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USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for All H-1B Petitions Filed on or Before December 21, 2018

Ogletree Deakins • February 18, 2019
Beginning February 19, 2019, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will resume premium processing for all categories of H-1B petitions that were filed on or before December 21, 2018. USCIS has been gradually reinstating the premium processing program for limited categories of H-1B petitions.

Section 503–Focused Review Letters Anticipated to Be Issued Soon

Ogletree Deakins • February 18, 2019
In August 2018, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued Directive 2018-04, which notified contractors that it was “in the process of implementing a comprehensive initiative that seeks to ensure compliance with equal employment opportunity and anti-discrimination regulations.” Specifically, the directive identified OFCCP’s plan to conduct compliance reviews focused on one of the three authorities that OFCCP is charged to enforce: Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA).

Beltway Buzz, February 15, 2019

Ogletree Deakins • February 18, 2019
Joint-Employer Comment Docket Closes. As the Buzz mentioned previously, February 11, 2019, was the due date for submission of reply comments on the National Labor Relations Board’s proposed joint-employer rule. The next step will be promulgation of a final rule, perhaps by the fall of this year.

Animals as Accommodations in the Workplace and in Businesses (Podcast)

Ogletree Deakins • February 18, 2019
Many employers and public accommodations are seeing an increase in requests for animals as an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In this episode, Jim Paul and David Raizman discuss the use of service animals in the workplace and in those businesses and organizations that are ADA “public accommodations,” including best practices for handling employee requests for service animals, which animals qualify as service animals, and special rules applicable to places of public accommodation.

Federal Paycheck Fairness Act Reintroduction in House and Senate

Jackson Lewis P.C. • February 18, 2019
First introduced in Congress in 1997, and several times since, the Paycheck Fairness Act is again under consideration by Congress (S. 270/H.R. 7).

Premium Processing Resumes for H-1B Petitions Filed Prior to December 21, 2018

Jackson Lewis P.C. • February 18, 2019
USCIS announced on Friday, February 15,, 2019, that it will resume premium processing on Tuesday, February 19, 2019 for H-1B petitions filed prior to December 21, 2018. This follows up on the USCIS announcement at the end of January that it would resume premium processing for cap-subject petitions that were filed on or about April 1, 2018.

Ninth Circuit Re-affirms Fair Credit Reporting Act’s Strict Disclosure Standards

Jackson Lewis P.C. • February 18, 2019
A disclosure form that included other, state-mandated disclosure information violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act’s (FCRA) standalone document requirement, the Ninth Circuit held. Gilberg v. Cal. Check Cashing Stores, LLC, No. 17-16263 (9th Cir. Jan. 29, 2019). In doing so, the Ninth Circuit relied on Syed v. M-I, LLC, 853 F.3d 492 (9th Cir. 2017), where the Court held the plain language of the FCRA requires that the disclosure be “in a document that consists solely of the disclosure,” and that a disclosure form which included a liability waiver in the same document violated the “standalone document requirement.”

USDOL Moves Forward With Eliminating 20% Rule

Fisher Phillips • February 18, 2019
On February 15, the U.S. Department of Labor struck another nail into the coffin of the infamous “20% Rule,” the agency’s prior enforcement position which purported to limit an employer’s ability to take the federal Fair Labor Standards Act tip credit. Under this rule, USDOL would not permit an employer to take the tip credit if the tipped employee spent more than 20% of his or her work time performing “related duties,” meaning duties that are not directly customer-facing or tip-producing, but that are related to the tipped occupation (i.e. a server making coffee or cleaning tables).

U.S. Senator Reignites Federal Non-Compete Reform Efforts With Bill Aimed At Protecting Low-Wage Employees

Jackson Lewis P.C. • February 18, 2019
Last year, Democrats in the United States Senate and House of Representatives introduced bills — S.2782 and H.R.5631 — banning non-compete agreements in the vast majority of workplaces across the country.

Labor Board Returns to Pre-2014 Test for Determining if Individual Is an Independent Contractor

Jackson Lewis P.C. • February 18, 2019
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has held that in deciding whether an individual is an independent contractor or an employee, it will return to focusing on the extent to which the arrangement between the ostensible employer and the alleged employee provided an “entrepreneurial opportunity” to the individual, overruling a 2014 Board decision. SuperShuttle DFW, Inc., 367 NLRB No. 75 (Jan. 25, 2019).

When Workplace Gossip is Grounds for Title VII Claim

Goldberg Segalla LLP • February 18, 2019
In less than 18 months of employment, Evangeline Parker received six promotions. Then rumors circulated that Parker’s precipitous rise through the ranks “must” have been because she was sleeping with her boss. When Parker complained about the rumors and confronted the employee who allegedly started the rumors, she was terminated. Reversing the district court’s dismissal of the lawsuit, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, in Parker v. Reema Consulting Services, held that such rumors could form the basis of a sexual harassment claim in violation of Title VII.

Illinois’s Valentine’s Day Gift to Employees: A $15 Minimum Wage

Ogletree Deakins • February 18, 2019
On February 14, 2019, the Illinois legislature passed Senate Bill 0001 (SB0001), which amends the Illinois Minimum Wage Law and the Illinois Income Tax Act. Illinois’s minimum wage will increase from $8.25 per hour to $15.00 per hour over the next six years as follows:

California Bill Proposes Three-Year Statute of Limitations for Employment Claims

Ogletree Deakins • February 18, 2019
California Assembly Bill 9 (AB 9), sponsored by Assembly Members Eloise Reyes, Laura Friedman, and Marie Waldron, would expand employee protections related to harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

Fired Wal-Mart Worker Wins Case Under Arizona Medical Marijuana Act

XpertHR • February 18, 2019
A federal judge has ruled that a fired Walmart employee who had a state medical marijuana card has a valid discrimination claim under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA). The company had suspended the employee without pay and then terminated her after a post-accident drug screen came back positive.

Kentucky Legislature Seeks To Reestablish Employment Arbitration

Fisher Phillips • February 18, 2019
A Kentucky legislative leader has just taken the first step to try to resurrect the ability of employers to require employment disputes to be resolved by arbitration. Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers has just introduced legislation (Senate Bill 7) to make clear that employers and employees may agree to arbitrate claims related to the employment.
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