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Harassment by Emojis: Leaving Employers at a Loss for Words

Ogletree Deakins • March 19, 2018
As many employers are attempting to navigate the #MeToo movement and cultural changes surrounding sexual harassment claims, they now face another legal issue on the harassment horizon: how to address harassment allegations involving wordless communications—namely, emojis. Workplace harassment claims regarding emojis are increasing at a significant rate and leaving employers scratching their heads.

Second Circuit Upholds Sexual Orientation Discrimination Claim Under Title VII, Primes Debate for Supreme Court

Ogletree Deakins • March 19, 2018
On February 26, 2018, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals rendered an en banc decision in Zarda v. Altitude Express that significantly expands employees’ rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Ten judges joined at least in part in the majority decision and held that sex discrimination under Title VII encompasses discrimination based on sexual orientation. Three judges dissented and would not have extended Title VII protection to sexual orientation. This decision came 11 months after the Eleventh Circuit declined to recognize sexual orientation as a protected category under Title VII in Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital and 10 months after the Seventh Circuit disagreed, holding that sexual orientation is covered by Title VII, in Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College.

Report: New Internal Oversight Division within USCIS to be Established

Jackson Lewis P.C. • March 19, 2018
The Washington Post has reported that USCIS is establishing an internal oversight division. The new division’s purpose, in part, would be to monitor more closely officers who are too lenient in assessing applications for permanent residence and citizenship, including overlooking negative factors such as misdemeanors and the receipt of government benefits (e.g., food stamps). Employees of USCIS would be encouraged to report any such observed “misconduct” by other staff to the new office, which would report directly to Director Francis Cissna.

eLABORate: The Fifth Circuit Overrules the Obama-Era Fiduciary Rule

Phelps Dunbar LLP • March 19, 2018
On March 15, 2018, in Chamber of Commerce of the USA, et al. v. U.S. Dep’t of Labor et al., the Fifth Circuit nullified the “Fiduciary Rule.” The Fiduciary Rule is a regulatory attempt to expand what it means to be a “fiduciary” under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) and Internal Revenue Code. As the Court explained, the Rule was of “monumental significance to the financial services and insurance sectors of the economy.” Since 2016, the Rule has reportedly caused major investment and insurance companies to exit the brokerage and retirement investor market and limited the retirement investment products sold by such companies.

Obesity and The ADA

Goldberg Segalla LLP • March 19, 2018
Is obesity a disability?

New York State Moves One Step Closer to Changes to Sexual Harassment Laws

Fisher Phillips • March 20, 2018
On March 12, 2018, the New York State Senate passed a bill aimed at strengthening and reforming the state sexual harassment laws. The legislation comes on the heels of the #MeToo movement and mirrors much of what Governor Cuomo proposed in his January State of the State Address, including a ban on confidential settlements and mandatory arbitration clauses. If ultimately enacted into law, the legislation will significantly impact both public and private employers in New York.

Washington Becomes 11th State to "Ban the Box" for Private Employers

XpertHR • March 18, 2018
Washington has become the 11th state with a "ban the box" law affecting private employers after Governor Jay Inslee signed the Fair Chance Act. Effective June 6, 2018, Washington employers may not ask about arrests or convictions - or receive information through a criminal background check - before a job applicant is deemed otherwise qualified for a position.

Massachusetts Attorney General Issues Guidance on New Equal Pay Law

Ogletree Deakins • March 18, 2018
On March 1, 2018, the Massachusetts Attorney General (AG) issued detailed guidance on the amendments to the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (MEPA), which are set to go into effect on July 1, 2018. The amendments, which were enacted in 2016, will overhaul MEPA, a law that has been in effect for over 70 years, and make it one of the strictest pay equity laws in the nation. Structured primarily in a question-and-answer format, the new guidance answers many of the important questions employers have been asking since the enactment of the amendments. This article will highlight some of the most significant issues addressed in the new guidance.
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