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Total Articles: 10

Louisiana Supreme Court Defines “Good Faith” for LEQA Whistleblower Actions

Answering a question certified by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the Louisiana Supreme Court has ruled that the term “good faith,” as used in the whistleblower section of the Louisiana Environmental Quality Act (LEQA), refers to “an employee … acting with an honest belief that a violation of an environmental law, rule, or regulation occurred.” The case is particularly instructive because the phrase “good faith” is used in Louisiana’s general anti-reprisal statute.

Louisiana Court Rejects Landman’s Whistleblower Claim Based on Finding That He Was an Independent Contractor

A recent Louisiana Court of Appeal decision held that an oil and gas landman did not have a claim under the Louisiana environmental whistleblower statute, which protects employees from retaliation for reporting environmental law violations, since he was properly classified as an independent contractor by the defendant. Finding that Dan S. Collins, a certified professional landman (CPL), and his company, Dan S. Collins, CPL and Associates, Inc., were independent contractors and not entitled to whistleblower status, the Court of Appeal, First Circuit reversed a jury verdict and the trial court’s damages judgment awarding $750,000. Collins v. State of Louisiana, Through Dep't of Nat. Res., No. 2016 CA 1195 ( April 28, 2017).

Louisiana Court Holds Employer Responsible for Failing to Protect Employee From Off-Duty Threat of Violence by Coworker

A Louisiana appellate court has ruled an employee may sue her employer for negligence for injuries sustained on the job when the injuries resulted from a dispute that began outside of work. The case is particularly instructive for disputes that originate outside of work where one or both of the participants is a Louisiana employee.

New Orleans Mayor Signs Executive Order Prohibiting Wage History Inquires

On January 25, 2017, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed Executive Order MJL17-01, which prohibits questions about salary history during the application process for persons seeking employment with the City of New Orleans. The order further requires the Civil Service Commission to conduct a pay disparity study among city employees and submit the study to the mayor and chief administrative officer.

Louisiana Executive Order Extending Protections to LGBT Employees of State Contractors Enjoined

In June, we reported that in April 2016, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (D) signed Executive Order JBE 2016 – 11, which sought to protect lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender individuals, among other protected classes, from discrimination practiced by state contractors.

Louisiana Supreme Court Bounces Out on Arbitration Clause

A recent Louisiana Supreme Court decision over the enforceability of an arbitration clause has the justices battling it out. Against well-established precedent favoring arbitration clauses, the court recently found that a provision in an indoor trampoline park’s participant agreement was unenforceable because it was adhesionary and lacked mutuality of consent. Duhon v. ACTIVELAF, LCC, d/b/a Sky Zone Lafayette et al., No. 2016-0810 (October 19, 2016). The case is important for Louisiana employers with arbitration agreements.

How Can Employees Help Victims of Louisiana’s August 2016 Storms. . .Through an Employer Leave Donation Program or Leave Sharing Program?

In mid-September, the IRS announced income tax relief for individuals who donate through their employers to aid victims of the Louisiana storms that began on August 11, 2016. See IRS Notice 2016-55 (Sept. 16, 2016). To get this special relief — similar to that provided for leave donation aid given after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Sandy, and the Ebola outbreak in Africa — an employer must establish a leave-based donation program (a “Leave Donation Program”). Under that program, employees forego their vacation, sick, or personal leave and ask the employer instead to make a cash-equivalent donation to charitable organizations aiding those victims from the Louisiana storms.

IRS Provides Benefit Plan Relief to Louisiana Flood Victims

On August 14, 2016, President Obama declared a major disaster in the State of Louisiana due to the severe storms and flooding that took place in several State parishes ("Louisiana Storms"). Following the declaration, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued guidance postponing certain tax filings and payment deadlines for taxpayers who reside or work in the disaster area. The relief also provides qualifying individuals with expanded access to their retirement plan assets to alleviate hardships caused by the Louisiana Storms. Below is a summary of the filing extension for the Form 5500 series and administrative changes that employers can make to expedite plan loans and hardship distributions to Louisiana Storm victims.

New Poster for Hospitality Employers in Louisiana

Louisiana hotels will soon be required to display a new poster publicizing the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline. The new poster obligation becomes effective on August 1. 2016.

New Orleans Adopts Legislation Prohibiting City Contractors From Conducting Employment-Related Credit Checks

The New Orleans City Council recently approved legislation making it unlawful for city contractors to seek or use the consumer credit history of a current or prospective employee for any decision regarding the hiring or compensation of an employee or the terms, conditions, or privileges of his or her employment. The ordinance, entitled the “Equal Access to Employment Act,” was adopted by the New Orleans City Council on June 23, 2016, and Mayor Mitch Landrieu approved it on July 1, 2016. The ordinance will become effective on December 23, 2016—six months after its adoption by the city council.