Yoga and Massage Therapist Fired for Being “Too Cute” Sees Gender Discrimination Claim Revived on Grounds of Unjustified Spousal Jealousy

A New York appeals court recently ruled in Edwards v. Nicolai (153 A.D.3d 440 (N.Y. App. Div. 1st Dep’t 2017)) that an employment termination motivated by the sexual jealousy of an employer’s spouse may support a claim for gender discrimination under the New York State Human Rights Law (“NYSHRL”) and the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”). Continue Reading

The Latest Turn in the Travel Ban Road

A few weeks ago, we wrote about the latest district court decisions involving the President’s so-called travel ban, in which a Hawaii court fully enjoined the proclamation, while a Maryland court allowed it to stand as to travelers without bona fide ties to the U.S. The Hawaii court’s order meant that Travel Ban 3.0 was put on hold. Continue Reading

In January, Will You be Able to Board Your Domestic Flight With Your Current Driver’s License?

BACKGROUND

In 2005, Congress passed the Real ID Act, enacting national standards for obtaining state driver’s licenses and I.D. cards. These federally mandated standards require states to use enhanced security features and identification procedures, and to review documentary evidence of legal status, before issuing a driver’s license or identity document. The Act requires that only individuals with a Real-ID-compliant identity document may (1) access federal facilities; (2) enter nuclear power plants; or (3) board commercial aircrafts for domestic flights. Continue Reading

House Approves Save Local Business Act – Bill To Overturn Controversial Joint Employer Ruling

Yesterday evening, the U.S. House of Representatives passed 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 advanced to the Senate by a 242-181 vote. For more information on the bill, see our September 19, 2017 post. For a fact sheet on the bill from the House Committee on Education and the Workforce click here. Sheppard Mullin will continue to track the bill’s progress and keep you updated here on any important changes at the Senate level.

Promoting Wellness, Not Litigation

With ever-increasing employer health care costs, it’s not surprising that Workplace Wellness Programs are becoming more common and comprehensive. According to Fidelity Investment’s fifth annual wellness survey, 95% of companies plan to offer some kind of health improvement program for their employees, and plan to spend an average of $594 per employee on wellness-based incentives. In a bid to reduce health care costs, and protect employees and customers from illness, many employers have implemented coercive, or even mandatory Workplace Wellness Programs. When these programs make employee participation a term and condition of employment, employers must administer them with care or risk violating federal, state and/or local employment laws. Continue Reading

New York’s Highest Court Narrowly Construes New York City Human Rights Law To Bar Disability Discrimination Claims Based on Perceived Alcoholism

Last month, New York’s highest court took the unprecedented step of construing the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”) more narrowly than its state and federal counterparts to bar plaintiffs’ city law disability discrimination claims. Answering a certified question from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the New York Court of Appeals in Makinen v. City of New York, Nos. 16-973-cv(L), 16-1080-cv(XAP), 2017 WL 4621717 (N.Y. Oct. 17, 2017) held that two former New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) officers could not sustain disability discrimination claims on the basis of “perceived untreated alcoholism,” even though such claims would be recognized under the New York State Human Rights Law (“NYSHRL”) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Continue Reading

Short Rest Breaks are Compensable Under the FLSA

This month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) requires employers to compensate employees for all rest breaks of twenty minutes or less.

Background

American Future Systems arose from a suit filed by the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) on behalf of former employees of publishing company American Future Systems, Inc. dba Progressive Business Publications (“Progressive”) under the FLSA. Progressive employed sales representatives who were paid by the hour and received bonuses based on the number of sales made while they were logged onto their work computers. These employees were previously subject to a policy which gave them two fifteen-minute paid breaks per day, however, Progressive eliminated the policy in favor of a so-called “flexible time” policy under which they could log-off their work computers at any time, for any reason. Although employees were free to take as many breaks as they wanted, they were not paid for these breaks if they were logged off for more than a minute and a half, including short breaks spent in the bathroom or getting coffee.

Continue Reading

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

LexBlog