New Compensation-Related Requirements for Federal Contractors

On April 8, 2014, President Obama signed a new Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating or retaliating against employees for discussing compensation issues.   On the same date, the President issued a Presidential Memorandum directing the Secretary of Labor to issue new rules to govern the collection of summary compensation data from federal contractors. These recent actions by the President came nearly a month after he signed Executive Order 13658, which raised the minimum rate of pay for employees of federal contractors.

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EEOC to Seek Punitive Damages for Discriminatory Failure to Promote

An Indiana District Court ruled on June 4 that the EEOC can seek punitive damages for an employee denied a promotion because, per one of his supervisors, he was not “the face for this store.”  When he asked for clarification, his manager clarified that his “skin color is not right for this store, this community.”  The EEOC filed suit under Title VII, and on June 4 the Court held that the EEOC could seek punitive damages for the employer’s “malice or reckless indifference” to the employee’s rights.

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June 2014 EEOC Verdicts and Settlements

A summary of recent EEOC verdicts and settlements.

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June 2014 Recent Jury Verdicts and Settlements

A summary of recent jury verdicts and settlements.

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Obama Administration, Individual States, and Local Legislatures Move Forward on Minimum Wage

With Congress deadlocked on the issue, the Obama administration and several states have gone ahead and are raising the minimum wage.  Earlier this year, President Obama signed an executive order raising the minimum wage for federal contractors to $10.10 per hour effective January 1, 2015.  The specifics of the rules, procedures, and enforcement processes of the order will not be released until October of this year.

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National Origin Discrimination Cited in EEOC Lawsuit Against Employer Who Terminated Employees for Lacking English Skills

In a recent press release, the EEOC announced that it has filed a lawsuit against Wisconsin Plastics, Inc., a metal and plastic manufacturer, for alleged national origin discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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California Court of Appeal Finds That Pre-Litigation Demand Was Extortion

In Stenehjem v. Sareen, a California Court of Appeal recently held that a former employee’s pre‑litigation demand constituted extortion when the employee threatened to report his former employer to federal authorities due to alleged criminal activity that was “entirely unrelated to any alleged injury suffered by” the employee.

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Buyer Beware: Sandy Spring Bank’s Unexpected Liability

The Story Behind the $6 Million Verdict Against Sandy Spring Bank

Growing regional financial institution Sandy Spring Bank announced that it would set aside 2014 profits to cover a $6 million dollar Anne Arundel County jury verdict levied against it. Sandy Spring Bank purchased CommerceFirst Bank in May 2012 including their liabilities which included future litigation.

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DOL Publishes Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Revise Definition of “Spouse” Under FMLA

The Department of Labor announced Friday a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to extend the protections of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to all eligible employees in same-sex legal marriages regardless of whether the state they live in recognizes the marriage.  The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons.

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Former Employee to Receive $72,500 in Settlement of EEOC Disability Lawsuit

Lifecare Medical Services has agreed to pay $72,500 to a former employee and take other remedial actions to settle an EEOC lawsuit alleging it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by refusing to provide a reasonable accommodation to the employee, who suffers from multiple sclerosis.

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San Francisco Bay Area Employers with 50+ Employees Required to Provide Commuter Benefits

The Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program requires that employers with 50 or more full-time employees in the San Francisco Bay Area offer commuter benefits to their employees. The program is a partnership led by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

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May 2014 EEOC Verdicts and Settlements

A summary of recent EEOC verdicts and settlements.

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May 2014 Recent Jury Verdicts and Settlements

A summary of recent jury verdicts and settlements.

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Supervisor’s Conduct Was Sufficient To Find Same-Sex Harassment

A California Court of Appeal recently held, in Lewis v. City of Benicia, that conduct such as frequent gifts, lunch purchases, several sexual jokes, and the sharing of pornographic computer images, by a same-sex supervisor was sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to find same-sex sexual harassment.

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Tenth Circuit Rejects Employer’s “Team Player” Defense

While there’s no “I” in team, Synerlink Corporation learns that there is a rather expensive “I” in gender discrimination.  The Tenth Circuit recently overturned a summary judgment ruling in favor of Synerlink Corporation regarding the termination of Stacey Potter, one of its female regional representatives, or “Territory Managers.”  Conflict began when Ms. Potter objected to management’s decision to reassign some of her sales clients in Oklahoma to the Territory Manager for the newly created region in Northern Texas.  Management responded that reassigning customers was a normal practice, and no one sales representative “owns” its regional clients.  The arguments continued until Synerlink terminated Ms. Potter for her continued disruption and objections to Synerlink policy.  The proffered reason was that Ms. Potter was “not a team player.”

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