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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

EEOC Issues Guidance on Severance Agreements and Waivers

Recognizing that severance agreements are becoming more and more prevailant in the down economy, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) yesterday issued a new technical assistance document titled Understanding Waivers of Discrimination Claims in Employee Severance Agreements (click on the title to access the document).  The new document is intended to help both employers and employees navigate … Continue Reading

Bus Driver’s “Shy Bladder Syndrome” a Disability

A school bus driver who was demoted after his "shy bladder syndrome" left him unable to comply with his employer’s drug testing procedures may proceed with claims under the Americans with Disabilites Act (ADA) according to a recent ruling from a Tennessee federal court.  Click here to read the full opinion in Melman v. Metropolitan Government … Continue Reading

ICE Targets Employers by Launching I-9 Audit Program

Implementing a new audit initiative, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE) has served Notices of Inspection on 652 businesses nationwide.  The notices inform employers that ICE will be inspecting their I-9’s and other employment records to ascertain whether the employers are in compliance with federal immigration laws and regulations. The Obama administration appears to be taking a new approach … Continue Reading

Federal Minimum Wage Increases to $7.25 Effective July 24

Employers take note:  the federal minimum wage increases to $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009.   For more information, check out the Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act site.  Of course, many states also have minimum wage laws, an where an employee is subject to both state and federal minimum wage laws, the employee is entitled … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case About Meddling International Union

The US Supreme Court just agreed to hear a case asking just how much international unions will be allowed to meddle in the affairs of their local affiliates.  In Granite Rock v. Teamsters, the employer sued the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in federal court claiming that the International interfered with the relationship between the employer and the Local Teamsters … Continue Reading

Oregon Legislature Bans Mandatory Meetings

A new Oregon bill will prohibit employers from requiring employees to attend mandatory or "captive audience" meetings on, among other topics, labor unions.  Governor Ted Kulongoski is expected to sign the bill, which would them become law effective January 1, 2010.  Click here to read SB 519.  SB 519 prohibits an employer from taking action against an … Continue Reading

Proposed Law Would Guarantee Working Mothers Right to Breast-Feed in Workplace

Oregon Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley has announced he will today introduce the Breastfeeding Promotion Act (BPA) in the U.S. Senate.  The BPA would  guarantee working mothers the right to breast-feed their children at their workplaces.  Click here to read about Merkley’s proposal on Oregonlive.com.  The bill is identical to one introduced yesterday in the House by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. … Continue Reading

Former Employee Wins $4.1 Billion, Dr. Evil Award

An arbitrator recently awarded $4.1 billion in favor of the former chief marketing officer of iFreedom  Communications Inc., finding that iFreedom breached his employment contract by firing him without cause.  You read that right:  $4.1 billion, with a "b."  U.S. Dollars, not Zimbabwean.  Don’t believe us?  You can read the opinion yourself:  Chester v. iFreedom Communications … Continue Reading

Another Day, Another E-Verify Delay

It seems like just a couple days ago that we reported that implementation of the E-Verify System was delayed until June 30.  Actually, it was a couple days ago.  Well, you can forget that; the The Department of Homeland Security’s Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has announced that it will delay mandatory use of E-Verify, this … Continue Reading

E-Verify Delayed Yet Again!

Still another delay for implementation of the mandatory E-Verify system for federal contractors. The Department of Homeland Security’s Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced for a third time that it will delay mandatory use of E-Verify, this time until June 30, 2009.  Click here to read the USCIS’s press release on the delay.  Click here for the … Continue Reading

New Senate Bill Would Bar Mandatory Arbitration of Employment Claims

A bill introduced in the United States Senate late last month will, if passed, prohibit mandatory, pre-dispute arbitration agreements in employment.  Senate Bill 931, also known as the Arbitration Fairness Act of 2009 (AFA) was introduced by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and seven co-sponsors.  A similar bill, HR 1020, was introduced in the House of Representatives … Continue Reading

IRS, DOL Publish New Info on COBRA Subsidy

Today the Department of Labor expanded its FAQs on the COBRA subsidies included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).  Click here to read the DOL’s new COBRA FAQs.  Wondering what the tax implications of the subsidy are, or whether the person asking for the subisidy is truly eligible?  Click here to read … Continue Reading

DOL Issues FAQs on COBRA Subsidy

The Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration has posted answers to 10 frequently asked questions regarding the COBRA subsidies included in the new stimulus package.  Most relate to individual claims for the subsidy, but the information may be helpful to employers as well. For more information about the subsidy, click here to read our coverage … Continue Reading

E-Verify Delayed (Again) Until May 21

Another delay for implementation of the mandatory E-Verify system:  The Department of Homeland Security’s Citizenship and Immigration Services announced today that it will delay mandatory use of E-Verify until May 21, 2009.  Click here to read DHS’s press release.  Why the delay?  The Obama Administration wants additional time to review this and other rules that … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Broadens Scope of Title VII’s Anti-Retaliation Protections

The U.S. Supreme Court issued an important decision yesterday, clarifying that employees who report discrimination in response to an employer’s internal investigation are protected by the anti-retaliation provisions of Title VII.  Click here to download the case:  Crawford v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville.  In Crawford, the plaintiff was interviewed as part of her employer’s investigation into another … Continue Reading

Senate Passes Lilly Ledbetter Bill 61-36

The Senate voted 61-36 yesterday to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which is intended to overturn a U.S. Supreme Court decision that limited the time frame for bringing pay discrimination claims.  The bill now will have to be reconciled with the House’s version of the bill (H.R. 11), approved on a 247-171 vote Jan. 9, before … Continue Reading

Oregon Issues New Rest Break Regulations

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) issued a revised regulation earlier this week on employees’ meal breaks which will be of interest to many smaller employers.  The revised regulation, which is effective as of January 12, 2009, retains the basic requirement that employees normally be provided with a 30-minute, unpaid meal period in which … Continue Reading

Time Out for E-Verify: Mandatory Use Rule Suspended Until February 20

Federal contractors take note:  the rule requring mandatory use of the E-Verify system has been suspended until at least February 20, 2009.   As previously reported in the Stoel Rives World of Employment, President Bush’s executive order would make using E-Verify mandatory starting January 15, 2009 for federal contractors with projects exceeding $100,000 and for sub-contractors with projects … Continue Reading

Ledbetter, Fair Pay Acts Pass House

There was a lot of fairness on Capitol Hill last week:  the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act both passed the House of Representatives on Friday, January 9, 2009.  For those of you keeping score at home, the Ledbetter Act passed 247-171, and the Paycheck Fairness Act passed 256-163.  Both bills will proceed … Continue Reading

Business Groups Sue to Block E-Verify Rule

The Society for Human Resource Management, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and three other groups filed a lawsuit late last month challenging the legality of an executive order that requires federal contractors to use E-Verify, the federal government’s Web-based system that uses Social Security files to ensure that employees are legal immigrants or citizens eligible to … Continue Reading

Obama Nominates Rep. Hilda Solis as Labor Secretary

Today’s New York Times is reporting that President-Elect Barack Obama will nominate California Representative Hilda Solis as his administration’s Secretary of Labor, the cabinet-level position that oversees the Department of Labor. John Sweeney, head of the AFL-CIO (a coalition of labor unions) praised the appointment of Solis to the position.  And not without good reason:  Solis has … Continue Reading

Starbucks Wins Round in Class Action over Applications’ Marijuana Questions

Earlier this month, Starbucks scored an important procedural victory from the California Court of Appeals, which ruled that a class of employees lacked standing to sue over questions the coffee chain asked on its employment applications about prior marijuana convictions.  Click here to read the opinion in Starbucks v. Superior Court.  Despite the apparent victory, … Continue Reading
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