As the East Coast braces for yet another hurricane, we should contemplate the impact that natural disasters can have on employees and employers, both personally and professionally. While individuals prepare their homes and employers prepare their businesses for the physical damage, employers will benefit from also assessing the practical and legal implications surrounding the unpredictable events Mother Nature throws our way—and planning accordingly.
In Pena v. Honeywell International, Inc., issued on July 22, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit denied a former employee’s petition for rehearing en banc of the court’s April 26, 2019, decision addressing whether her inconsistent statements on her Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits application and complaint precluded her from bringing a claim pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Employers, you see this movie all too often. You tolerate, and then ultimately discharge, a poor-performing employee who displays a bad attitude. Unfortunately, supervisors have not documented the employee’s prior instances of insubordinate and adversarial behavior. In addition, he hurt himself on the job, filed a workers’ compensation claim, and presented medical restrictions. In his mind, he cannot believe that he was the problem. So he sues, alleging that you failed to accommodate his disability and unlawfully terminated his employment.
The Texas Legislature’s 86th session adjourned on May 27, 2019, and there is little likelihood that the governor will call a special session. The legislature primarily focused on educational reforms this year. Regarding employment matters, most observers expected the legislature to adopt laws preempting any attempt by municipalities to pass paid sick leave laws. While the legislature failed to pass any such law, they did pass other laws impacting the employer-employee relationship.
On June 11, 2019, Governor Kate Brown signed into law the Oregon Workplace Fairness Act (SB 726), which will significantly impact all Oregon employers. The Act addresses concerns of the #MeToo movement by imposing strict requirements on how Oregon employers respond to complaints of harassment and discrimination. The legislation also significantly increases the statute of limitations within which an employee may assert a claim of discrimination, from one year to five years.
Lawmakers in Maine closed out the 2019 legislative session with a flurry of activity. Legislators passed more than 500 bills this year, including 50 on the final day, with many targeting the state’s employment laws.
On June 26, 2019, in Kisor v. Wilkie, the Supreme Court of the United States declined to overrule its prior decisions in Auer v. Robbins, 519 U.S. 452 (1997) and Bowles v. Seminole Rock & Sand Co., 325 U.S. 410 (1945). These cases introduced the practice of judicial deference to a federal agency’s interpretation of an ambiguous regulation. Many courts and scholars criticize Auer deference for various reasons and believed that the Supreme Court’s decision in Kisor would overrule Auer. Instead, the Court upheld the longstanding precedent, but imposed new “guidance” on when to apply Auer deference.
In a matter of first impression before the court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently held in Richardson v. Chicago Transit Authority, Nos. 17-3508 and 18-2199 (June 12, 2019), that obesity is not a protected disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) unless a plaintiff can demonstrate that it is caused by an underlying physiological disorder or condition. With the decision, the Seventh Circuit brought clarity to a novel issue previously unresolved for employers in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.
On the last day of the 2019–2020 legislative session, the New York State Senate and Assembly passed an omnibus bill. This legislation, once effective, will overhaul New York’s antidiscrimination laws and uproot precedent that employers have relied upon for decades in defending harassment claims.
You have probably heard the phrases “fourth industrial revolution” and the “future of work.” Both refer to changes in the way people live, work, and relate to one another due to rapid developments in technology. Here are five things you should know about advanced technologies and the workplace.
After ending 2018 with a slew of new employment laws, Illinois continues to enact legislation impacting employers. Following the example set by California, Washington, and other states recently, the Illinois legislature passed four new bills targeting equity, transparency, and discrimination last week, and Governor J. B. Pritzker is expected to sign them into law.
On June 3, 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the precondition in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requiring employees to file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) before commencing an action in court is not jurisdictional. Rather, the charge-filing requirement is a “nonjurisdictional claim-processing rule,” Justice Ginsburg wrote in a unanimous opinion. “[A] rule may be mandatory without being jurisdictional, and Title VII’s charge-filing requirement fits that bill,” the Court ruled.
The justices of the Supreme Court of the United States have again limited the reach of Chevron deference. On May 28, 2019, the Court in Smith v. Berryhill carved another exception into what has lately proven to be its least-favored precedent. It held that Chevron deference does not apply to the scope of judicial review.
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Equality Act, a bill that would amend federal law (including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
On May 17, 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 880 individual cases of measles had been confirmed in 23 states across the country in 2019. According to the CDC, the current outbreak of measles represents the greatest number of cases reported in the United States since 1994 and since the disease was declared eliminated in 2000.
On April 22, 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States granted certiorari in a trio of cases, which will finally allow the Court to decide whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or an individual’s status as transgender (or transitioning).
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently reminded employers that, even under the more liberal standard for establishing a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), an employee who claims he or she cannot perform the major life activity of “working” has to do more than prove a substantial limitation in working in a single specific job.
On March 21, 2019, finding in favor of an employer seeking summary judgment, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, in Lewis v. City of Union City, clarified the definition of “similarly situated” comparators for claims of intentional discrimination, jettisoning the commonly cited “nearly identical” and “same or similar” standards in favor of a test asking whether comparators are “similarly situated in all material respects.”
You have probably heard the term “blockchain,” most likely in the context of Bitcoin. You have also probably seen splashy headlines suggesting that blockchain is the next game-changing technology that will upend the business world. This article will demystify blockchain technology and identify some of its potential applications for human resources (HR).
On February 22, 2019, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to update and amend procedural regulations to fully digitize the EEOC’s charge processing and records systems, clarify the meaning and significance of a “no cause” determination, and delegate the issuance of dismissals to lower-level EEOC employees.
The acronym SLAPP stands for “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation.” A SLAPP lawsuit seeks to chill, dissuade, or punish a party’s exercise of constitutional rights to free speech and to petition the government for redress of grievances.
The hiring process can be one of the most stressful steps of any employment relationship. As the employer, you are opening your doors to somebody who is hopefully going to contribute to your company’s success. Moreover, hiring is a process that requires both time and money. Thus, employers often want to expedite the hiring process.
Super Bowl Sunday might feel familiar this year with New England making its third consecutive appearance. However, this year’s big game is anything but ordinary as it is the first Super Bowl where sports betting is legal in the United States outside of Nevada.
New York State and New York City passed sweeping laws aimed at combating sexual harassment in the workplace last year. While many requirements of these laws already went into effect in 2018, the annual anti–sexual harassment training requirement under the Stop Sexual Harassment in New York City Act goes into effect on April 1, 2019.
On January 8, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas issued an opinion and order granting summary judgment to an employer, finding the employer did not violate the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by discontinuing an employee’s shift differential due to absences necessitated by FMLA leave.
In 2011, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed the Tennessee Civil Justice Act, a tort reform measure limiting monetary damages. Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-39-104. This law places a cap on punitive damages of two times the compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever is greater.
The midterm elections that took place in November 2018 have the employer community wondering what to expect in 2019.
Employers frequently use written warnings as part of their formal progressive discipline policies. How and when to use these warnings can sometimes be tricky.
How long has it been since your organization updated its employee handbook? It’s time to brush off any layers of dust that have accumulated over the years and make it a priority to conduct a review prior to the year’s end.
The United States is certainly as divided as ever along partisan lines leading up to the November 6, 2018 midterm elections. Many employers across the country are uneasy about managing heated political discussions in their workplaces without running afoul of employment laws.