Category: Gov’t Agencies

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What Employers Can and Cannot Say During a Union Organizing Campaign

Employers probably are aware of the “quickie” election rules implemented earlier this year by the National Labor Relations Board (“the Board”), but they may not have considered all of the rules’ consequences. With as little as 15 to 20 days to respond to an organizing drive, employers must be prepared to educate employees about the … Continue Reading

Northwestern University Football Players Can’t Vote for Union Representation …but it’s not over until it’s over…

Depending on your allegiance, “the Play” was one of either the most memorable or the most infamous moments in the history of college football. It happened in the final seconds of 1982’s annual “Big Game” between the Stanford Cardinal and U.C. Berkeley’s Golden Bears. As the fourth quarter was winding down, the Bears had taken … Continue Reading

EEOC Rules That Title VII Prohibits Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation

In a 3-2 decision published on Thursday, July 16, 2015, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) concluded that intentional discrimination against an employee based on their sexual orientation is sex discrimination- an act strictly prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. “Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is premised … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch: It’s All About the Motive

Stoel Rives Summer Associate Dexter Pearce co-authored this post. In a case Justice Antonin Scalia described as “really easy,” the Supreme Court held that an employer can be liable for failing to accommodate a religious practice even if the employer lacks actual knowledge of a need for an accommodation. Writing for the 8-to-1 majority (Justice … Continue Reading

Are You Ready to be Ambushed? NLRB’s New “Quickie Election” Rules Become Effective

As we have previously reported here and here, the National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB”) new rules governing union representation elections go into effect today, April 14, 2015. Congress passed a resolution disapproving the new “quickie” or “ambush” rules, but President Obama vetoed it. While lawsuits have been filed in Texas and the District of Columbia … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Sends UPS Pregnancy Accommodation Case to Trial

The U.S. Supreme Court handed a defeat to United Parcel Service (UPS) this week. At issue was whether UPS violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) by requiring a pregnant woman with lifting restrictions to go on leave during her pregnancy, while workers in certain other categories (such as those with on-the-job injuries) were allowed light … Continue Reading

NLRB Says “Mere Maintenance” of Employee Handbook Rules May Violate the NLRA

In recent years the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has aggressively sought to emphasize that its reach extends beyond solely unionized workforces.  On March 18, 2015, NLRB General Counsel Richard Griffin released a 30-page report that provides labor lawyers and HR professionals guidance on what the General Counsel contends is – and is not – … Continue Reading

NLRB Final Rule: “Quickie” Elections are Now Reality

As anticipated, on December 12, 2014 the NLRB announced that the final “Quickie” Election Rule will be published in the Federal Register on December 15, 2014 and will take effect on April 14, 2015. Among other changes, the rule will shorten the time between the filing of a petition and the election for union representation … Continue Reading

NLRB Reverses Sodexo Off Duty Access Decision – a Crack in the Door After Noel Canning…Or Not?

Employers often maintain policies prohibiting off-duty employees from accessing their facilities.  The NLRB has maintained its “Tri-County Medical” rule for nearly 40 years:  an employer’s rule barring off-duty employee access to a facility is valid only if it (1) limits access solely to the interior of the facility, (2) is clearly disseminated to all employees, … Continue Reading

EEOC’s Tough Stance on Employee Separation Agreements

Employers like separation agreements.  Separation agreements, of course, are contracts that employees sign when their employment is terminated that allows them to be paid severance and in exchange they usually give up the right to sue their employer.  Separation agreements provide finality to employment terminations by offering employers protection from claims and potential claims.  The … Continue Reading

Does Data Discriminate? Perspectives for Employers on the White House’s Recent “Big Data” Report

Last month, the White House released a comprehensive report on the use of “big data” in the public and private sectors. Employers should pay particular attention to one of its central forecasts: the EEOC and other federal antidiscrimination agencies may begin scrutinizing how employers collect and use big data in managing their workforces. The concept of … Continue Reading

Employers Should Review Benefits Plans And Other Policies Affecting Employees In Same-Sex Marriages As New IRS Guidance Implementing U.S. Supreme Court’s Windsor Decision Becomes Effective Today, September 16, 2013

Here’s something that should be at the top of your to do list on this Monday morning:  make sure your benefits and other employee policies are in compliance with new guidance from the IRS that becomes effective today relating to federal tax treatment of same-sex marriages under the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Windsor.  In Windsor, the Supreme … Continue Reading

Maryland Federal District Court’s Dismissal of EEOC v. Freeman Provides Guidance for Employers on Background Check Rules

As we’ve blogged about before, the EEOC has become more aggressive over the past few years in scrutinizing employer use of criminal background and credit checks.  While federal anti-discrimination laws do not expressly prohibit employers from performing background checks or similar screening methods on employees or applicants, their use can be unlawful where the practice … Continue Reading

NLRB Puts Kibosh On Some Employer Social Media Policies

The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) continues to closely scrutinize employers’ social media policies and practices. As employers struggle to craft policies that promote productivity while at the same time protect employees’ rights, both unionized and non-unionized employers need to be aware of recent NLRB decisions and their impact on employer policies: Social-Media Based Termination Can … Continue Reading

EEOC’s Multifaceted Effort To Aggressively Target Employer Policies Potentially Having “Disparate Impact”

As many of you know, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been on an aggressive tear of late on a broad range of issues.  In addition to upping its investigations of charges of individual “disparate treatment” discrimination, it is undertaking a number of new initiatives that show a renewed focus on facially neutral employer … Continue Reading

Legal Update: Transgender Employees Protected Under Title VII

On Friday, April 20, 2012, the EEOC issued a landmark ruling that intentional discrimination against a transgender individual is discrimination “based on … sex” and thus violates Title VII. Prior to this ruling, the EEOC generally declined to pursue discrimination claims that arose from transgender status or gender identity issues. What does this mean for … Continue Reading

UPDATE: DC Court of Appeals Delays Implementation of NLRB Posting Requirement

The NLRB’s new posting rule, which would apply to virtually all private sector employers, was scheduled to go in effect on April 30, 2012.  Yesterday, we blogged about a South Carolina federal trial court decision striking down the posting rule.  More good news for employers arrived today, as the United States Court of Appeals for … Continue Reading

South Carolina Federal Court Holds NLRB’s Notice Posting is Unlawful

As previously blogged here, a federal court located in the District of Columbia upheld the National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB”) rule requiring nearly all private sector employers, whether unionized or not, to post a notice to their employees about certain employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act.  While upholding the rule, that federal court … Continue Reading

EEOC Issues Final Regulations for RFOA Defense Under ADEA

  Last week, we reported that several senators had introduced new amendments to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA") to make it easier for plaintiffs in age discrimination cases to prove their claims.  U.S. Senators aren’t the only ones busy refining federal age discrimination laws – on March 30, 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity … Continue Reading

NLRB Posting Requirements – Update

Update: A federal trial court in the District of Columbia has upheld the notice posting requirement in the National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB”) recently issued final rule requiring nearly all private sector employers, whether unionized or not, to post a notice to their employees about certain employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act. To … Continue Reading