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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Paid Sick Leave Cropping Up Quickly

All over the country, city and state legislators are taking steps to enact paid sick leave laws.  Here are some recent developments:

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Sixth Circuit Rejects Application of “Honest Belief” in FMLA Interference Claims

The Sixth Circuit recently narrowed the circumstances under which an employer can make use of an “honest mistaken belief” as a defense to FMLA claims.  In Yontz v. Dole Fresh Vegetables, the Sixth Circuit held that an employer “may not use an honest mistaken belief that [its employee] misused FMLA leave as a legitimate non-discriminatory reason for his termination.”

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Fifth Circuit Finds That PIPs Alone Do Not Support Constructive Discharge Claims

On October 20, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found that performance improvement plans (“PIPs”) do not constitute an intolerable working condition sufficient to support a constructive discharge claim.

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