U.S. District Court in Massachusetts Weighs in on the ‘Material Change’ Doctrine and Nurse Noncompetition Exemption

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.

State Department Testing Digital Visa Authorization to Replace Traditional Visa Foils

The U.S. Department of State recently announced that it is developing the capability to issue digital visa authorizations (DVA) instead of the traditional visas that are printed and placed in applicants’ passports. This development would streamline the travel authorization process by automating the transfer of data from visa application, to airline verification, to border inspection, and U.S. admission.

Remote Work for School Principal Is Not Reasonable ADA Accommodation if Physical Presence Is Essential, Federal Court Rules

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.

New York Governor Signs Law Banning Mandatory ‘Captive Audience’ Meetings

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.

Reminder for Employers—New York Statewide Pay Transparency Law Takes Effect

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.

First Circuit Issues Opinion Clarifying FLSA’s Administrative Exemption

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.

Unwanted World Cup Kiss—Incident Involving Spain Soccer President Highlights Workplace Harassment Risks

Luis Rubiales resigned as the president of the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) amid controversy over his kissing a women’s national team player without her consent following the team’s 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup win. The situation has sent shockwaves across the sports world and may serve as a reminder for employers in the United States of the persistent dangers of ignoring sexual harassment in the workplace.

Compelled Interviews Admissible in Criminal Prosecution Against Former Company President and Its General Counsel

A New Jersey federal court has ruled that a company’s self-disclosure of potential Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations did not render the company a state actor, allowing evidence obtained by its internal investigation to be used against two former employees alleged to have engaged in misconduct.

California Legislature Sends Bill Prohibiting Caste Discrimination to the Governor

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.

Federal Contractors, Heads Up! New Audits, New Burdens, Less Time to Comply

On August 25, 2023, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued an Office of Management and Budget-approved, revised Supply and Service Scheduling Letter and Itemized Listing, which is effective through August 31, 2026. OFCCP also issued a new round of Corporate Scheduling Announcement Letters for 1,000 federal contractors two weeks later on September 8, 2023.

Past Practice in the Past? NLRB Narrows Past Practice Defense for Employer Unilateral Action During Bargaining

On August 30, 2023, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) released two decisions that will make it more difficult for employers to implement past practices during a break in bargaining or at an impasse, opening the door for unions to hold employers hostage by dragging out collective bargaining.

California Governor Signs Law Prohibiting Employers From Entering Noncompete Agreements

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.

It’s 2023: Do You Know Where Your Workers Are? Key Considerations for Managing a Remote Workforce

While many employers tout the flexibility of work-from-home as a benefit for employees, managing a remote workforce can raise a number of multistate compliance challenges. In particular, remote and hybrid work has significant implications for employers’ state and local tax withholding and unemployment insurance contribution obligations.

Catching Up With the Times—IRS Issues Guidance Delaying Required Roth Catch-up Contributions

To the relief of plan sponsors everywhere, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued Notice 2023-62, which provides guidance on the requirements of Section 603 of the SECURE Act 2.0 of 2022 relating to catch-up contributions. Specifically, Section 603 otherwise requires that catch-up contributions for certain highly compensated individuals be made on a Roth basis, effective January 1, 2024. This article summarizes the key provisions of Section 603, and discusses the relief provided by the notice.

California’s Workplace Violence Prevention Bill Passes Assembly Appropriations Committee With New Amendments

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.

OSHA Proposes Rule to Allow Third Parties to Participate in Workplace Walkaround Inspections

On August 30, 2023, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a proposed rule that would change the scope of who would be allowed to participate in walkarounds conducted as part of OSHA inspections. Specifically, the proposed rule would modify 29 C.F.R. § 1903.8(c) to expand the definition of what types of “third parties,” such as community activists and union representatives, may accompany a Compliance Safety and Health Officer (CSHO) during an OSHA inspection. The public comment period for the proposed rule ends on October 30, 2023.”

DOL Proposes Substantial Increase to Salary Threshold for FLSA’s White Collar Exemptions

On August 30, 2023, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would significantly raise the minimum weekly salary to qualify for one of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) three white-collar exemptions. If the changes go into effect, they would have a significant impact on how employers pay their employees and who is or is not entitled to overtime pay.