Category: Statutes

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The Ninth Circuit Joins Its Sister Circuits in Ruling That an Employee Who Threatens Co-Workers with Violence Is Not “Qualified” Under the ADA

The Ninth Circuit released a precedent-setting Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) decision yesterday, and it’s a big win for employers.  The Court held that an employee who makes “serious and credible threats of violence toward his co-workers” is not a “qualified individual with a disability” and therefore cannot state a claim under the ADA or … 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

Oregon’s New “Ban the Box” Law Prohibits Criminal History Questions on Employment Applications

It’s been an active legislative session in Oregon this year regarding laws affecting the state’s employers.  Hot on the heels of enacting laws relating to paid sick leave, noncompete agreements, and employee privacy on social media, Governor Kate Brown also recently signed into law House Bill 3025.  That law will make it illegal for most employers to … Continue Reading

It’s Coming: Overtime Pay for More Workers

Coming to a store or restaurant near you soon!  Supervisors will get overtime! “Too many Americans are working long days for less pay than they deserve.” —President Obama on overtime pay — Barack Obama (@BarackObama) June 30, 2015 To be exempt from minimum wage and overtime requirements, currently a worker must perform certain duties … 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

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

U.S. Supreme Court Finds Post-Shift Security Checks Noncompensable in Integrity Staffing v. Busk, But Employers Shouldn’t Get Too Excited

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a rare unanimous decision earlier this week in Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk, held that time spent by warehouse employees at warehouses waiting to go through security checks at the end of their shifts was “postliminary” activity not compensable under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and its … 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

What Does Alaska’s and Oregon’s Legalization of Marijuana Change for Employers? Answer: Probably Not Much.

In this week’s mid-term election on November 4, Oregon, Alaska, and the District of Columbia became the latest jurisdictions to pass referendums decriminalizing the recreational possession and use of small amounts of marijuana.  They join Colorado and Washington, which took this step in 2012.  Oregon’s law becomes effective in July 2015; Alaska’s probably in February 2015. … Continue Reading

9th Cir. Finds FedEx Delivery Drivers Are Employees, Not Contractors

Last week, the 9th Circuit held in two related cases from California and Oregon that FedEx misclassified approximately 2,600 delivery truck drivers as independent contractors, rather than as employees. The cases—Alexander v. FedEx and Slayman v. FedEx—are an important reminder for employers that reality matters more than labels when it comes to classifying workers.  On that … Continue Reading

“Isn’t there supposed to be a good cop?” — 9th Circuit Holds Bilious Conduct Not a Disability Under ADA

Cantankerous employees beware! Being a jerk is not a disability and, at least according to the Ninth Circuit in Weaving v. City of Hillsboro, blaming bad behavior on a physical or mental impairment does not guarantee protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). Matthew Weaving was diagnosed with ADHD as a child, but stopped exhibiting … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Approves Employees’ Right to Strategically Decline FMLA Leave In Escriba v. Foster Poultry Farms

Under the Ninth Circuit’s recent holding in Escriba v. Foster Poultry Farms, Inc., 743 F.3d 1236 (9th Cir. 2014), many employees now have greater flexibility to extend family and medical leave beyond the typical 12-week limit under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). While the Escriba court’s holding was intended to benefit the employer in … Continue Reading

Court Rules That Telecommuting May Be a Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA

The Sixth Circuit recently held in EEOC v. Ford Motor Co. that regular attendance may not mean physical presence in the workplace, and that telecommuting may be a reasonable accommodation for some employees with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA").  This case provides yet another cautionary tale for employers wrestling with complex ADA accommodation issues. Irritable Bowel Syndrome … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court’s Decisions on DOMA Extend FMLA Definition of “Spouse” To Same-Sex Partners In States Recognizing Gay Marriage

As almost everyone knows, the U.S. Supreme Court  issued two blockbuster decisions on gay marriage, U.S. v. Windsor, which struck down the Defense of Marriage Act’s ("DOMA") definition of marriage for the purposes of federal law, and Hollingsworth v. Perry, which struck down California’s "Proposition 8" prohibiting same-sex marriage in that state.  Those decisions will likely have significant … Continue Reading

Part 2 of 2: Supreme Court Rules That “Supervisors” Under Title VII Must Have Power to Take Tangible Employment Actions

On Monday, we blogged about the first of two recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions interpreting Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar.  Today, we’ll discuss the second decision, Vance v. Ball State University, which addressed who is a “supervisor” for vicarious liability purposes … Continue Reading

Part 1 of 2: The U.S. Supreme Court Issues Two Employer-Friendly Opinions On Title VII In Vance v. Ball State Univ. and Univ. of Tex. Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar

On one day recently, the U.S. Supreme Court issued employer-friendly opinions in two separate and long-awaited cases interpreting Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (known simply as “Title VII”), the primary federal employment discrimination statute.  While both cases change little about what employers should be doing day-to-day to prevent unlawful discrimination in … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Sides With EEOC In Finding Lactation Discrimination Constitutes Title VII Violation

Last year, we posted about a decision from the Southern District of Texas in which the court ruled that firing a woman because she was lactating or breast-pumping did not amount to sex discrimination under Title VII or the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA).  The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently reversed the district court’s decision.  … Continue Reading

US Supreme Court Gives Green Light For Employers To Use Offers Of Judgment To Moot FLSA Collective Actions

Today the US Supreme Court issued its long-awaited opinion in Genesis Healthcare v. Symczk. In the case, the Court held that employers could effectively end collective action lawsuits under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by agreeing to pay the named plaintiffs in those lawsuits whatever they claim they are owed. The Court held that because the … Continue Reading

Now in Effect: New FMLA Poster and I-9 Form!

As a friendly reminder, employers must update two key employment forms this month.  As of March 8th, employers must begin using the most recent FMLA poster issued by the Department of Labor.  The updated poster reflects the DOL’s final rule concerning military related leave available under FMLA.  The DOL has also issued new FMLA forms to … Continue Reading

OSHA Issues Interim Final Rules on Whistleblower Protection Provisions Under ACA

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an interim final rule and request for comments regarding procedures for handling employee whistleblower complaints under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Section 1558. This part of the ACA added a new Section 18c to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which protects employees from retaliation for exercising certain … Continue Reading

Washington Court Affirms That Anti-Retaliation Laws Protect HR Employees

The Washington Court of Appeals recently determined that state anti-discrimination laws prohibit retaliation against human resources and legal professionals who oppose discrimination as part of their normal job duties. The court also declined to extend the same actor inference, a defense against discrimination claims, to retaliation claims. Lodis worked at Corbis Holdings as a vice president … Continue Reading

Recordkeeping: The Often Overlooked Element of FMLA Compliance

Most employers grapple with the better-known aspects of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), such as determining whether an employee’s illness constitutes a serious medical condition, obtaining required certification or providing adequate coverage for workers on intermittent leave. All too often employers focus on the leave itself and breathe a sigh of relief when notice … Continue Reading

Allergy to Perfume Not a Disability, Says Ohio Federal Court

 Employers got some relief from a situation that is becoming more and more common: an employee that claims a scent allergy and wants a work accommodation. In Core v. Champaign County Board of County Commissioners, Case No. 3:11-cv-166 (S.D. Ohio Oct. 17, 2012), plaintiff claimed she was allergic to a particular scent that substantially limited her breathing … Continue Reading