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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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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