The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the federal appellate court with jurisdiction over much of the western United States (including Washington, Oregon, California and Idaho), ruled last week that an employee’s temporary impairment can qualify as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). The Ninth Circuit’s decision resolves an important
Way back on October 10, 2019, California Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 51 (“AB 51”), which essentially made it unlawful for California employers to require workers or job applicants to execute arbitration agreements requiring them to waive their rights to sue in court for violations of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act or the…
In Amanda Frlekin v. Apple Inc., No. S243805 (Feb. 13, 2020), the California Supreme Court responded to a request by the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit to answer the following question:
Is time spent on the employer’s premises waiting for, and undergoing, required exit searches of packages, bags, or personal technology devices voluntarily brought to work purely for personal convenience by employees compensable as “hours worked” within the meaning of [California law]?
The Supreme Court answered the question and, so as not to bury the lead, the answer is an emphatic YES.
Continue Reading California Supreme Court Clarifies What Constitutes “Hours Worked” Under California Law
Employers in the Ninth Circuit (which includes Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Arizona, and Hawai’i) can no longer justify pay differentials between male and female employees based upon employees’ prior compensation. In an April 9, 2018 decision, Rizo v. Yovino, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overruled prior Circuit law to hold that an employee’s previous compensation, either alone or in combination with other factors, cannot form the basis of a wage differential between men and women.
While the Equal Pay Act permits “a differential based on any other factor other than sex,” the Court held that an employee’s prior compensation is not a “factor other than sex.” Specifically, the Court held that the above “catchall” exception under the Equal Pay Act is intended to allow employers to rely upon only job-related factors, such as experience, educational background, ability, or prior job performance. Prior compensation, the Court opined, is not job-related.
Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Rules That Basing Employees’ Wages on Their Prior Compensation Violates the Equal Pay Act
We are confident that employers already take employee reports of potentially unlawful activity seriously. Such internal reports can help employers investigate and eliminate unlawful conduct in the workplace. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that retaliating against an employee for making an internal report of potentially unlawful activity—not a report to an external agency—is unlawful whistleblower retaliation.
In Brunozzi v. Cable Communications, Inc., an employee complained several times to his supervisor that he was not being properly paid for working overtime.
Continue Reading Whistleblower Retaliation Protection Expands in Oregon
Meghan M. Kelly also contributed to this post.
In an unpublished opinion in Conitz v. Teck Alaska Inc. the Ninth Circuit held that an Alaska Native corporation’s shareholder employment preference was not facially discriminatory because it was based on shareholder status, not racial status.
Teck employee Gregg Conitz works at the Red Dog…
A Ninth Circuit panel ruled yesterday in Sanders v. City of Newport that when an employer opts to not restore an employee who was on FMLA leave to her former position, that the burden falls on the employer to demonstrate that such action was justified.
In Sanders, the plaintiff, a billing clerk, started feeling…
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday held in Lopez v. Pacific Maritime Association that an employer’s one-strike drug testing policy for applicants does not violate the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”). The one-strike policy in question stated that the company would never hire any applicant who tested positive on a pre-employment drug screening. All applicants were…
In Collins v. Gee West Seattle, LLC, a three member Ninth Circuit panel held 2-1 that employees who receive notice of a plant closing, but stop returning to work before the plant closing takes effect, have not “voluntarily departed” under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN).
In Collins, the employer…
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled recently that an independent contractor may assert a disability claim against an employer under the Rehabilitation Act. Click the link to read the opinion on Fleming v. Yuma Regional Medical Center.
The Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs conducted by Federal agencies, in…