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Recent Blog Posts

  • Uber app decision in California highlights ongoing litigation for website and app accessibility By Jamie LaPlante    A California federal court refused to dismiss a case against Uber alleging that its app did not offer accessible ride options even though the plaintiffs failed to even download the app. In Crawford v. Uber Tech. Inc., the Northern District of California denied a motion for judgment on the pleadings based on a lack of standing. Uber alleged that the plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge its mobile application because both users admitted that they never download the app. The... More
  • New DOL opinion letter may provide clarity as to when FMLA-mandated breaks are paid and when they are unpaid By Jamie LaPlante    As we previously reported in the post “The return of Department of Labor Opinion Letters,” the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) began issuing opinion letters again in mid-2017 after a six-plus-year hiatus. On April 12, 2018, the DOL issued an opinion letter, FLSA 2018-19, regarding when FMLA-mandated breaks for intermittent leave for an employee’s serious health condition are paid and when they are unpaid. The opinion letter resolved an apparent conflict between the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and... More
  • U.S. Supreme Court rules that mandatory, individual arbitration of employment disputes trumps employees’ rights to participate in class action lawsuits By Franck Wobst    On Monday, May 21, 2018, the United States Supreme Court ruled in a 5-to-4 decision that employers may require workers to accept individual arbitration for wage and hour and other workplace disputes rather than banding together to pursue their claims in class actions in federal or state courts. The Court’s decision in Lewis v. Epic Sys. Corp. overturns the position of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and resolves a split among federal courts of appeals. The case is... More
  • New test should increase employer ability to create unpaid internship positions By Arslan Sheikh    Many employers allow students to intern in their workplaces so that the students can gain exposure to real world work, learn about a particular industry or career, or earn credit hours towards their degree requirements. If these interns are unpaid, however, employers risk liability for failure to pay minimum wage and overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Employers that enter into these arrangements without careful consideration of the FLSA risk lawsuits from former interns and United... More
  • Sixth Circuit upholds termination of human resources employee for employment application misrepresentations and performance deficiencies By Brian Hall    Agreeing with the district court’s assessment that “résumé misrepresentations by a senior human resources professional represent an infraction so egregious as to defy correction by mere counseling or other lesser discipline,” the 6th Circuit on April 23, 2018, rejected an appeal from a summary judgment order on claims of pregnancy, race, and age discrimination and retaliation in Bailey v. Oakwood Healthcare, Inc.. Michelle Bailey, a 40 year old African-American woman, was fired from her position as a senior staffing... More
  • Ohio court whittles away at employers’ defense of voluntary abandonment of employment in workers’ compensation cases By Rebecca Kopp Levine    In Ohio, it has been a long-standing principle that an employee injured at work could lose eligibility for temporary total disability compensation in a workers’ compensation claim when the employee is terminated by the employer for violation of a written work rule. The written work rule must define clearly the prohibited conduct, identify the conduct as a dischargeable offense, and was known or should have been known by the employee. However, a recent court decision by the Franklin... More
  • Recent Supreme Court decision holds that FLSA exemptions are to be construed fairly By Fred Pressley    Many thanks to Arslan Sheikh for his assistance in preparing this post. In a decision issued on April 2, 2018 the Supreme Court of the United States held in Encino Motorcars, LLC v. Navarro that service advisors at an auto dealership are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) overtime pay requirement. Most importantly, the Court also rejected the 9th Circuit’s holding and Department of Labor policy that FLSA exemptions should be construed narrowly. Instead, courts should apply a... More
  • Sixth Circuit holds that Title VII prohibits discrimination based on transgender and transitioning status notwithstanding the employer’s religious objections By Caroline Gentry    Employers cannot discriminate against employees based on their transgender or transitioning status, despite (at least in some cases) the employer’s sincere religious objections. Those are the key takeaways of the 6th Circuit’s landmark decision in EEOC v. R.G. & G.R. Employers who are subject to Title VII, particularly those in the 6th Circuit (i.e., Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee), should review their policies to ensure that they comply with this decision. In EEOC v. R.G., the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission... More
  • Wage and Hour Division announces pilot limited “amnesty” program By Brian Hall    The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has announced a new nationwide pilot program, called the Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) program, which is designed to facilitate resolution of potential overtime and minimum wage violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). According to the WHD’s website describing the program, the program’s primary objectives are to resolve wage and hour claims expeditiously and without litigation, to improve employers’ compliance with overtime and minimum wage obligations... More
  • Second Circuit holds that Title VII prohibits sexual orientation discrimination By Caroline Gentry    In a landmark decision, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc., en banc, became the second federal appellate court to hold that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)), which makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate on the basis of sex, also prohibits discrimination on the basis of a person’s sexual orientation. It appears that the defendant does not intend to seek Supreme Court review. Therefore,... More