In 2015, Louisiana passed a law authorizing the prescription of marijuana for the treatment of certain qualifying medical conditions, such as glaucoma, cancer, and spastic quadriplegia. In 2018, the statutory list of conditions was amended to include post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, and chronic pain. In the same amendment, the legislature designated the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry to oversee the production of medical marijuana. Since then, employers with operations and employees in Louisiana have been preparing for the new reality of managing marijuana in the workplace. These preparations are set to become even more challenging for Louisiana’s employers in light of new workplace realities and changes to the state’s medical marijuana law set to take effect in August 2020.
The Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeal recently held that a noncompetition provision under La. R.S 23:921 affecting a former member of an accounting limited liability company (LLC) could be reformed when the scope of the defined business and geographic limitation was overly broad.
On June 10, 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States unanimously ruled that state wage and hour laws do not apply to offshore drilling workers where federal law addresses the relevant issue. In Parker Drilling Management Services v. Newton, No. 18-389, the Supreme Court answered the question of whether California’s laws governing the minimum wage and payment for “standby time” applied to workers on oil rigs in federal waters off the coast of California.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently held that a group of directional driller consultants were independent contractors, not employees, in large part due to their highly specialized skills, degree of control over their own projects, and ability to control their profits and analyzed losses.
When Jay Baker, the vice president of Causin, L.L.C., quit to create a competing business, Causin sued to enforce Baker’s nonsolicitation/noncompetition agreement. Baker defended the claim in part by arguing the agreement’s use of a flexible addendum to list numerous parishes/counties did not satisfy the requirements of Louisiana’s noncompetition statute (La. R.S. 23:921), the inclusion of Causin’s “subsidiaries” and “affiliates” rendered the agreement overbroad, and the severability clause was ineffective.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that a New Orleans charter school was not a “political subdivision” exempt from the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
Plaintiffs have attempted a number of creative avenues to avoid the procedural and substantive limitations set forth under the Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law (LEDL), which provides a statutory scheme to address employment discrimination.
Less than a year after the #MeToo movement began in earnest, it continues to impact boardrooms and statehouses. In May of 2018, Louisiana became the latest state to take action in support of the #MeToo movement, with its lawmakers unanimously approving a statewide anti-sexual harassment policy—though they limited the law to state agencies and their employees for the time being.
The Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal recently ruled that the statute of limitations under Louisiana’s anti-discrimination law is only tolled during the pendency of an administrative or investigative review, not to exceed 18 months.
On March 23, 2018, in a 4–3 decision, the Louisiana Supreme Court refused to consider Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards’s appeal of the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal’s November 1, 2017, decision holding that Governor Edwards lacked the constitutional authority to issue an executive order protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) state employees from discrimination.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana’s grant of summary judgment under the Louisiana whistleblower law, Louisiana Revised Statutes section 23:967, in favor of an employer that transferred an employee to a less desirable location after revealing concerns about her employer’s handling of a diabetic student.
The Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal has held that painters may be treated as independent contractors if they bring some of their own tools, control their own schedules, and make decisions on how to complete the work for which they have been hired.
On December 1, 2017, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (D) appealed a state appellate court decision holding that Executive Order JBE 2016 – 11, which seeks to protect the rights of lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender individuals, and other protected classes from discrimination by Louisiana agencies, departments and contractors was unconstitutional.
Workplace harassment is one of the many problems that Louisiana employers may encounter. The national media has recently published several stories concerning high-profile cases of sexual predation and harassment. In addition, stories have surfaced in Southeast Louisiana of allegedly rampant sexual harassment at a New Orleans-based restaurant group.
In April of 2016, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed Executive Order JBE 2016 – 11, which sought to protect lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender individuals, among other protected classes, from discrimination practiced by state contractors. Months later, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and others challenged the order in a lawsuit filed in East Baton Rouge Parish that sought a permanent injunction, as well as a declaratory judgment that the executive order violated state law.
Answering a question certified by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the Louisiana Supreme Court has ruled that the term “good faith,” as used in the whistleblower section of the Louisiana Environmental Quality Act (LEQA), refers to “an employee … acting with an honest belief that a violation of an environmental law, rule, or regulation occurred.” The case is particularly instructive because the phrase “good faith” is used in Louisiana’s general anti-reprisal statute.
In a recent ruling, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court’s order granting summary judgment in which the district court held that an employee may be exempt from overtime under Colorado’s motor carrier exemption even when the employee does not actually travel out of state.
A Louisiana appellate court has ruled an employee may sue her employer for negligence for injuries sustained on the job when the injuries resulted from a dispute that began outside of work. The case is particularly instructive for disputes that originate outside of work where one or both of the participants is a Louisiana employee.
On January 25, 2017, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed Executive Order MJL17-01, which prohibits questions about salary history during the application process for persons seeking employment with the City of New Orleans. The order further requires the Civil Service Commission to conduct a pay disparity study among city employees and submit the study to the mayor and chief administrative officer.
In June, we reported that in April 2016, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (D) signed Executive Order JBE 2016 – 11, which sought to protect lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender individuals, among other protected classes, from discrimination practiced by state contractors.
A recent Louisiana Supreme Court decision over the enforceability of an arbitration clause has the justices battling it out. Against well-established precedent favoring arbitration clauses, the court recently found that a provision in an indoor trampoline park’s participant agreement was unenforceable because it was adhesionary and lacked mutuality of consent.
In contrast to Parker v. Crete Carrier Corporation, et al, in Kowitz v. Trinity Health, et al, No. 15-1584 (October 17, 2016), a split panel of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed summary judgment for an employer on an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) claim, finding a factual dispute about whether the employer knew the employee needed an accommodation despite the absence of a formal request for accommodation.
In Parker v. Crete Carrier Corporation, et al, No. 16-1371 (October 12, 2016), the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a trucking company complied with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in requiring its drivers with body mass indexes (BMI) of 35 or above to undergo in-lab sleep studies to determine if they had sleep apnea, which could cause them to fall asleep at the wheel.
In a recent ruling, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court’s refusal to enforce an arbitration agreement’s “delegation clause” requiring the determination of arbitrability to be decided by an arbitrator. Whether the arbitration agreement applied to an employee’s pre-existing Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) claim was a legitimate question, the court found but one that should be answered by an arbitrator and not a judge.
Louisiana hotels are now required to display a new poster publicizing the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline. The new poster obligation went into effect on August 1, 2016.
The New Orleans City Council recently approved legislation making it unlawful for city contractors to seek or use the consumer credit history of a current or prospective employee for any decision regarding the hiring or compensation of an employee or the terms, conditions, or privileges of his or her employment. The ordinance, entitled the “Equal Access to Employment Act,” was adopted by the New Orleans City Council on June 23, 2016, and Mayor Mitch Landrieu approved it on July 1, 2016.
In recent months, the Louisiana Legislature has passed several bills that have been signed into law, which will affect Louisiana employers. These new laws are effective August 1. In addition, the governor signed an executive order, effective July 1, 2016, extending new protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees who work for contractors that perform work for the State of Louisiana.
Government contractors in Louisiana should take note of the upcoming effective date of the state’s recently-signed antidiscrimination law. In April of 2016, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (D) signed Executive Order JBE 2016 – 11, which protects lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals, among individuals in other protected classes, from discrimination.
In a recent case involving the layoff of employees assigned to land drilling rigs, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas limited the ability of plaintiffs to claim that multiple rigs collectively form a “single site of employment” under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act).
The First Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed a lower court’s decision that an employer may use the fluctuating workweek method to calculate overtime pay rates even when an employee’s weekly pay varies because of performance-based commissions. Lalli v. General Nutrition Centers, Inc., No. 15-1199 (February 12, 2016).