DOL Issues Final Rule Amending FMLA Definition of “Spouse” to Include Same-Sex Marriages

The U.S. Department of Labor has issued a final rule amending the regulatory definition of “spouse” under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).  We earlier reported on the DOL’s proposed rule to this effect, which is now final and will become effective on March 27, 2015.  Continue Reading

Supreme Court of New Jersey Rules on Test for Independent Contractors

On January 14, 2015, the Supreme Court of New Jersey decided which independent contractor classification test should be used in determining a person’s employment status under the New Jersey Wage Payment Law (WPL) and Wage and Hour Law (WHL).  In Hargrove v. Sleepy’s, LLC, No. A-70-12 (072742) (N.J. Jan. 14, 2015), the court concluded that the “ABC” test should be used for classifying a person as either an employee or independent contractor. Continue Reading

USCIS Announces Work Permits for Qualifying Spouses of H-1B Employees

U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on February 24 that certain qualifying spouses of H-1B workers will be allowed to apply for a work permit beginning on May 26, 2015.

To qualify, the H-1B employee must have an approved I-140 immigrant petition from USCIS or a company sponsored PERM labor certification pending with the U.S. Department of Labor for more than one year. Continue Reading

Get Ready! DC’s Protecting Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Currently Expected To Take Effect On March 3, 2015

The District of Columbia recently joined twelve other states[1] that have enacted laws requiring employers to accommodate certain limitations associated with pregnancy.  The Protecting Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (the “Act” or “PPWFA”) of 2014 was passed on October 23, 2014 and is under Congressional review.  It is currently expected to become effective on March 3, 2015.

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Employers Are Not Required to Relieve Employees of All Duty During Rest Breaks

In 2012, the California Supreme Court issued its highly-anticipated opinion in Brinker Restaurant Corporation, et al. v. Superior Court, 53 Cal. 4th 1004, which provided substantial clarity to California employers regarding the obligation to provide meal and rest breaks. While the Brinker court held that employers need only make such breaks “available” to employees, it left a number of questions unanswered. One open issue was whether employees must be “relieved of all duty” during paid rest breaks. On January 29, 2015, the California Court of Appeal, Second District, published a landmark decision in Augustus v. ABM Security Services holding that employees are not “working” while on-call during rest breaks.

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The California Supreme Court Holds That Certain Security Guards Must Be Paid to Sleep

On December 31, 2014, the California Supreme Court held in Mendiola v. CPS Security Solutions, Inc. (Case No. S212704) that security guards who work shifts of 24 or more hours under Wage Order 4 must be compensated for their sleep time.  The Court also held that, under the particular facts of the case, the security guards were required to be paid for their “on-call” time.

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UPDATE: SCOTUS Denies Petition For Cert In Iskanian

On June 24, 2014, the California Supreme Court issued a controversial decision in Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC.  While the Court in Iskanian confirmed that an express class action waiver in an employment arbitration agreement is enforceable under California law, it also held that an arbitration agreement provision barring arbitration of a workers’ representative Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) claim is invalid as a matter of California public policy.  Under PAGA, employees can sue their employer for certain workplace violations on behalf of themselves, as well as other current or former employees, in “representative suits” similar to class actions.

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New York Court Finds That Plaintiff Who Never Worked a Day For Company Is Not Entitled To A $350,000 Performance Bonus

On January 20, 2015, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a decision plainly reminding employers of the importance of precisely drafting employment documents.  In the case of In re Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., 2015 WL 247403 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 20, 2015), the Court held that a prospective employee, who had never worked a day at Lehman Brothers Inc. (“LBI”), was not entitled to a $350,000 performance bonus detailed in an offer letter which LBI rescinded.  Significantly, in reaching this conclusion, the Court relied exclusively upon its reading of the offer letter itself.

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