Illinois Federal Court Holds That Temps May Make Employers Subject to the ADEA

The Northern District of Illinois opened the door for expanding the definition of “employee” under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). In Rodriguez v. Dynamesh, Inc., a Dynamesh employee brought a lawsuit against the company for race and age discrimination.

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Texas Federal Court Specifies That Disabled Employees Must Ask For An Accommodation

In November 2014, a Federal Court in Houston issued a significant opinion related to employees requiring an accommodation for a disability. In Sumpter v. American Bottling Company et. al., the court held that an employee seeking an accommodation must explain to the employer that the accommodation is needed for a medical condition.

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California Appellate Court Permits On-Call Rest Breaks

In Augustus v. ABM Security Services, Inc., a California Court of Appeal overturned a trial court’s award of $90 million for a class of security guards who were allegedly denied rest breaks. In overturning the award, the appellate court held that while an employee cannot be required to perform work while on a rest break, an on-call rest break does not necessarily require the employee to perform work.

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Final Rule Issued on FMLA Definition of “Spouse”

On February 25, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued a final rule changing the regulatory definition of “spouse” under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) to permit individuals in valid, same-sex marriages to receive FMLA spousal care protection.

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States Take the Wheel and Drive Paid Sick Leave Policy

President Obama’s State of the Union address on January 20th put issues of paid family and sick leave at the forefront of the American psyche. In its wake, states and localities around the country are taking action. Here are just a few examples of policy changes occurring on the local and state levels:

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NLRB Ruling Extends Employee Rights for Section 7 Activities to Encompass Company Email Systems

In a decision dated December 11, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that an employee’s rights under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act now extend, in most cases, to the use of company email systems. Section 7 of the Act addresses employer interference with employee rights associated with organizing, unionizing or otherwise engaging in “concerted activity associated with mutual aid or protection”. Continue reading

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San Francisco Enacts Retail Workers Bill of Rights

San Francisco has enacted two ordinances, referred to as the Retail Workers Bill of Rights, which will strictly regulate the employment of some retail workers in the city. The ordinances became effective on January 4, 2015, but employers will have until July 3, 2015, to comply.

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Franchise Employees Sue McDonalds USA, LCC

McDonalds USA, LLC is again under fire for the alleged actions of its franchisees.  A little more than a month as passed since the National Labor Relations Board filed complaints against McDonalds as a putative joint employer allegedly involved in franchisee reprisals against franchise employees who were protesting their wages and working conditions.

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SCOTUS Denies Hearing to Resolve Split Regarding Whether an Employee Must Arbitrate PAGA Claims

The U.S. Supreme Court recently declined to review the California Supreme Court’s decision in Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, which held that arbitration provisions requiring employees to arbitrate representative actions pursuant to California’s Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”) are unenforceable under state law.

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Supreme Court of California Finds On-Call Time Compensable Under California Labor Law

The Supreme Court of California recently held that security guards who were required to be “on-call” as part of their security duties were entitled to compensation for their on-call time.  CPS Security Solutions, Inc. (“CPS”) provided 24-hour security for its clients’ construction sites.  During weekdays, officers assigned to the construction site were required to patrol for one eight-hour shift, be on-call for an additional eight-hour shift and then were off duty for the final eight hours of the day.

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Representative Action Waiver and Non-Severability Provision Made Arbitration Agreement Unenforceable

On January 7, 2015, in Montano v. The Wet Seal Retail, Inc., 2015 WL 84677, —- Cal.Rptr.3d —-, the California Court of Appeal, held that an arbitration agreement is unenforceable when it waived statutory representative actions such as claims under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) and the agreement contained a non-severability clause.

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State of the Union and Paid Family Leave

January 20, 2015 marked President Obama’s penultimate State of the Union.  The President outlined his agenda for helping employees balance their commitment to a steady job and their want to care for a sick child or family member.

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EEOC Resolves Disability Cases On Behalf Of Temporary Employees

According to a press release issued December 19, 2014, the EEOC resolved a disability discrimination suit involving a temporary employee working for Bank of America in Chicago.  The EEOC alleged that the bank failed to accommodate the temporary employee’s visual impairment and instead terminated his temporary assignment as a data entry worker after one day on the job.  Hot on the heels of Bank of America was a second press release issued December 23, 2014, announcing that Sony Electronics, Inc. has resolved a similar lawsuit also involving a temporary employee.

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If You’re Going To Negotiate Hiring Salaries, Do It Right

In Thibodeaux-Woody v. Houston Cmty. Coll., the Fifth Circuit denied a motion for summary judgment for an employer who had allegedly treated male and female candidates for a position differently during wage negotiations.  The Court found that there was a genuine issue of fact whether the employer made wage negotiations equally available to male and female candidates.

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NLRB Moves Forward Against McDonalds As Alleged Joint Employer

The National Labor Relations Board has issued 13 complaints against several McDonalds franchisees and the franchisor, McDonalds USA, LLC as joint employers.  The Board issued a fact sheet summarizing the reason for the complaints along with a link to a list of all pending cases against the franchisor and the franchisees.  The Board’s complaints refer to 71 pending investigations and 86 cases (some involving McDonalds corporate stores) that were found to be meritorious.  The Board stated that its investigations found that the combination of McDonalds USA’s franchise relationships and “its use of tools, resources and technology” exerted sufficient control over the franchisees’ operations to make it a “putative joint employer.”  The Board found that McDonalds USA’s activities went above and beyond protecting its brand.

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