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

Employers may not like NLRB General Counsel report on handbook rules

Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP • March 27, 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 NationalDavid-Phippen.jpeg Labor Relations Act.

Proposed FLSA Exemption Changes Still In Limbo

Fisher & Phillips LLP • March 27, 2015
Employers await with bated breath the release of the U.S. Labor Department's proposed new definitions for the federal Fair Labor Standards Act's Section 13(a)(1) executive, administrative, professional, outside-sales, and derivative exemptions. Apparently, they will just have to keep waiting – for how long, the U.S. Labor Department will not say.

Captain Obvious Issues Most Obvious FLSA Decision of 2015 (So Far...)

Franczek Radelet P.C • March 27, 2015
It happens every year: I read a decision from a federal judge about the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and shake my head that it actually took litigation to resolve such an obvious question. It is only March, but 2015 already is no different. A recent decision by a federal district judge in New York compelled me to bring back our periodic Captain Obvious posting.

Texas Court Puts a Halt on DOL Enforcement of the New FMLA Rule Extending Leave Rights to Same-Sex Couples

Franczek Radelet P.C • March 27, 2015
A federal judge in Texas granted an injunction on Thursday that (for the time being) has stopped enforcement of the DOL’s final rule regarding the definition of spouse.

BREAKING: FMLA “spousal” rule on hold for now

Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP • March 27, 2015
The new rule defining “spouse” for purposes of leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act was set to take effect today. But a federal judge in Texas yesterday temporarily blocked the rule from going into effect after attorneys general in several states that do not recognize same-sex marriage challenged it.

L-1B Denial Rates on the Rise Again: USCIS Proposes New Adjudication Standards in Response

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • March 27, 2015
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) recently released statistics related to L-1B denial rates for fiscal year 2014, in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP). (Click here for NFAP’s report). The denial rate reached an all-time high of 35% in 2014. This is up dramatically from the denial rate in 2006 which was a mere 6%. Most disconcerting about this news is that regulations that provide for L-1B adjudication standards remain unchanged despite the spike in denial rates. Although USCIS has acknowledged the sharp increase in the denial rate, it has offered no justification for it and has not provided employers with any substantive guidance in preparing L-1B visa petitions.

Read It & Weep: Missed Deadline Leads to Significant Consequences

Goldberg Segalla LLP • March 27, 2015
Your friends at PL Matters aim to keep you updated regarding best practices, especially when it comes to professional obligations. However, sometimes best practices just boil down to the basics, including careful reading of court directives. AT&T recently learned this lesson the hard way. Last week, an appeals court ruled that the telecom giant will have to pay $40 million in connection with a case because its attorneys failed to read a court document.

Supreme Court Delivers New Life to Pregnancy Discrimination Claim

FordHarrison LLP • March 27, 2015
Executive Summary: On March 25, 2015, the United States Supreme Court issued an opinion that redefines the standard for disparate treatment claims under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). In Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc., the Court applied the McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting standard to the plaintiff's PDA claim, but held that even where an employer offers an apparently legitimate nondiscriminatory reason for its actions, plaintiffs can, nevertheless, overcome this reason and establish pretext by providing sufficient evidence that the employer's policies impose a "significant burden on pregnant workers," and that the employer's legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason is "not sufficiently strong to justify the burden." The Justices split 6-3 with the lead opinion authored by Justice Breyer.

Supreme Court Overturns the Fourth Circuit's Decision in Young v. UPS: Remands for Further Consideration

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • March 27, 2015
On March 25, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court in Young v. UPS held that a pregnant employee who seeks to show disparate treatment through indirect evidence may do so through the application of the well-established McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting framework. More specifically, the Court held that a pregnant worker can establish a prima facie case of discrimination by showing: (1) she belongs to a protected class; (2) she sought an accommodation; (3) the employer did not accommodate her; and (4) the employer accommodated others "similar in their ability or inability to work." If these criteria are established, an employer has the burden of production to proffer a "legitimate, nondiscriminatory" reason for denying the accommodation. The Court noted, however, that this reason generally cannot consist simply of a claim that it is more expensive or less convenient to add pregnant women to the category of those whom the employer accommodates. Once the employer proffers a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason, the employee has the burden of persuasion that the reason is pretextual.

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.