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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October 2014 EEOC Verdicts and Settlements

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

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California Employers Now Share Liability With Staffing Firms

On September 28, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill (“AB”) 1897, which requires “a client employer to share with a labor contractor all civil legal responsibility and civil liability for all workers supplied by that labor contractor for the payment of wages and the failure to obtain valid workers’ compensation coverage.”

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$10.2 Million Awarded to States to Fund Worker Misclassification Detection and Enforcement

Last month, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a press release announcing that $10.2 million had been awarded to 19 states to implement or improve worker misclassification initiatives.

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Maryland Transgender Anti-Discrimination Law Goes Into Effect October 1st

Maryland’s newest anti-discrimination law goes into effect October 1, 2014.  The Fairness For All Marylanders Act outlaws discrimination against transgender individuals within the state of Maryland.  The law prohibits discrimination against those individuals in employment and housing situations, as well as public accommodations.  Nicknamed the “Bathroom Bill”, the law also permits transgender persons to use the public bathroom of the gender with which they identify, regardless of the individual’s present physical characteristics.  The law does, however, include an exemption for religious organizations, private clubs and educational institutions.

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September 2014 Recent Jury Verdicts and Settlements

A summary of recent jury verdicts and settlements.

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September 2014 EEOC Verdicts and Settlements

A summary of recent EEOC verdicts and settlements.

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