Seventh Circuit Holds That Collective and Class Action Waivers in Arbitration Agreements are Unenforceable

Posted in Labor Relations

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that collective and class action waivers contained in arbitration agreements with employees are unenforceable and violate the National Labor Relations Act. Reaching the opposite conclusion as the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and siding with the NLRB, the Seventh Circuit also held that the Federal Arbitration Act does not alter this outcome. The arbitration agreement in question did not allow the employee to opt out, but the Seventh Circuit suggested that arbitration agreements with class and collective action waivers would be unenforceable regardless of the employee’s right to opt out.

Employers operating in Illinois should review their arbitration agreements with counsel and consider the impact of the Seventh Circuit’s ruling on those agreements. The case is Lewis v. Epic Systems Corp., No. 15-2997 (7th Cir. May 26, 2016).

Long-Awaited New Overtime Rule Issued

Posted in Employment Investigations & Audits, Wage & Hour

Beginning December 1, 2016 employers will have to pay “white collar” workers a salary of $47,476 ($912 a week) and ensure that they meet certain job duties tests established by law or else pay them overtime, under new regulations issued this week by the U.S. Department of Labor. Bonuses and commissions can count toward as much as 10 percent of the salary threshold, provided they are made on a quarterly or more frequent basis. Continue Reading

Attention Employers: Action Required Before Having Employees or Contractors Sign Non-Disclosure Agreements

Posted in Non-Compete & Trade Secret Litigation

Yesterday, President Obama signed the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 into law, the details of which we reported in a recent Akerman Practice Update. The Act allows companies for the first time to bring trade secret theft claims under federal law. Continue Reading

New York State Increases Minimum Wage and Enacts Paid Family Leave

Posted in Medical & Other Leaves, Wage & Hour

For employers with employees in New York State, the cost of doing business in the state is going to go up due to recent legislation.  New York State recently passed the following two important changes in the law which will impact all employees in the state: (a) an incremental increase in the minimum wage, and (b) paid family leave. Continue Reading

Representative Evidence May Or May Not Be Sufficient

Posted in Wage & Hour

A recent U.S. Supreme Court case holding that representative evidence can be used in class/collective actions to the same extent that it could be used in an individual action may not have the broad application hoped for by the plaintiff’s bar. In Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo, the Court held it permissible for the class representatives in a wage and hour class/collective action to utilize an expert report to establish the average time spent by workers donning and doffing protective gear in a pork processing plant in Iowa. The workers were required to wear protective gear, but which gear depended on the tasks a worker performed on a given day. Tyson compensated some, but not all, employees for this donning and doffing, and did not record the time each employee spent on those activities. Continue Reading

Why You Should Make Your Website ADA Accessible Now

Posted in Employment Counseling & Workplace Claims Prevention

Even though the deadline for creating accessibility standards has been pushed back to 2018, private businesses are at risk now if they have not yet taken measures to ensure that their websites can be accessed by individuals with disabilities. In fact, just last month a blind man in California successfully argued that a Colorado-based luggage retailer failed to make its commercial website accessible to the visually impaired in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and a California disability law. In Davis v. BMI/BND Travelware, Case. No. CIV-DS-1504682, the court granted judgment to the plaintiff before trial, finding that he “presented sufficient evidence that he was denied full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, privileges, and accommodations offered by Defendant because of his disability.” Continue Reading

EEOC Announces Launch of Online Charge Status System

Posted in Employment Counseling & Workplace Claims Prevention, Employment Discrimination Harassment & Retaliation

Employers can now electronically monitor and respond to EEOC charges of discrimination via a secure online portal. This means employers can receive updates and transmit information to the EEOC much more quickly than in the past. The EEOC’s Online Charge Status System is now available and can be accessed at This system also allows charging parties to electronically monitor the status their charge. The EEOC piloted this system last year in a select number of EEOC offices. Now, the system provides electronic access to current information on charges filed on or after September 2, 2015 with EEOC offices nationwide. The online system is not available for charges filed before this date or for charges filed with the EEOC’s state and local Fair Employment Practices Agencies. Continue Reading

EEOC Tells Employers To Reconsider Their Position On Position Statements

Posted in Employment Discrimination Harassment & Retaliation

Employers should be specific in position statements they submit to the EEOC, and must recognize that those position statements and supporting documents will now routinely be sent to the charging party for further response, under new guidelines and procedures issued recently by the EEOC. Continue Reading