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ten most recent federal employment law articles Ten Most Recent Federal Articles

Supreme Court Upholds Michigan Voters' Ban on Race Conscious Admissions

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • April 24, 2014
On April 22, 2014, the United States Supreme Court, in a 6-2 decision (with Justice Kagan recused), upheld a Michigan ballot initiative that amended the state constitution to prohibit the use of race conscious admissions policies at state universities. The case, Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, (Case No. 12-682), concerned whether, and in what manner, voters in a state can prohibit consideration of such race conscious policies. In a fractured opinion, the Court held that the voter-approved amendment did not run afoul of the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and that the electorate is the proper entity for deciding these questions.

California District Court Re-Certifies Chinese Daily News Wage and Hour Class Action After Second Trip To Ninth Circuit

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • April 24, 2014
On April 15, 2014, in Wang v. Chinese Daily News, Inc., a California federal district court re-certified a Rule 23(b)(3) California state law wage and hour action involving a class of 200 non-exempt employees who alleged their employer routinely required them to work more than 40 hours per week without paying overtime, denied rest and meal breaks, improperly compensated for unused vacation pay, miscalculated the regular rate, and issued inaccurate wage statements.

New DOL FMLA Branch Chief: Expect Even More On-Site FMLA Investigations and Focus on Systemic FMLA Compliance Issues

Franczek Radelet P.C • April 24, 2014
This past December, the Department of Labor quietly turned its FMLA enforcement over to a new leader. After the retirement of FMLA Branch Chief Diane Dawson, who led the DOL’s FMLA enforcement for several years, the DOL turned to longtime DOL FMLA policy guru Helen Applewhaite to head up the agency’s FMLA efforts.

"Clean-Shaven" Policy May Not Be So Clean

Brody and Associates, LLC • April 24, 2014
Religious dress and grooming practices became news late last year when popular clothing store Hollister fired a Muslim employee for wearing a hijab, an Islamic religious headscarf. Initially, the employee was asked to wear headscarves in Hollister colors which she did. After several months, a district manager was in the store and did not like the scarf. The employee was told the headscarf violated the company dress code and she would be removed from the schedule if she did not stop wearing it. When she did not comply she was fired. The District Court agreed with the employee and the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, that the termination violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

High Court Decision in Michigan Affirmative Action Case Leaves Requirements for the Consideration of Race Untouched

Franczek Radelet P.C • April 23, 2014
The U.S. Supreme Court held yesterday that a voter-approved ban on the use of race-based preferences for public university admissions does not violate the U.S. Constitution. The decision focused narrowly on whether the U.S. Constitution prohibited the voters of Michigan from making a university admissions decision typically made at the university board level—the decision to consider race in admissions. The Court found no constitutional prohibition. The Court’s decision did not disturb the Court’s prior rulings that institutions of higher education and K-12 schools may maintain admissions and student assignment policies that consider race under certain conditions.

Supreme Court: Voters' Initiative To End Affirmative Action Is Constitutional

Fisher & Phillips LLP • April 23, 2014
n a highly anticipated decision, the Supreme Court upheld Michigan’s Proposal 2, which amended the Michigan Constitution to prohibit racial preferences in admissions to public schools and government programs.

Supreme Court Holds Voters Have a Right to Reject Government-Funded Racial Preferences in Public Higher Education

Ogletree Deakins • April 23, 2014
On April 22, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States held that although consideration of race in admissions is constitutionally permissible, voters have every right to reject it. The case, Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, began as an opportunity to reconsider race-conscious admissions at Michigan’s public colleges and universities. It ended as a celebration of the First Amendment, the democratic process, and states’ rights.

Fitness-for-Duty Exam Permitted under Federal FMLA after Employee Restored to Job, California Court Rules

Jackson Lewis P.C. • April 23, 2014
An employer did not violate the federal Family and Medical Leave Act by requiring an employee to undergo a fitness-for-duty evaluation after it had restored her to her position following a medical leave of absence for psychological issues, the California Court of Appeal has ruled. White v. County of Los Angeles, No. B243471 (Cal. Ct. App. Apr. 15, 2014). Reversing a permanent injunction prohibiting the employer from requiring the evaluation, the Court noted the request for an evaluation was appropriate, given the employee’s erratic conduct prior to her leave and the requirement that she carry a weapon as part of her job.

President Seeks Additional Funding for DOL to Clear Case Backlog

Franczek Radelet P.C • April 23, 2014
Although unlikely to be passed in its current form, President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget request to Congress allocates an additional $2 million of the Department of Labor’s requested $1.8 billion budget so that the Department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ) can hire additional personnel primarily to deal with a massive backlog of cases.

The NLRB's 2014 Initiatives

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • April 23, 2014
The National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB or Board) General Counsel, Richard Griffin, issued a memorandum (GCM 14-01) in late February to the Board’s Regional Directors highlighting legal issues the Regions are required to submit to the Board’s Division of Advice. The General Counsel’s memorandum allows a glimpse into the crystal ball to see how the NLRB will chart its course for the upcoming year. Although some of the destinations are expected (e.g., a return to the applicability of Weingarten rights to non-union employees), others represent an aggressive policy of furthering the Board’s pro-labor agenda. If the General Counsel succeeds in advancing his agenda, dramatic changes are on the horizon for employers.