Legal Issues

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Obama Vetoes Resolution Disapproving NLRB “Quickie” Election Rule

Obama

By Ilyse Wolens Schuman and Michael J. Lotito

As predicted, President Obama has vetoed S.J. Res. 8, a joint resolution of disapproval seeking to prevent enforcement of the National Labor Relations Board‘s so-called “quickie” or “ambush” election rule.

Under the Congressional Review Act, members of the House and Senate can vote in favor of nullifying federal agency rules by a simple majority vote. Both chambers readily approved this resolution in March. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Class Action Claim For Running Background Check Gets Tossed in Court

Backgroundchecks

Finally, a voice of reason.

Employers got some good news from a judge in the Northern District of California last week, when the court granted Paramount Picture’s motion to dismiss a class action claim for alleged Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) violations. The case was one of the many class actions that have been flooding the federal courts, disputing the validity of the disclosure form used for running a background check.

This wave of litigation has erupted over the past 12 months, putting employers on the defensive against FCRA claims seeking millions in statutory and punitive damages. The judge’s decision to dismiss the case against Paramount is a welcome development, and may be a turning point for employers facing FCRA class actions of this type. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Can an Employer Be Blamed For Employee Who Is Unfit to Work?

Andreas Lubitz

By Eric B. Meyer

One week ago today, a Germanwings plane carrying 150 people crashed and killed everyone on board.

Since then, there is mounting evidence that the co-pilot, who was in great physical shape, was also suffering from mental illness which caused him to deliberately steer Flight 9525 into the French Alps.

Why didn’t Germanwings taken preventative steps? Apparently, the co-pilot hid his mental illness from his employer. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Congress Considering Bills Providing Paid Leave, Flexible Schedules

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By Ilyse Wolens Schuman

This month, a handful of bills were introduced that seek to create a national right to paid leave, and entitle employees to request flexible work terms and conditions.

The first measure, the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act, known as the FAMILY Act, (H.R. 1439, S. 786), was introduced in the U.S. Senate by New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, and in the House by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-CT. This legislation would establish a national, gender-neutral paid family and medical leave insurance program. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Silicon Valley Gender Bias Trial Brings Spotlight to Gender Discrimination

ellenpao

By Eric B. Meyer

I intended to begin the week with a post about a company’s legal obligation to predict — yes, predict — an employee’s mental fitness for duty.

Then, I started on a brief tangent on Ellen Pao, the former partner of a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, who just lost a highly-publicized gender discrimination claim against said former employer.

And a few hundred words later, that brief tangent became its own blog post — this one. (If you want a wild lawsuit brought by an airline captain who claimed that his former employer was negligent by failing to predict that he’d have a manic in-flight episode, come back tomorrow). Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

House Committee Grills NLRB Leaders on “Quickie” Union Election Rule

nlrb

By Michael J. Lotito

This week, National Labor Relations Board Chairman Mark Pearce and General Counsel Richard Griffin, Jr. came under fire from a sharply divided group of House members during a budget subcommittee hearing.

Members pressed Griffin and Pearce on the recent string of NLRB policies that will have a significant impact on labor policy and the ability of employers to manage their businesses.

In their opening statements, Pearce and Griffin reiterated that the NLRB has had to do more with less in recent years, and that the work they do is critical to ensuring that labor groups and employers treat each other appropriately. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Supreme Court Clarifies Rules Against Pregnancy Discrimination, Sort Of

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By Eric B. Meyer

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court kinda, sorta clarified pregnancy accommodation rules at work.

I’ll do my best to sort it out for you.

Let’s assume that you have a pregnant employee who tells you that she has a lifting restriction. In the past, you have accommodated employees with disabilities who had similar lifting restrictions. You’ve also done the same for folks who got injured on the job and others who lost their U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) certifications.

If you don’t provide the same accommodation to the pregnant employee, have you violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)? Read more…

HR Management, Legal Issues

4 Things We Learned From a Recent Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

discrimination

A small business located in New Castle PA, Ezeflow USA, Inc, recently settled a disability discrimination lawsuit for $65,000 before it went to trial.

On top of the $65,000 settlement and legal fees, the company has agreed to invest further time and money into revising its policies and provide training to its employees. This amount of time and money spent would have a serious impact on just about any small business.

For some, this might put them out of business entirely. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

English-Only Work Rules May Discriminate – and Violate Labor Law, Too

english-only-zone

By Eric B. Meyer

A few years ago, I posed this question: Is a workplace “English-only” rule legal?

Yadda, yadda, yadda, sometimes.

That is, in this Compliance Manual, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission confirms that employers may adopt English-only rules under certain circumstances, insofar as it is adopted for non-discriminatory reasons (e.g., safety, business necessity) and not to discriminate on the basis of national origin. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Can You Get Into an Employee’s Messages on a Company-Issued iPad?

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By Eric B. Meyer

Does a company invade an employee’s privacy by accessing personal texts on a work-issued iPad?

This “invasion of privacy” question is the lynchpin of a new lawsuit from two former employees of one of the largest beer companies in the world. The complaint (Nascimento v. Anheuser Busch), which began in state court, has been removed to federal court in New Jersey.

David Gialanella, reporting for the New Jersey Law Journal, summarizes the facts of the case: Read more…