California Governor Approves Three More Employment Laws: “Ban The Box”; Expansion of Sexual Harassment Training; and Contractors Liable for Subcontractors’ Wage and Benefit Obligations

The deadline for California Governor Jerry Brown to sign new bills into law officially expired October 15, 2017. In addition to signing five bills last week, the Governor signed three more employment-related bills into law over the weekend relating to the use of job applicants’ criminal history, the required components of sexual harassment training, and the liability of building contractors for their subcontractors’ failure to pay wages, fringe benefits, or other benefit payments. The three new laws all become effective on January 1, 2018. Continue Reading

California Governor Vetoes Two Bills Related to Public Report of Gender Wage Differentials and Discrimination Based on “Reproductive Health Decisions”

Late Sunday afternoon, Governor Brown vetoed a proposal to impose a controversial new mandate for large California employers to collect and publicly report data about the salaries of male and female employees and board members. The Governor also vetoed a proposal to amend the California Labor Code to expressly prohibit employers from discriminating against employees based on their “reproductive health decisions.” Continue Reading

5 New Laws: California Governor Approves Employee-Friendly Laws

The 2017 California Legislature adjourned on September 15, 2017, and resulted in more than 700 bills being sent to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for approval. Although the deadline for the Governor to sign new bills into law does not officially expire until October 15, the Governor has already given his stamp of approval to a handful of new employment laws that will take effect on January 1, 2018, including one from the California Chamber of Commerce’s annual list of “Job Killers.” Below is a summary of the major bills recently signed into law. Continue Reading

Labor Relations Update: New NLRB General Counsel Nominee Poised to Undo Obama-Era Precedents

Senate Republicans recently confirmed William Emanuel, the second Trump nominee to the five-member National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”), giving the Board a Republican majority for the first time since 2007. Mr. Emanuel’s confirmation follows the September 25, 2017 appointment of Peter Robb, a management-side labor and employment lawyer, as General Counsel of the Board. Each of President Trump’s recent appointments are expected to advance the president’s pro-business and pro-employer policies. In particular, Mr. Robb’s replacement of the current General Counsel, Richard Griffin, is a crucial step towards upending the Board’s recent anti-employer rulings. Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Holds Long-Term Leave is Not a Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA

The Seventh Circuit recently held in Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc. that a long-term leave of absence, particularly one extending beyond the twelve weeks of leave guaranteed by the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), does not warrant protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).

Raymond Severson was terminated from his job as a fabricator at Heartland after he exhausted his 12-week medical leave under the FMLA and requested to remain off work for several additional months to recover from back surgery. Severson sued Heartland under the ADA, arguing Heartland failed to provide him with a reasonable accommodation—namely, a three-month leave of absence following the expiration of his FMLA leave. Continue Reading

Chicago City Council Committee Approves Hands Off-Pants On Ordinance to Protect Hotel Employees

On October 2, 2017, the Chicago City Council Committee on Workplace Development and Audit approved an amendment to the Municipal Code (the “Ordinance”) that, if approved by the full City Council, will require hotel employers to equip hotel employees assigned to work in guestrooms or restrooms with portable emergency contact devices and develop and implement new anti-sexual harassment policies and procedures. The Ordinance is in response to multiple reports of sexual assault and harassment targeted at hotel employees by hotel guests. Continue Reading

Committee Approves Save Local Business Act – Redefining Joint Employer Liability

Yesterday, the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce approved the “Save Local Business Act” (H.R. 3441 – Bryne), legislation that would amend the National Labor Relations Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act to limit joint employer liability. The bill was approved by a vote of 23 to 17. The bill currently has 95 co-sponsors, including bipartisan support from three Democrats. For more information on the bill, see our September 19, 2017 post. For a fact sheet from the Committee click here. Sheppard Mullin will continue to track this bill’s progress and keep you updated on any important changes.

Save Local Business Act Introduced in the House

The House Education and the Workforce Committee held a joint subcommittee hearing last week to analyze the “Save Local Business Act” (H.R. 3441 – Byrne), a measure that would amend the National Labor Relations Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act to limit joint employer liability. If passed, the Act would reverse the current “Browning-Ferris” rule, which sets forth a broad definition of “joint employer,” imposing liability and requiring bargaining in situations where a business possesses only potential and indirect control over the employees in question. Continue Reading

Federal Court Strikes Down Department of Labor’s Overtime Rule

On August 31, 2017, Judge Amos Mazzant in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued an order granting a group of twenty-one states’ and fifty-five business associations’ motion for summary judgment in consolidated cases seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against a May 23, 2016 Department of Labor rule drastically increasing the minimum salary an employee must earn to qualify for the most common exemptions from the federal overtime laws. The rule was originally scheduled to go into effect on December 1, 2016 and would have increased the minimum salary an employee must earn to qualify for the administrative, executive or professional exemption from federal overtime requirements from $455 per week ($23,660 annually) to $913 per week ($47,476 annually). The rule also would have provided for automatic increases to the minimum salary level every three years. Judge Mazzant had issued a nationwide preliminary injunction on November 22, 2016 delaying implementation of the Department of Labor’s new minimum salary rule, finding that it was likely unlawful and would cause irreparable harm to the plaintiff states and business groups. Judge Mazzant’s August 31, 2017 order confirms the findings in the November 22, 2016 preliminary injunction and represents a final decision at the district court level that the Department of Labor’s May 23, 2016 minimum salary rule is illegal and void. Continue Reading

The Rescission of DACA – A Quick Overview of How This Impacts Your DACA Employees

USCIS announced on September 5, 2017, that they are phasing in a rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). The DACA program began in 2012 and granted temporary status and work permits to the “dreamers” who came here as children without visas. Here’s a summary of how the new rules will impact your employees that have DACA status: Continue Reading

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