final rule

On June 14, 2016, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued a Final Rule to revise its sex discrimination policies, updating its guidelines to provide additional guidance on what constitutes discrimination based on sex. The updated guidelines define “sex” to include gender identity, transgender status, pregnancy, and … Continue reading

Minnesota addresses architectural barriers to public places: 2016 amendments to its Human Rights Act

Introduction Minnesota businesses may soon see differences in disability access claims. On May 22, 2016, Minnesota’s Governor Mark Dayton signed into law a new amendment to the Minnesota Human Rights Act (“MHRA”). The amendment governs what must occur before attorneys can bring suit under the MHRA challenging architectural barriers that limit accessibility to public spaces. … Continue reading

US DOL finalizes new rule expanding overtime coverage

The US Department of Labor (DOL) has finalized a new rule expanding the number of employees entitled to receive overtime pay for work in excess of 40 hours in a regular workweek, by doubling the salary needed for executive, administrative, and professional workers to qualify as exempt and by raising the compensation needed to qualify … Continue reading

DOL’s new salary rule is a mixed bag for employers

Adding to the recent flurry of federal regulatory activity, on May 18, 2016, the United States Department of Labor‘s Wage and Hour Division issued a final rule on overtime that raises the salary threshold for exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Defining and delimiting the exemptions for executive, administrative, professional, outside sales and computer employees … Continue reading

Retaliation and whistleblower claims in healthcare expected to remain high

The number of retaliation and whistleblower claims in the US continue to rise. According to data released by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), retaliation claims made up 44.5 percent of all charges filed in 2015.  Also, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reported a 6 percent increase in the number of whistleblower cases … Continue reading

EEOC continues its efforts to incorporate sexual orientation and gender identity into Title VII protections

On March 1, 2016, the EEOC filed two cases with one clear goal: to expand the meaning of “sex” under Title VII. In EEOC v. Scott Medical Health Center, P.C., Case No. 2:16-cv-00225-CB (W.D. Pa.),  the agency alleges that the defendant harassed an openly gay male employee because of his sexual orientation, thereby committing unlawful … Continue reading

2016 Defend Trade Secrets Act creates federal cause of action for theft of trade secrets

(and don’t forget to update your handbooks or employment agreements) Congress passes Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 Yesterday, Congress broke new ground in federal law, passing the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016. Once it receives the expected signature from the President, the DTSA will create a federal private cause of action for misappropriation … Continue reading

Texas’ new open carry law

Effective January 1, 2016, licensed Texas residents are permitted to openly carry a handgun. Specifically, the new law authorizes individuals to obtain a license to openly carry a handgun in a shoulder or hip holster, but it continues to prohibit any weapons in 9 specific locations including schools, polling places, courts and court offices, secured … Continue reading

Highest court to revisit birth control coverage under ACA

The 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA), the United States’ controversial health care coverage act, requires group health plans and insurers to cover preventive care and screenings for women. Under the related regulations, this coverage includes government-approved contraceptive methods, but the group health plan of a religious employer may be exempt from providing such coverage or … Continue reading

Hitting a moving target: a year of expansion for federal contractor regulation and enforcement

Over the past year, the bar for U.S. federal contractor compliance has been raised considerably.  Between the Executive Orders issued by President Obama and the recent uptick in the number and dollar amount of settlements involving Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), the risks to contractors who fail to make the leap are greater than … Continue reading

Recent developments in California labor and employment law

Recent California labor and employment law developments could signal good news for employers facing individual and/or representative claims under California’s Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”).  Specifically, a newly-enacted state law could potentially help rein-in the rising number of individual and representative PAGA claims by providing employers an opportunity to remedy certain “technical” Labor Code violations … Continue reading

What are the employment implications of the transfer of a business in the US?

When a buyer acquires the assets of another company, both the buyer and the seller must focus on federal and state laws in the United States which impact on employees who transition on the sale of the business.  For example, if a sufficient number of employees are affected, the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act … Continue reading

The prohibition on employment discrimination based on “sex” takes many forms

Numerous federal, state, and local laws in the United States prohibit employers from making employment decisions based on an employee’s or job applicant’s sex and thus protecting employees from being discriminated against based on their “sex”. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the principle federal law which prohibits discrimination based on … Continue reading

U.S. Supreme Court to rule on circuit split regarding timeliness of constructive discharge complaints

On November 30th, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case of Green v. Donahoe, 760 F.3d 1135, 1137 (10th Cir. 2014) regarding the timeliness of an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEO”) complaint alleging constructive discharge under Title VII. Currently five circuits have held that the filing period begins when an employee resigns. … Continue reading

Notice rights – what rights do employees have to notice of termination of employment in the US?

Employees in the United States are generally considered employed at-will in most jurisdictions, meaning that either the employee or the employer can terminate the relationship at any time, for any reason or no reason at all, without providing notice. The general rule gives way, however, in limited circumstances which trigger certain federal (and potentially state-specific) … Continue reading

New executive order issued requiring federal contractors to offer employees paid sick leave

As he heads into the final year of his presidency, and in the face of continued Congressional impasse, President Obama continues to exercise his executive authority to issue directives targeting the federal contractor workforce. A new executive order requires that federal contractors offer employees up to seven days of paid sick leave.  Eligible employees will … Continue reading

You are not the boss of me…or ARE you?

On August 27, 2015 the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), in a high-impact, 3-2 decision along party lines, handed labor unions a significant advantage in their enforcement of collective bargaining laws by significantly modifying its longstanding “joint employer” standard. The ruling will surely leave countless businesses potentially liable for violations of labor laws committed by … Continue reading

The New School graduate students seek review of dismissal of petition

In a decision issued on February 6, 2015 the Regional Director of the National Labor Relations Board, Region 2, dismissed a petition for union representation with The New School filed by a putative labor organization, Student Employees at The New School (SENS), which is affiliated with the UAW. SENS filed its petition for recognition as … Continue reading

Paid sick days law in California is amended

The California Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (“the Act”) went into effect on January 1, 2015, but its key accrual and use provisions became effective on July 1. On July 13, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 304, amending California’s Sick Leave law to make immediate changes. Those amendments state: Employers may … Continue reading

NLRB passes on football players’ employee status

On August 17, 2015, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) declined to assert jurisdiction to determine whether the Northwestern University (Northwestern) scholarship football players should be considered employees under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). In April, we reported that the Regional Director of Region 13 of the NLRB found that scholarship football players from … Continue reading

What same-sex marriage means for employers

In June the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the equal protection guarantee provided by the Fourteenth Amendment to opposite-sex marriages extends to same-sex marriages. The opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, holds that “same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry in all States” and that … Continue reading
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