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Supreme Court Forges New "Significant Burden" Interpretation of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act

Ogletree Deakins • March 26, 2015
On March 25, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States settled a controversy surrounding an employer’s policy that provided light-duty work for certain employees (including some disabled employees) but not for pregnant workers.

Today’s SCOTUS pregnancy decision in 1:14

Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP • March 26, 2015
Today’s majority opinion of the Supreme Court in the Young pregnancy accommodation case reminded me of this scene:

NLRB General Counsel’s report on employee handbook rules provides some guidance . . . but employers may not like it

Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP • March 26, 2015
As we have previously reported, the National Labor Relations Board in recent years has put employee handbooks and policy manuals under a magnifying glass, searching for any provision that might, in its view, violate the National Labor Relations Act. Last week, apparently after hearing from labor law practitioners that guidance was needed, NLRB General Counsel Richard F. Griffin, Jr., issued a report attempting to explain several years of Board decisions and positions taken by his office. His stated goal was “to offer guidance on . . . this evolving area of labor law, with hope that it will help employers to review their handbooks and other rules, and conform them, if necessary, to ensure that they are lawful.”

Supreme Court Strikes Down Employer's Light Duty Policy in Pregnancy Discrimination Case

Fisher & Phillips LLP • March 26, 2015
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 decision that an employee should have her day in court to determine whether or not United Parcel Service, Inc. violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act when it denied light-duty work to a pregnant employee who was restricted from heavy lifting by her medical provider.

Supreme Court Gives Pregnant Employees a Path Toward Securing Workplace Accommodations

Franczek Radelet P.C • March 26, 2015
All across America this morning, pregnant employees are screaming out in muted shouts of joy and giving each other belly bumps.

Budget Hearing Focuses on Recent NLRB Actions

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • March 26, 2015
On March 24, the National Labor Relation Board’s Chairman Mark Pearce and General Counsel Richard Griffin, Jr. came under fire from a sharply divided group of House members during a budget subcommittee hearing. Members pressed Griffin and Pearce on the recent string of NLRB policies that will have a significant impact on labor policy and the ability of employers to manage their businesses.

Federal Appeals Court Hears Challenge against Mine Safety Agency Coal Dust Regulation

Jackson Lewis P.C. • March 26, 2015
The National Mining Association and others in the industry have sued the Mine Safety and Health Administration to halt implementation of massive changes to MSHA’s coal mine dust regulations. The regulations, published on May 1, 2014, are scheduled to become fully effective by August 2016.

U.S. Supreme Court Explains Burdens in Pregnancy Discrimination Cases

Shaw Valenza LLP • March 26, 2015
The Supreme Court analyzed the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Court in an opinion written by Justice Breyer on behalf of himself and five more justices, analyzed how pregnant employees can prove discrimination in cases where they cannot do their jobs, but claim other employees were provided accommodations not afforded to the pregnant workers.

Think Your Former Employees Can’t Use the LinkedIn Contacts They Got With Your Help? Think Again

Brody and Associates, LLC • March 26, 2015
Do your employees have profiles on LinkedIn? Are they connected to your customers? Must they “unfriend” your customers if they ever left your company? Maybe not!

New York State Supreme Court Finds 24-Hour Home Care Attendants Must be Paid for Sleep and Meal Periods

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • March 26, 2015
The New York State Department of Labor ("NY DOL") has consistently enforced the New York Labor Law ("NYLL") as permitting third-party employers of 24-hour home care attendants to pay their employees for 13 hours of a 24-hour shift, provided the employee is afforded eight hours of sleep, five of which are uninterrupted, and three uninterrupted hours for meals.1 A recent decision by the New York State Supreme Court (the highest trial-level court for civil cases in the New York state court system) has rejected the NY DOL's interpretation of the NYLL and refused to find binding a New York federal court decision that relied on a 2010 NY DOL Opinion Letter addressing wage practices for home care attendants.2 Instead, in Andryeyeva v. New York Home Attendant Agency, the New York state court found that sleep and meal periods must not be excluded from the hourly wages of a home attendant who does not "reside" in the home of his or her client, and certified a class action of over 1,000 home care attendants who worked 24-hour shifts.3 There are additional cases raising these same issues pending in the New York state court, including at least one other filed by the same plaintiff's firm.4 Therefore, home care agencies operating in New York are at risk of copy-cat litigation and should be diligent with their pay practices.

Attorney General Madigan Finds "Right to Work Zones" Preempted by Federal Law

Franczek Radelet P.C • March 26, 2015
Last Friday, Attorney General Lisa Madigan issued an opinion finding that Illinois counties, municipalities, and other local governments cannot pass local “right to work” ordinances because they are preempted by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). State Senator Gary Forby, Chair of the Senate Labor Committee, and State Representative Jay Hoffman, Chair of the House Labor & Commerce Committee, requested the opinion. The Attorney General found that the NLRA only permits statewide right to work legislation rather than the “empowerment zones” proposed by Governor Rauner, which would allow local governments to enact right to work ordinances within their geographic boundaries.

Tennessee Legislature Approves New Employment Protections for Handgun Owners

FordHarrison LLP • March 26, 2015
Executive summary: On March 23, 2015, members in both houses of the Tennessee General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to pass new employment protections for handgun owners. The bill creates a private right of action for any employee who is terminated solely for storing a firearm or ammunition in the employee's vehicle while parked in the employer's parking lot. This legislation, which now awaits the Governor's signature, represents yet another outgrowth of the controversial "Guns in Trunks" legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2013.

NY Ethics Opinion Provides Guidance for LinkedIn Users

Goldberg Segalla LLP • March 26, 2015
LinkedIn is perhaps the go to social media site for professionals seeking to promote their achievements and build their brand. LinkedIn has carved a niche within the social media landscape by integrating networking capabilities with the specific needs of professionals hoping to build relationships. Of course, the site also allows users to “endorse” a connection for certain practice areas or to write recommendations as to the user’s skill-set. It is this component of the site that has generated professional ethics issues and opinions. Moreover, the distinction between permissible networking and improper advertising is not always well defined. The NY County Lawyers Association Professional Ethics Committee recently published a formal ethics opinion that provides guidance to attorneys using sites such as LinkedIn.
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