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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Mandatory Security Checks Not Compensable Time Under FLSA

On December 9, 2014, the United States Supreme Court released a decision holding that employees working in Amazon.com’s warehouses were not entitled to compensation under the FLSA for time spent going through mandatory security checks at the end of their shifts.  The Court found that the security checks and the time the employees had to wait to complete the screening (approximately 25 minutes per shift) was a postliminary activity of their employment, and therefore not compensable time under the Portal-to-Portal Act.

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Fitness for Duty Release Did Not Undermine Legitimate Reasons for Termination

On December 2, 2014, in Curley v. City of North Las Vegas (9th Cir. 2014), 2014 WL 6765744, —-F.3d—-, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a doctor’s finding that an employee did not pose a safety threat did not establish a triable issue with respect to whether the employer’s explanation that the employee was fired, in part, due to a long history of threatening coworkers was pretextual.

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Judicial Review Available for California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board Decision On Employment Status

On December 5, 2014, in West Hollywood Community Health and Fitness Center v. California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (Cal. Ct. App.) 2014 WL 6852700 —-Cal.Rptr.3d—-, the California Court of Appeal held that an employer may obtain judicial review of a decision from the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board finding that an applicant for unemployment benefits was an employee, not an independent contractor. This holding does not fall under the state constitutional and statutory rules forbidding a court from enjoining the collection of a tax.

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DOJ Reverses Course On Transgender Discrimination

TexasBarToday_TopTen_Badge_SmallThe Department of Justice (“DOJ”) has evolved its stance on transgender employment discrimination claims just in time for the holidays. In a Memo composed by Attorney General Eric Holder and released this past Thursday, the DOJ clarified the bounds of Title VII’s prohibition of sex discrimination, stating that it “encompasses discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status.” This replaces the DOJ’s previous position that Title VII’s sex discrimination prohibition did not cover discrimination based on transgender status or gender identity per se.

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November 2014 Recent Jury Verdicts and Settlements

Our summary of recent jury verdicts and settlements for November 2014.

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November 2014 EEOC Verdicts and Settlements

Our summary of recent EEOC verdicts and settlements for November 2014.

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Mandatory Arbitration Agreements in Employment Applications May Not Keep You Out Of Court!

According to a press release in August 2014, the EEOC filed suit in the Southern District of Florida against Doherty Enterprises, Inc., a regional owner of more than 140 franchise restaurants, including Applebees and Panera Bread restaurants, alleging that requiring prospective employees to sign mandatory arbitration agreements as a condition of employment violates federal law.

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Bass Pro Shops Appeals Order Permitting EEOC To Litigate For Anonymous Class Members

The Southern District of Texas certified a recent decision in a class action and pattern or practice case between the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Bass Pro Outdoor World, LLC (known as “Bass Pro Shops”) for interlocutory appeal.  After denying Bass Pro Shops’ motion for summary judgment, the district court permitted the EEOC to prosecute its potential individual and class action claims under Section 706 of Title VII against Bass Pro Shops under the Franks/Teamsters standard.  In light of this decision, the district court granted Bass Pro Shops’ request for interlocutory appeal.

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Latest Trendy Leave Requirement Forced On Employers Is Domestic Violence Leave

In August, 2014, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed new legislation entitled “An Act relative to domestic violence.” The new law was effective immediately and required that employers with 50 or more employees provide up to 15 days of unpaid leave in a 12-month period for addressing issues related to domestic violence or abusive behavior.

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City of Oakland Increases Minimum Wage and Requires Paid Sick Days

On November 4, 2014, voters approved Measure FF, which sought to raise the minimum wage in the city of Oakland to $12.25 and require employers to offer at least five days of paid sick leave to all employees; employers with larger businesses are required to provide nine days of paid sick leave.  The new law will go into effect on March 2, 2015.

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Class Action Highlights FCRA Compliance Issues

The Eastern District of Virginia recently certified two related classes in a case involving alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”).  The claims were raised by former applicants alleging that the defendant company violated both the notice and authorization provisions of the FCRA and failed to provide copies of the applicants’ background reports and summaries of their rights prior to rejecting their applications.

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Anti-Discrimination And Harassment Protections Extended to Unpaid Interns and Volunteers

On September 9, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill (“AB”) 1443, which amended the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) to extend its anti-discrimination and harassment protections to unpaid interns and volunteers.

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