A recent ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts in a restrictive covenant case, Ascend Learning, LLC v. Bryan and SPIN-Learning, LLC, No. 22-cv-11978 (August 16, 2023), has implications for the “material change” doctrine under Massachusetts law, the state’s prohibition against noncompetition covenants for registered nurses, and personal jurisdiction over corporate entities.
Just days before New York State’s pay transparency law went into effect, the state labor department unveiled new proposed regulations that seek to clarify employers’ obligations under the new law.
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia recently rejected a school principal’s argument that remote work was a reasonable accommodation for her asthma and restrictive lung disease that she claimed were exacerbated by the poor condition of the school building in which she worked.
On September 6, 2023, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed a law that prohibits employers from requiring employees to attend employer-sponsored meetings the “primary purpose” of which is to communicate the employer’s opinions on religious or political matters, including relating to joining a labor organization. The new law, which took immediate effect, comes amid a wider push against so-called “captive audience” meetings.
The New York state law requiring employers to disclose expected compensation ranges in advertisements for jobs, promotions, and transfers takes effect on September 17, 2023. The law requires employers with four or more employees to disclose the minimum and maximum annual salary or hourly wage in advertisements for jobs, promotions, and transfers, including in electronic job postings.
On August 14, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit issued a decision—Marcus v. American Contract Bridge League—clarifying and applying the standards for determining whether an employee qualifies for the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) administrative exemption, and thus whether the employee is entitled to overtime payments under the FLSA.
California is one step closer to becoming the first state to enact legislation banning caste-based discrimination. Senate Bill No. 403 adds caste to the list of characteristics protected by the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, the Unruh Civil Rights Act, and the California Education Code.
Many employers with at least fifty employees in the six-county Chicago area will have to provide their full-time employees with pre-tax public transit benefits starting January 1, 2024, under a new Illinois law.
The city of Evanston, Illinois, recently enacted the Fair Workweek Ordinance (24-O-23), expanding hourly workers’ rights to predictable scheduling across multiple industries, including hospitality, food service and restaurants, retail, warehouse services, manufacturing, and building services.
On September 1, 2023, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill (SB) 699 into law, prohibiting employers from entering into or attempting to enforce noncompete agreements, which are void under state law. Meanwhile, another bill, Assembly Bill (AB) 1076, which would reinforce the state’s broad ban on noncompete agreements, nears passage in the state legislature. Together, the bills come amid a nationwide push to ban noncompete agreements and other restrictive covenants in employment and further California’s leading public policy stance against such agreements.
As the September 14, 2023, deadline to pass bills during the current session of the California Legislature fast approaches, the California Senate and Assembly are considering several employment law bills. Many are likely to pass. Below is a summary of some of the more significant bills.
On August 28, 2023, California State Senator Dave Cortese (D-15) announced last-minute amendments to Senate Bill (SB) No. 553. SB 553, if enacted, would require virtually every employer in California to adopt comprehensive workplace violence prevention plans, starting on July 1, 2024.
Missouri’s Siddens Bening Hands Free Law went into effect on August 28, 2023. The new law prohibits the use of cell phones and other handheld devices while driving on any highway or public roadway in Missouri.
The California Civil Rights Council recently amended the regulations interpreting California’s 2018 Fair Chance Act, which go into effect October 1, 2023. The new regulations add restrictions, make clarifications, and significantly change the California background check process.
University athletic administrators all across the country are welcoming back their athletes for the 2023–2024 athletic season. Athletes and coaches alike will meet with compliance administrators for a refresher on National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) bylaws, nutritionists to discuss proper nutrition, and even media relations staff to discuss media obligations. What sometimes can be forgotten in the hustle and bustle of college athletics—and the desire to get to the practice field as quickly as possible—is the need to ensure that coaches, administrators, and athletes alike are being trained on proper behavior and reporting mechanisms. Though sitting through multiple presentations may not be as fun as hitting the weight room, a failure to appropriately train athletes, coaches, and administrators may have catastrophic impacts on an institution and individual employees.
The Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Nevada OSHA) seeks to implement a new regulation aimed at preventing heat-related illnesses and ensuring the well-being of workers in the state. While this regulation did not pass during the 2023 legislative session, it may still be brought during a special session. Nevada OSHA may still issue citations related to heat-related illnesses under its general duty clause.
On August 18, 2023, in Hamilton v. Dallas County, the full Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upended long-standing precedent, significantly broadening the types of adverse employment actions that could give rise to an actionable claim. Prior to this decision, and for nearly thirty years, Fifth Circuit precedent required a plaintiff under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to show he or she had been subjected to an “ultimate employment decision” to state a cognizable discrimination claim.
On August 17, 2023, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) Standards Board held its monthly meeting and received public comments on the proposed indoor heat illness prevention standard. Multiple stakeholders expressed concerns about the proposed regulation’s overbroad scope, lack of scientific data to support the control measures, and foreseeable undue burden on employers.
The Hawaiian island of Maui has been ravaged by unprecedented and quickly moving wildfires, which have taken a particular toll on hospitality employers. As the U.S. enters peak hurricane season, the Hawaiian and Canadian wildfires and the flooding caused by the recent California tropical storm serve as a reminder for employers to consider implementation or revision of their disaster plans, among other legal and practical considerations.
Illinois has joined the wave of jurisdictions passing pay transparency requirements. On August 11, 2023, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill into law that will require employers to include pay ranges in job postings beginning in 2025.
On July 27, 2023, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals held in Mosley v. Oakwood Lutheran Senior Ministries that verbal disclosure of an employee’s COVID-19 status does not support a violation of Wisconsin healthcare record disclosure laws or a cause of action for invasion of privacy.
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that an employee with a disability may be entitled to an Americans with Disabilities Act accommodation to get to work when attendance in the workplace is an essential job function and the accommodation is reasonable under the circumstances.
An Illinois federal court recently rejected an online eyewear retailer’s request for attorneys’ fees as the prevailing party in a Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA or Privacy Act) class action over its virtual try-on (VTO) tools. The district judge had previously dismissed the case with prejudice under the Privacy Act’s health care exemption.
On August 7, 2023, the Illinois Department of Labor filed emergency rules and proposed permanent rules to implement House Bill 2862 (Public Act 103-0437), which amended the Day and Temporary Labor Services Act.
The Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH) has unveiled a new comprehensive state emphasis program (SEP) aimed at mitigating heat-related illnesses and injuries at both indoor and outdoor workplaces.
On August 9, 2023, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) convened an advisory committee to provide input on proposed emergency changes to Title 8, section 5204, Occupational Exposures to Respirable Crystalline Silica, of the California Code of Regulations.
New Jersey enacted Assembly Bill No. 4694 on July 21, 2023, adding a “convenience of the employer” rule in an effort to gain tax revenues from nonresidents assigned to a primary work location in New Jersey who work outside the state for their own convenience. The law became effective immediately and the convenience of employer rule applies for calendar year 2023.
On July 31, 2023, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals revived a Christian teacher’s religious discrimination lawsuit over his refusal to refer to transgender students by their names and pronouns with which they identified. The case highlights the tension between discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals and discrimination based on religion amid evolving and sometimes conflicting legal standards and guidance, including based on the Supreme Court of the United States’ heightened standard for undue hardship for religious accommodations.
Under a recently introduced bill, employers across New York State could face new restrictions on the electronic surveillance of workers and the growing use of automated decision-making and artificial intelligence (AI) technology to make employment decisions. Senate Bill (S) 07623 seeks to address privacy concerns with electronic surveillance, or so-called “bossware,” and concerns that automated decision-making tools result in discrimination against individuals with disabilities or against other members of protected groups.