Dennis Westlind

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Supreme Court Lets Stand Ruling Allowing EEOC to Issue Subpoenas After Right-To-Sue

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that allows the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to continue investigating allegations of employment discrimination, and even to issue subpoenas to employers, after issuing a right-to-sue letter to the employee who filed the initial complaint.  Click here to read the Ninth Circuit decision in … Continue Reading

Oregon BOLI Files Multiple Proposed Rule Changes

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries has filed several proposed rules pertaining to labor and employment law, and is inviting public comment.  Click on the title of each to read the proposed rule: Religious worship, child support obligors, physical accommodations for eligible disabilities.  The proposed rules would implement statutes: requiring employers to reasonably accommodate … Continue Reading

Supreme Court to Rule on Authority of Two-Member NLRB

This week the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal in New Process Steel v. NLRB and determine whether the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or "the Board") has the authority to decide cases with only two sitting members.  The NLRB is the independent federal agency that administers the National Labor Relations Act, the … Continue Reading

President Obama Signs Expansion of FMLA Leave for Military Families

Earlier this week, President Obama signed the Fiscal Year 2010 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a federal law that is enacted each fiscal year to specify the budget and expenditures of the United States Department of Defense.  This year, the NDAA contains two expansions of the exigency and caregiver leave provisions for military families under the Family … Continue Reading

GINA Requires Employers to Post Notice, Review Policies and Procedures

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) takes effect November 21, 2009.  Is your workplace ready?  Employers will soon be required to post a notice stating that they do not discriminate on the basis of genetic information, under proposed regulations interpreting GINA. If you don’t already have one, click here to download the full "EEO is the Law" … Continue Reading

EEOC Updates H1N1 Guidance

The H1N1 virus (aka "swine flu") continues to spread.  Is your workplace prepared?  Are your policies and procedures legally compliant?  In order to help employers, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its guidance for employers titled "Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act."  (Click title to download). The EEOC guidance answers several common questions … Continue Reading

Key EFCA Ally Withdraws Support for Card-Check Bill

California Senator Dianne Feinstein has withdrawn her support for the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), according to this editorial in the Oakland Tribune.  Because of the recession, the time is not right, according to Senator Feinstein, who stated that she still hopes a union/management compromise is possible. Senator Feinstein’s withdrawal of support may put the nail … Continue Reading

President Obama Orders Federal Employees Not to Text While Driving

Last week, President Obama signed an executive order prohibiting all federal employees from text messaging while driving on official business or while using government equipment.  Click here to read President Obama’s executive order on texting while driving.  While President Obama’s order does not effect private employers, it does directs federal agencies to encourage contractors and their … Continue Reading

Washington Minimum Wage to Remain $8.55/Hour in 2010

Washington’s minimum wage will remain $8.55 per hour in 2010, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) announced this week.  Click here to view L&I’s press release on the 2010 Washington minimum wage.     L&I recalculates the state’s minimum wage each year as required by Initiative 688, which requires that the minimum wage be increased … Continue Reading

Oregon’s BOLI Proposes New Employee Leave Regulations

Last week the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) filed with the Secretary of State a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on new regulations pertaining to certain employee leave laws.  The proposed regulations are intended to reflect some recent amendments to federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regulations and to clarify, edit and make … Continue Reading

2009 Mid-Term Federal Legislative Update

We expected many changes in federal labor and employment law in 2009 – for the first time in years, Democrats control the White House and both houses of Congress and have the political ability to make significant reforms.  However, not much has happened in 2009: we have only significant labor and employment bill signed into … Continue Reading

EEOC Proposes Rules Implementing ADAAA; Seeks Public Comments

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will in today’s Federal Register publish proposed regulations implementing the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA).  The public will have 60 days – or until November 23, 2009 – to submit comments.  Click here to read the full text of the proposed regulations.  Congress intended that ADAAA, which took effect January 1, … Continue Reading

2009 Oregon Legislative Update

The Oregon Legislature was in session in 2009, and many labor and employment-related bills came up for consideration.  A complete list of the bills that passed and the bills that failed follows below (you may have to click "continue reading."  Several passed and will become law effective January 1, 2010.  Several others didn’t get the support … Continue Reading

Oregon’s Minimum Wage Will Remain $8.40 in 2010

Oregon’s minimum wage will remain $8.40 per hour in 2010, Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian announced last week.  Oregon’s minimum wage is tied to the Consumer Price Index, and is recalculated by the Labor Commissioner every September.  This year, however, the CPI declined 1.5 percent, so Oregon’s minimum wage workers will not receive a raise next year.  Click here … Continue Reading

E-Verify Implementation on Track for September 8, 2009

Starting September 8, 2009, employers receiving federal contracts will be required to use the new E-Verify system to check their employees’ authorization to work in the United States.  This announcement comes after several delayed attempts by the Bush and Obama administrations to implement the E-Verify rule; however, their efforts were thwarted by a stay issued … Continue Reading

Employer Did Not Violate Title VII By Firing Employee For Wearing a Nose Ring

A Federal court in Florida has ruled that a Subway restaurant did not violate Title VII by firing an employee because she wore a nose ring, rejecting a claim by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for injunctive relief and punitive damages.  Click here to read the court’s decision in EEOC v. Papin Enters. Inc.  Subway has … Continue Reading

DOT Reinstates Observed Urination Drug Testing Rule for Safety-Sensitive Positions

Yesterday the Department of Transportation (DOT) reinstated its rule that employers must conduct observed urination drug testing for all return-to-duty and follow-up tests for transportation workers in safety-sensitive positions.  The new regulations will apply to workers in safety-sensitive positions in the aviation, motor carrier, rail, transit, maritime, and pipeline industries.  Click here to read the … Continue Reading

Managers Individually Liable for Unpaid Wages Despite Employer’s Bankruptcy

A recent case should strike fear into the hearts of all upper-level managers and human resources professionals:  in Boucher v. Shaw, the Ninth Circuit ruled that individual managers were liable for their subordinates’ unpaid wages, even though the employer company filed for bankruptcy.  In Boucher, a group of former casino employees sued the CEO, CFO and … Continue Reading

Online Game Educates on EFCA, Tattooing

We have a favorite new website here at the Stoel Rives World of Employment:  Card Checked:  The Game (sorry, failblog.org).  Card Checked is an online game where you can play a "young and talented tattoo artist living in America where the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) has become the law of the land."  As a … Continue Reading

Proposed Law Would Subsidize Employers’ English Classes

Last week, the proposed Strengthen and Unite Communities with Civics Education and English Skills Act  (SUCCESS) was introduced in both the House and Senate during the week of July 20 that supporters say would help immigrants integrate into U.S. society and workplaces and includes tax breaks for businesses offering English literacy programs to their employees.  … Continue Reading

Employers Should Keep Using 2/2/09 Version of Form I-9

The current version of Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) published February 2, 2009 has an expiration date of June 30, 2009, but there is no more current version.  What’s an employer to do?  For now, keep using the February 2 version, says the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.  Need the most recent Form I-9?  Click here to … Continue Reading

Federal Minimum Wage Rises to $7.25/Hour Today

If you pay your employees minimum wage, prepare to give them a raise effective today:  the federal minimum wage increases to $7.25 per hour, effective July 24.  Of course, you may live in a state that has a higher minimum wage; in that case, employers are obligated to pay the higher of the two wages.  … Continue Reading

Another Circuit Court Agrees: ADA Amendments Act is Not Retroactive

Congress did not intend for the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) to be retroactive, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled yesterday, and applied pre-ADAAA law to dismiss an employment discrimination claim.  Click here to read the court’s decision in Lytes v. DC Water and Sewer Authority.  Congress passed the ADAAA in 2008 and the new … Continue Reading

Oregon Religious Accommodation Bill Becomes Law

Last week Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski signed Senate Bill 786, which will require employers to more extensively accommodate employees’ religious practices and observation.  The bill passed both the Oregon House and Senate by wide margins earlier this Spring.  The new law will take effect January 1, 2010. Oregon law already prohibits discrimination based on an employee’s religion.  Senate Bill … Continue Reading
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