On January 1, 2021, various new and amended employment laws will go into effect in California. Below is a summary of some of these laws that employers should make themselves aware of heading into the new year.  All laws discussed in this post go into effect on January 1, 2021, unless otherwise noted.
Continue Reading New Employment Laws to Look Out for in 2021

On July 8, 2020, the Supreme Court gave religious employers wide leeway to hire and fire employees whose duties include religious instruction without having to worry about employment discrimination suits. In a 7-to-2 decision, the Supreme Court ruled in Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru that the “ministerial exception” – a legal doctrine that shields religious employers from anti-discrimination lawsuits – foreclosed the adjudication of two discrimination lawsuits brought by Catholic school teachers.
Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Backs Broad Interpretation of the “Ministerial Exception,” Shielding Religious Employers From Employment Discrimination Claims

Illinois’ first-of-its-kind legislation aimed at regulating the use of artificial intelligence in video interviews for Illinois-based positions goes into effect on January 1, 2020. The Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act will make employers’ use of artificial intelligence to analyze applicant-submitted video interviews more complicated at a time when employers are increasingly relying on the technology to streamline the hiring process and support diversity initiatives. Despite the benefits of facial recognition technology, proponents of the law claim these technologies perpetuate gender, racial, age and other biases that can led to employment discrimination.
Continue Reading Stop the Camera! New Limits on Facial Recognition Technology for Interviews Take Effect in Illinois on January 1, 2020

On September 18 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law AB-5, which codified the California Supreme Court’s Dynamex v. Superior Court decision.  In Dynamex, the California Supreme Court adopted the so-called “ABC” test to determine coverage under the Industrial Welfare Commission (“IWC”) Wage Orders.  AB-5 expands the application of the ABC test to the entire California Labor Code and will take effect on January 1, 2020.
Continue Reading It’s Official: Newsom Expands The Definition of “Employee” Under California Law

Following the launch of the so-called “MeToo” movement, the California Legislature (controlled by a Democratic supermajority) has aggressively churned out new bills that further strengthen the ability for workers to sue their employers and increase the already-significant regulatory burden on these companies. This fall, the California Legislature is geared to send three significant bills to Governor Gavin Newsom that all California employers should carefully follow.
Continue Reading Three Major Workplace Bills to Land on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Desk

On August 12, 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law S.6577, a bill implementing a series of sweeping changes to the New York State Human Rights Law (“NYSHRL”). As we previously reported, S.6577 provides for a number of notable updates to the NYSHRL designed to strengthen state protection for victims of sexual harassment. However, the signing of S.6577 also implements a series of changes that stand to significantly impact employers with respect to all claims of employment discrimination, not just sexual harassment. This post summarizes key changes to the NYSHRL created by S.6577, along with deadlines for employer compliance.
Continue Reading Update: Governor Cuomo Signs Significant Changes to New York Discrimination and Harassment Legislation Into Law – Employer Compliance Required

On July 3, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Senate Bill 188 also known as the Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act.  The CROWN Act amends the California Education Code and the Fair Employment and Housing Act’s definition of race to include traits historically associated with race, including hair texture and protective hairstyles.  Protective hairstyles include, but are not limited to, “braids, locks, and twists.”
Continue Reading A Heads Up On The CROWN Act: Employees’ Natural Hairstyles Now Protected

On July 31, 2019, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a law prohibiting Illinois employers from asking job applicants or their previous employers about salary history.

The law amends the Equal Pay Act of 2003, which made it illegal to discriminatorily pay employees on the basis of sex or race. The impetus behind the new salary history amendment is an effort to close the gender wage gap. According to a news release from the governor’s office, women in Illinois earn 79% of what men earn.
Continue Reading Salary History Off-Limits Under New Illinois Equal Pay Law

Earlier this year, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected the notion that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects individuals from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or transgender status. More than a standard-issue opinion, however, the Fifth Circuit’s holding was a laser-focused rebuke of a widely-publicized district court opinion which held Title VII’s prohibition on sex-discrimination applies to transgender individuals.
Continue Reading Title VII Reversal: Fifth Circuit Holds No Transgender Protections Under Civil Rights Statute

Baltimore County has petitioned the Supreme Court to decide whether backpay for violations of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”) is mandatory.

Background

In 1999, two Baltimore County Correctional Officers initiated charges at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) claiming that they were being discriminated against based on their ages because they had to contribute more to the County’s pension plan than younger employees. After years of litigation and various appeals in the U.S. District Court of Maryland and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, in April 2016, Baltimore County and the EEOC entered into a Joint Consent Order to equalize pension member contribution rates.
Continue Reading Mandatory Backpay in ADEA Claims: What Will SCOTUS Decide?

As of May 20, 2019, NYC will prohibit employment discrimination based on an employee’s “sexual and reproductive health decisions,” which the new law defines as “any decision by an individual to receive services, which are arranged for or offered or provided to individuals relating to sexual and reproductive health, including the reproductive system and its functions.”
Continue Reading NYC Bans Discrimination Based on Sexual and Reproductive Health Decisions