Category Archives: Employment Counseling & Workplace Claims Prevention

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Joint Employer Standard: Whiplash!

In a surprising move, the National Labor Relations Board has overturned its recent decision that had overruled an expansive joint employer standard set forth by the previous Obama-era Board.  So, at least for the time being, where an entity has reserved the right to control employees with another entity – even if that control was never exercised –  the Board … Continue Reading

Another Circuit Says Title VII Prohibits Sexual Orientation Discrimination

A second federal appellate court has ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on their sexual orientation. The ruling is in line with the EEOC’s interpretation of the law, but at odds with the interpretation by the current administration’s Department of Justice.

The case, Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc., involved … Continue Reading

Is The EEOC’s Background Check Guidance In Jeopardy?

Employers that have been frustrated with the EEOC’s position on how they can use arrest and conviction records, take note: earlier this month, a federal court in Texas enjoined the EEOC and the Attorney General of the United States from enforcing the EEOC’s “Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII” (the … Continue Reading

Technical Violations of Statutes May No Longer Be Enough

“Have you been injured?”  No longer just a query for auto accident victims, plaintiffs must increasingly be able to answer “yes” to that question before bringing suits for violations of statutory rights.

Once upon a time, a technical violation was enough. However, following the Supreme Court’s decision in Spokeo v. Robbins (2016), courts have been increasingly reluctant to permit … Continue Reading

An Employer’s Guide to Litigation Holds

Employers have a duty to preserve information that is potentially relevant to anticipated or existing litigation and failure to comply with that duty can have dire consequences. As such, issuing a litigation hold should be at the top of every employer’s to-do list once placed on notice of a lawsuit, an administrative charge, an agency investigation or any other claim … Continue Reading

In the Continuing Battle Over Standing, Fair Credit Reporting Act Class Action Plaintiffs Must Show Actual Injury For Failure to Provide Stand Alone Notice

Employers who run background checks on prospective employees take note – applicants who sue prospective employers for Fair Credit Reporting Act violations for failure to provide notice in a stand-alone format may not be able to maintain a lawsuit unless they can show that they suffered an actual injury. As employers should know, the Fair Credit Reporting Act has specific … Continue Reading

Risks And Costs Of Using PTO Buckets In A Paid Leave Statute World

With a growing number of states and cities implementing paid sick leave statutes, employers with PTO policies may be wondering whether it still makes sense to bundle different types of time off – sick, personal, and vacation – into a single bucket. The good news is that employers generally do not have to change their policies so long as they … Continue Reading

The New Interview Taboo: Salary History Inquiries

Inquiries employers may make concerning job applicants have been under close scrutiny. Many states and cities already limit an employer’s ability to use or inquire about an applicant’s credit or criminal history. Now add salary history to the list of topics that may be off limits during an interview, depending on where your company operates. … Continue Reading

Protected Conduct or Hate Speech? Managing Diverse Viewpoints in the Workplace

Recent events have underscored the difficulties employers face in managing diverse workforces in which employees hold a wide-range of political perspectives.  The mere discussion of the news of the day can create divisive conflicts, especially since some employees might feel emboldened to express views once thought to be offensive or taboo, while others, in turn, believe they are compelled to … Continue Reading

Gender Identity Discrimination – Prohibited or Not?

Still confused as to where the Trump administration stands on whether Title VII prohibits discrimination based on gender identity? Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recent announcement should clarify that for you. So what’s an employer to do now that the Department of Justice has been instructed to take the position that Title VII does not bar gender identity discrimination but the … Continue Reading

Mandatory Flu Vaccination Policies: Time for a Check-Up

After a measles outbreak at Disneyland spread to 134 Californians and residents in six other states and two other countries, California adopted a law removing “personal belief” exemptions from vaccinating children in public or private schools or childcare centers. But employers faced with choosing between wanting a healthy work-site and respecting individual worker’s beliefs about vaccines lack such clear direction. … Continue Reading

Disasters and the Workforce: Navigating Stormy Waters

Thousands of Florida coastal residents were ordered to evacuate last week in anticipation of Hurricane Irma, even as their employers remained open. A pizza restaurant manager made headlines when he threatened action against employees who chose to miss shifts to evacuate. Other employers instructed employees not to report and planned to close their offices part of this week. What are … Continue Reading

Dogged by Dogs at Work: Barking Up the Wrong Tree?

Suppose you hire Kristin Chenoweth to be your new TV show host, and she shows up on the set with her dog Thunder, claiming she needs the dog for emotional support. Must you allow this distraction?

Or suppose her third cousin shows up at your restaurant with Thunder’s twin bearing a “service animal tag,” yapping away and disturbing servers and … Continue Reading

DOL Calling for Input: At What Salary Should A Worker Be Exempt From Overtime?

Now that the Department of Labor has gone back to the drawing board with the new regulation that set a $47,476 threshold salary for white collar employees to be exempt from overtime, it would like to hear from you.… Continue Reading

Predictive Scheduling and the Fight for a “Fair Workweek”: What Employers Need to Know

Retailers and fast food companies in particular should be aware of the growing push for “fair workweek” legislation at the city, state, and federal levels. In just the past few years, over a dozen states and cities have considered enacting such laws, which are designed to ensure that employees are given consistent, predictable schedules. (They have therefore also been termed … Continue Reading

DOL Drops New Salary Regulation

The Department of Labor is abandoning the new salary regulation that set a  $47,476 threshold salary for employees to be exempt from overtime and intends to go back to the drawing board, based on a brief filed by the DOL on June 30, 2017.

The regulation, which more than doubled the current salary threshold, would have made an estimated 4 … Continue Reading

Steps for Solving the Wage Deduction Dilemma

Figuring out what deductions from an employee’s wages are permitted and prohibited under the law is a quandary. May an employer deduct an employee’s wages for personal charges on the company’s credit card? What about the cost to replace company property the employee lost or damaged? And what if an employee resigns and never returns the company-issued laptop or other … Continue Reading

Employees in Educational Programs: Expanded Options for Suits

Employers who are operating educational programs or activities – whether inside or outside educational institutions – take note: a recent court decision adds to a split in the federal appellate courts by allowing employees more than one avenue of relief for employment discrimination claims.  … Continue Reading

New, Even Broader, Joint Employer Test Adopted

Employers may think the concept of joint employer being pushed by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is overly broad, but a recent decision by a federal appellate court in Richmond, Virginia adopts the most expansive definition yet. Last month the federal appellate court pronounced that two entities or individuals should be considered a joint employer of the same worker … Continue Reading

State and Local Governments: Battling for Control of Workplace Laws

While local governments are increasingly seeking to regulate the workplace, many states are taking aggressive action to counter these efforts. Over the past several years, more than 20 states have enacted preemption laws which prevent such localities from increasing the minimum wage, expanding anti-discrimination protections, requiring employers to provide paid sick leave, and regulating employee meal breaks and rest periods. … Continue Reading

Whistleblower Split Widens

Employers take heed: there is a further split in authority as to whether whistleblowers are protected under the Dodd-Frank Act if they only report securities-law violations internally, and not to the Securities and Exchange Commission. A recent decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals adds to the existing split among federal appellate courts as to who is entitled … Continue Reading