The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) recently announced a new effort to identify and correct violations of the Fair Chance Act.  The Fair Chance Act, which was enacted in January 2018 and is commonly known as California’s “ban-the-box” law, amended the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) to prohibit employers with five or more employees from directly or indirectly inquiring into, seeking the disclosure of, or considering an applicant’s conviction history (including questions on a job application) until after the applicant receives a conditional offer of employment.  We previously summarized employers’ obligations under the Fair Chance Act here.
Continue Reading The Department of Fair Employment and Housing Ramps Up Enforcement of California’s “Ban-the-Box” Law

Amid the United States’ growing opioid crisis, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued new guidance on employers’ obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) regarding job applicants or employees who legally use opioid medications or who have a history of addiction to opioids.  The guidance is not new policy; rather, the guidance applies principles already established under both the ADA and previously-issued EEOC guidance.
Continue Reading EEOC Issues Guidance on Employee Opioid Use and the Americans With Disabilities Act

Beginning July 27, 2020, Virginia will become one of the first states to implement comprehensive, mandatory safety regulations for employees returning to work during and post-COVID.  In a press release last week, Governor Ralph Northam announced that the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board had voted to adopt an emergency temporary standard, §16VAC25-220, which is designed to “control, prevent, and mitigate the spread of” COVID-19.
Continue Reading Safety Protocols in the Face of COVID: What New Virginia Safety Standards Require of Employers

On February 17, 2017, D.C. passed the Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016.  Beginning July 1, 2020, the law provides the following government-administered paid leave to D.C. employees:

  • Up to 8 weeks per year to bond with a new child.
  • Up to 6 weeks per year to care for a family member with a serious health condition.
  • Up to 2 weeks per year to care for the employee’s own serious health condition.

As the regulations continue to be finalized, several employer obligations have already started.  All D.C. employers should immediately ensure that they are in full compliance with this new law.
Continue Reading D.C. Paid Leave is Coming: Are you Ready?

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 August 30, 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed SB 778, which effectively delayed employer sexual harassment training requirements established in 2018. As we have covered in previous articles, in the wake of the #MeToo movement, California lawmakers passed legislation intended to curb sexual harassment in the workplace. One such example was SB 1343, signed into law on September 30, 2018 by then Governor Jerry Brown. SB 1343 required employers with 5 or more employees, including temporary or seasonable employees, to provide at least 2 hours of sexual harassment training to all supervisors and at least one hour of sexual harassment training to all nonsupervisory employees by January 1, 2020, and once every two years thereafter. The law specified that an employer who had provided this training to an employee after January 1, 2019 was not required to provide sexual harassment training and education by the January 1, 2020 deadline. However, as discussed in prior blog entries, this led to confusion among employers who were already providing anti-harassment training to their nonsupervisory employees. Under the letter of the current law, some of these employees would have to participate in the training twice in a 2-year period, at cost to the employer and providing little additional benefit to the employee.
Continue Reading One Year Reprieve: California Delays Employer Sexual Harassment Training Requirements to 2021

After years of uncertainty, on September 24, 2019, the Department of Labor released a Final Rule making changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) overtime regulations.

BACKGROUND

Since 2004, there had been no significant changes in the overtime salary thresholds under the FLSA. In 2016, the Obama administration attempted to make significant increases to the salary thresholds. Those proposed changes came to a halt when a federal judge in the Eastern District of Texas, granted a preliminary injunction, and ultimately invalidated the rule. Now, several years later, the DOL’s Final Rule provides employers with much more certainty as to their obligations under the FLSA.
Continue Reading It’s Here: The DOL’s Final Overtime Rule has Been Released

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?

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

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 Short Rest Breaks are Compensable Under the FLSA

Are you finally caught up on all of the new California laws taking effect in 2017?  Then begin preparing for 2018 because the California legislature has been busy drafting another set of employment related laws.  Here is a sneak peak of some of the more notable proposals that may be coming down the pike.  For now, these are only proposed laws that have neither passed the legislature nor been signed into law.  If they do become laws, their substance may ultimately change substantially.
Continue Reading 2018: California Employment Laws on the Horizon