REMINDER: California Family Rights Act Amendments Go Into Effect July 1, 2015

The California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) is a regulation that provides employees with up to 12 workweeks of leave within a 12-month period for a qualifying event, such as family care leave or leave for an employee’s own serious health condition.  Employers covered by this regulation are those who employ 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius.  If an employer is covered by the CFRA, eligible employees are those who have worked for the employer for at least 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12-month period immediately preceding the leave.  Continue Reading

Second Circuit Holds: You Can’t Always Get What You Want – As Long Your Employer Gives You What You Need (An Effective Accommodation)

On May 21, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in Noll v. International Business Machines Corporation, Case No. 13-4096 (May 21, 2015), affirmed a decision by the Southern District of New York which granted the defendant-employer summary judgment on the plaintiff-employee’s claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the New York State Human Rights Law (“NYSHRL”).  Specifically, the Second Circuit held that: (i) the employer reasonably accommodated plaintiff by providing American Sign Language (“ASL”) interpreters capable of translating intranet files; and (ii) in light of this accommodation, plaintiff had no claim under the ADA or the NYSHRL that the employer failed to engage in the interactive process. Continue Reading

California Court of Appeal Refuses to Enforce Forum Selection Clause Because Employer Would Not Stipulate to Apply California Law and Did Not Show that the Foreign State’s Legal Protections Were Equal to California’s

In Verdugo v. Alliantgroup, L.P., the California Court of Appeal held that a forum selection clause in an employment agreement was unenforceable because the employer could not prove that the employee’s rights under the California wage and hour law “would not be diminished in any way” if the lawsuit proceeded in a non-California court. Continue Reading

Los Angeles Mayor Approves Minimum Wage Increase

On June 10, 2015, the Los Angeles City Council voted to increase the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour by 2020.  Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed the measure on Saturday, June 13, 2015.  Employers are required to increase their minimum wages in steps, starting with an increase to $10.50 an hour by July 1, 2016.  Even businesses located outside of Los Angeles should take note of this change, as hours worked within the city limits may be subject to the increased minimum wage rates.  Meanwhile, the state minimum wage, which is currently $9.00 an hour, will increase to $10.00 an hour on January 1, 2016.  Continue Reading

NYC Council Votes to Sharply Restrict Employer Use of Criminal Background Checks

On Wednesday, June 10, 2015, the New York City Council approved a bill that will strictly regulate how employers in New York City (with at least four employees) may conduct criminal background checks.  Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign the bill, which will go into effect 120 days after enactment.  The bill comes on the heels of the City’s ban on most forms of applicant background credit checks, which we reported on here, and which Mayor de Blasio signed into law on May 6, 2015. Continue Reading

Supreme Court Sides with EEOC in Abercrombie & Fitch Hijab Case

On Monday, June 1, 2015, the United States Supreme Court reversed a judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit which had granted Abercrombie & Fitch (“Abercrombie”) summary judgment in a religious accommodation case brought by a job applicant who wore a headscarf (a hijab) to an interview, but did not mention her religion or request an exception to Abercrombie’s dress code.  The Court’s 8-1 decision in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. rejected the Tenth Circuit’s holding that, to prove discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (“Title VII”), it is an applicant’s burden to advise an employer of a religious practice necessitating accommodation.  Instead, the Court found that a job applicant need only demonstrate that a prospective employer’s desire to avoid providing a religious accommodation was a motivating factor in its decision not to hire, not that the employer actually knew of the need for an accommodation.    Continue Reading

NLRB Weighs-In on Franchise Joint Employers

In late April, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or the “Board”) General Counsel’s office issued an Advice Memorandum (“Advice Memo”) (No. 177-1650-0100, available here) addressing whether a franchisor (Freshii Development, LLC) was a joint employer with one of its franchisees (Nutritionality, Inc.).  The General Counsel’s office determined that the franchisor was not a joint employer with its franchisee, using both the current Board standard for joint employer analysis and a recently-proposed, even-more-inclusive standard.  This decision has given franchisors hope that the presumption of joint employment between franchisors and franchisees that has been circulating in a number of recent court and Board decisions is finally starting to weaken.   Continue Reading

New York State Department of Labor Published Proposed Rules Regarding Non-Exempt Employees Paid by Debit Card

On May 27, 2015, the New York State Department Of Labor (“NYSDOL”) published proposed rules addressing the payment of wages by payroll debit cards.  Pursuant to the draft regulations, prior to paying an employee by payroll debit card, an employer must: Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Makes It Harder For Prevailing FEHA Defendants To Recover Their Costs

Under section 1032(b) of the California Code of Civil Procedure, “a prevailing party is entitled as a matter of right to recover costs in any action or proceeding” unless some statute expressly says otherwise.  It has been California’s rule for over a decade that this provision allowed victorious defendants in cases under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) to recover their costs of suit as a matter of right.  However, on May 4, 2015, the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Williams v. Chino Valley Independent Fire District, holding that the default rule of section 1032(b) is preempted by Government Code section 12965(b), a subsection of the FEHA that places the decision to award costs within the discretion of the trial court. Continue Reading

What is Retaliation in the Second Circuit Under the FLSA?

On April 20, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed a long-standing precedent when it held in Greathouse v. JHS Security Inc., that an internal oral complaint could be sufficient to demonstrate protected activity and form the basis for a retaliation claim under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  While this change altered over 20 years of precedent in the Second Circuit, it is consistent with how most other Circuits already interpret the FLSA retaliation provision. Continue Reading

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