On August 23, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board reversed precedent and rebalanced the rights of property owners versus the Section 7 rights of employees in a labor dispute.
On August 14, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published the final version of its public charge rule in the Federal Register. According to a statement by DHS, the rule is intended to formalize the way in which the agency determines if an individual applying for a nonimmigrant visa or adjustment of status (to obtain a green card) is likely to become a public charge—a determination that would generally make the person inadmissible to the United States.
Every private construction project in Illinois will be affected by a new law, effective immediately. The Contractor Prompt Payment Act (815 ILCS 603/1, et seq.) was amended to restrict the use of retainage on construction projects.
If you are a sports fan, then you might consider the regulatory agenda of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in general, and the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) in particular, as winding down to the end of the third quarter of a football game or moving into the latter innings of a baseball game. In both sports, time and opportunity become critical for the team that wants to win but is not ahead. Regardless of your preferred game, as the November 3, 2020, elections draw closer (less than 440 days away), the WHD has been very busy in the regulatory realm under Wage and Hour Administrator Cheryl Stanton and Acting Secretary of Labor Patrick Pizzella.
Signaling a growing movement to align culturally inclusive practices with legal protections, California has become the first state to expressly ban discrimination based on hairstyle and hair texture associated with a person’s race. On July 3, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsome signed into law Senate Bill No. 188, the Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair Act (CROWN Act).
On August 8, 2019, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued an opinion letter confirming that a parent is entitled to time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to attend a meeting at school to discuss his or her child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP).
On August 15, 2019, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) added a question and answer to its list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) addressing, among other things, a growing concern for many employers: how to report employees who identify as nonbinary in the EEO-1 Component 2 report.
On August 15, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) focused on clarifying the civil rights protections for religious organizations that have federal contracts.
Currently, certain employers are required under federal law to file annual Employer Information Reports (EEO-1) with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. These EEO-1s must contain data regarding demographics of the employer’s workforce. Accordingly, employers covered by federal EEO-1 reporting requirements were required to file EEO-1 Component 1 data from 2018 by May 31, 2019, and must still submit Component 2 EEO-1 (pay and hours worked) data for their workforces by September 30, 2019. Not to be outdone, the State of California is poised to impose a similar requirement on employers.
Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), employees have the right to determine whether union representation is in their best interests. The freedom of employees to make this critical choice in an atmosphere free of coercion or intimidation is one of the Act’s bedrock principles.
On August 6, 2019, Acting Governor Sheila Oliver signed the New Jersey Wage Theft Act (WTA) into law. The law has been touted by proponents as the toughest wage theft statute in the country. Notwithstanding its name, the WTA goes far beyond attempting to prevent and punish intentional “wage theft” by significantly expanding the liability even the best-intentioned employers will face for state wage law violations.
As we previously reported, the Illinois legislature passed House Bill 834 and Governor J. B. Pritzker signed the bill into law. It will become effective September 29, 2019. The new law prohibits employers from requesting or requiring prospective employees to provide their salary histories as a condition of being considered for employment.
Joining a chorus of cities and states addressing concerns involving employers’ failure to properly calculate employees’ pay, or to pay them at all, allowing employees to work “off the clock,” or take unauthorized or illegal deductions, on August 8, 2019, the City of Minneapolis enacted an ordinance prohibiting “wage theft,” which will go into effect on January 1, 2020.
As we previously reported, the New York State Senate and Assembly passed an omnibus bill that overhauls New York’s antidiscrimination laws and uproot precedent upon which employers have relied for decades in defending harassment claims.
On April 15, 2019, the Indiana Court of Appeals issued a ruling that significantly developed restrictive covenant law in two areas: whether courts may reform contracts (as opposed to blue-penciling them) and whether non-solicitation provisions can include prospective customers.
In 20/20 Communications, Inc. v. Crawford, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently ruled that the question of whether a dispute can be arbitrated on a class-wide basis is a threshold issue that is presumptively for a court, not an arbitrator, to decide. This is the latest in a series of decisions by the Supreme Court of the United States and courts of appeals in favor of arbitration agreements that waive class procedures.
On August 8, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that it issued three new opinion letters. The letters cover issues related to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced on Friday, August 9, 2019, the appointment of Marcus Stergio to fill the ombudsman role in the agency’s national office. Stergio has varied experienced in dispute resolution and holds both a master’s degree in conflict resolution from the University of Massachusetts Boston and participated in Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation. Stergio’s role with the agency is to facilitate the resolution of disputes raised by contractors and other stakeholders, in conjunction with regional and district OFCCP offices.
On August 6, 2019, in State of Texas v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) overstepped its limited rulemaking and enforcement power when it issued its 2012 Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Like many other states, Washington recently adopted legislation seemingly preventing the arbitration of harassment and discrimination claims in direct response to the #MeToo movement.
On July 31, 2019, Mexico’s Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare or Secretaría del Trabajo y Previsión Social (STPS) published in the Official Gazette of the Federation (Diario Oficial de la Federación) (DOF) the protocol to legitimize currently existing collective bargaining agreements (CBAs).
On March 1, 2019, New Jersey governor Phil Murphy signed Senate Bill No. 1567 (S1567) into law, making New Jersey the first state to require certain employers to provide pretax transportation fringe benefits to employees.