Tag: employer

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

Oregon Legislature Passes HB 2654 Prohibiting Employers From Requiring Access To Employee Social Media Accounts

Coming as no big surprise since other states, like Utah and California, have been passing similar laws, the President of the Oregon Senate recently signed the final version of HB 2654, which will prohibit Oregon employers from compelling employees or applicants to provide access to personal social media accounts, like FaceBook or Twitter.  The law … Continue Reading

Obama NLRB Presents Employers With Several Lumps Of Coal

We continue our recent end-of-year postings (on new California employment laws and things every employer should resolve to do in 2013) with an update on recent cases by the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB" or "Board").  In late December, 2012, the NLRB issued a series of controversial decisions which from an employer’s perspective cannot be … 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

Oregon Court of Appeals Upholds Wrongful Discharge Claim By Whistleblowing Prison Guard

Is the Oregon Court of Appeals back in the wrongful-discharge business? It’s a fair question to ask after the court’s decision last week in Lucas v. Lake County, –Or. App.– (2012).  Reversing the trial court’s motion to dismiss, the court held that a sheriff’s deputy who served as a correctional officer could sue for wrongful discharge … Continue Reading

Washington State Marijuana Legalization Law Need Not Affect Employer Drug Testing Policies

There are many sound reasons why employers have zero tolerance policies and engage in drug testing of applicants and/or employees, including customer requirements, government contracting requirements (e.g.,the federal Drug Free Workplace Act), federal or state laws (including DOT requirements for transportation workers), workplace safety, productivity, health and absenteeism, and liability.  Some Washington state employers may … Continue Reading

City of Seattle’s New Paid Sick and Safe Time Law To Take Effect in September 2012

  As most Seattle employers know by now and as we blogged about earlier, beginning September 1, 2012, the City of Seattle will require that all but the smallest employers provide paid sick leave to their Seattle employees. Seattle Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) mandates that most employers provide paid leave, which increases depending … Continue Reading

NLRB’s Court Woes Continue: New Election Rules Struck Down

The Obama NLRB’s regulatory agenda continues to fare poorly in the federal courts.  On the heels of court decisions staying the NLRB’s new “notice” requirement, see previous posts here, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia Circuit has just struck down the NLRB’s new rules designed to speed up union representation elections. … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Clarifies Meal and Rest Break Requirements Under State Law

In its long-anticipated decision in Brinker v. Superior Court, a unanimous California Supreme Court has clarified the scope of an employer’s obligation to provide meal and rest breaks to non-exempt employees in California.  The Court’s full opinion is available here. Meal Breaks California law requires employers to provide employees with a meal period of not less than … Continue Reading

NLRB’s New “Vote Now, Litigate Later” Union Election Rules To Become Effective April 2012

 The NLRB gave organized labor a meaningful gift just before the holidays by issuing a final rule adopting new election case procedures that will likely result in more and faster union elections, and probably also result in more employers having unionized workforces.  The new rule becomes effective on April 30, 2012. The New Year:  Out With The Old … Continue Reading

Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Law Passed in Seattle

Beginning September 1, 2012, the City of Seattle will require that all but the smallest employers provide paid sick leave to their Seattle employees. Sick leave mandates under the new law increase depending on the size of a company’s workforce, and employees must be allowed to use the leave for their own or their family … Continue Reading

The EEOC Reiterates the Importance of the Interactive Process

A recent decision from the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reminds employers of their affirmative duty to engage in an interactive process once an employee raises a medical condition and requests some change to their work environment to accommodate it. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Rehabilitation Act at issue in Harden v. Social … Continue Reading

Why Should Employers be Fair?

Martha walks into your office and says she wants to fire her assistant, Roy, because he keeps sending emails with typos and it is embarrassing. Martha says, “We are at-will and I want him gone by the end of the day.”  Like most others, Alaska is an “employment-at-will” state, which means that the employee and employer … Continue Reading

Idaho Supreme Court Rejects Lawsuit over Intra-Office Romance

On June 29, 2011, the Idaho Supreme Court unanimously upheld a district court ruling that a state worker could not maintain an action against her employer for wrongful discharge based on allegations that her supervisor’s intra-office romance and consequent favoritism toward his paramour created a hostile work environment. See Patterson v. State of Idaho Dep’t of … Continue Reading

California Overtime Rules Apply To Work Performed In California By Out-Of-State Employees

The California Supreme Court has ruled that California’s daily overtime requirements apply to work performed in California by non-residents.  In Sullivan v. Oracle Corp., three employees of Oracle who were not residents of California worked as “instructors” and trained Oracle’s customers in the use of the company’s products.  Required by Oracle to travel, the plaintiffs … Continue Reading

Why Employers Should Exercise Restraint and Objectivity

Retaliation claims are increasing at an alarming pace. Not only have these claims tripled in number within the last two decades, they now exceed race discrimination as the leading claim filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  Click here to see EEOC statistics. Why the startling trend? First, Congress has gone to great lengths to protect … Continue Reading

Victory For Employers in Washington Medical Marijuana Case

In a victory for employers, the Washington Supreme Court has ruled that Washington’s Medical Use of Marijuana Act (“MUMA”) does not protect medical marijuana users from adverse hiring or disciplinary decisions based on an employer’s drug test policy. Click here to download a copy of the decision in Roe v. Teletech Customer Care Management. The lawsuit and … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Rules Oral Complaints Of Wage Violations Are Protected Under FLSA

Today the U.S. Supreme Court issued another employee-friendly opinion in Kasten v. St. Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., holding by a 6-2 margin that the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") anti-retaliation provisions protect an employee’s oral complaints to supervisors about wage and hour violations. This is the latest of three opinions this term that have expanded the … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Upholds “Cat’s Paw” Theory In Employment Discrimination Cases

Today the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Staub v. Proctor Hospital, upholding the "cat’s paw" theory of employer liability, under which employers are liable for discrimination where lower-level supervisors with discriminatory motives influence, but do not make, adverse employment decisions made by higher-level managers.  The near unanimous opinion, authored by Justice Scalia, is likely to … Continue Reading

NLRB to Consider Scope of Permissible Solicitation On Employer Premises

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is on its way to making some significant changes, which favor organized labor.  One change that may be coming relates to non-solicitation rules.  These rules determine when a union organizer can come on a company’s property and solicit employees to join a union.  For the time being, a company … Continue Reading

Oregon Employers: Download SB 519 (Mandatory Meeting Ban) Notice Here!

Back in June, we reported on Oregon SB 519 – the law taking effect January 1, 2010 that will prohibit Oregon employers from disciplining any employee who refuses to participate in communications concerning the employer’s opinions on religious or political matters – including labor unions.  SB 519 also requires ALL Oregon employers to post a … Continue Reading

Supreme Court to Review Text Message Case; Primarily of Interest to Public Employers

Yesterday the United States Supreme Court agreed to consider whether a police officer has a reasonable expectation of privacy in text messages sent using his department-issued pager.  The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled earlier this year that the officer had such a privacy right.  Click here to read the opinion below in City of Ontario, California v. Quon.  In Quon, … Continue Reading

Recovery of Attorney Fees for the Employer in Oregon Wage and Hour Cases

A recent Oregon Court of Appeals case, Rogers v. RGIS, LLP, presents an opportunity for employers.  In Rogers, the court awarded an employer a whopping $180,854.09 in attorney fees.  The plaintiff brought one lawsuit but several wage and hour claims (overtime, minimum wage, late payment of final wages, unpaid wages for rest and meal breaks). … Continue Reading
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