As use of social media sites continues to rise, employer attempts to access social media content and passwords from current employees and applicants have come in for mounting criticism. By appearing to threaten private communications, this employer practice has triggered a strong legislative reaction at the state and federal levels.
Articles Discussing Labor And Employment Law In All Fifty Us States And Puerto Rico.
The Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA) prohibits discrimination based on an employee’s physical disability, and provides a broad definition as to what constitutes a physical disability. While the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) explicitly forbids discrimination against employees who are actually impaired, and against employees who are “regarded as” or perceived as disabled,1 there has been disagreement between the federal and state courts in Connecticut as to whether “perceived as” disability claims are valid under the CFEPA.2 In Desrosiers v. Diageo North America, Inc.,3 a Connecticut appellate court recently resolved this disagreement, finding that the CFEPA does not authorize claims of discrimination based on a perceived, but not actual, physical disability.
nding five years of contentious litigation, the Minnesota Supreme Court has reversed a million-dollar jury verdict for negligent misrepresentation against the head coach of the University of Minnesota (“U of M”) Men’s Basketball Team for offering an assistant coaching job to a former assistant coach only later to withdraw the offer. The University withdrew the offer after discovering the candidate’s prior recruiting violations at the University. Williams v. Smith, et al., Nos. A10-1802 and A11-0567 (Minn. Aug. 8, 2012). This decision clarifies and narrows the scope of negligent misrepresentation claims in job offer and hiring situations for both public and private employers in Minnesota.
On August 6, 2012, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed the “Temporary Worker Right to Know Act.” The Act, which takes effect on November 5, 2012, places several new legal burdens on staffing agencies in Massachusetts, as well as companies that utilize their services. Specifically, the Act requires staffing agencies to provide detailed information to temporary workers regarding, among other things, their anticipated work duties and compensation. In addition, the Act limits the fees that can be charged to temporary workers for certain work-related materials and services.
All employers who employ at least five full-time employees (in any city or state) and have at least one employee who performs work within the City of Seattle must soon comply with Seattle’s Sick/Safe Leave law. The new law goes into effect on September 1, 2012. All employees, regardless of whether they are temporary, part-time or full-time have the right to paid sick/safe leave under this law if they work in Seattle on an “occasional basis,” or more than 240 hours within a calendar year. The location of the employer’s business is not relevant.
In enacting protections from tort liability for negligent hiring and retention claims for businesses that hire and employ rehabilitated ex-offenders, Ohio joins a handful of other states that are introducing such measures to help facilitate the reintegration of ex-offenders into the workforce.
On August 6, 2012, Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts signed into law Senate Bill 2400, “An Act improving the quality of healthcare and reducing costs through increased transparency, efficiency and innovation.”
On August 1, 2012, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law a bill modifying Illinois’ Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act to limit employers’ access to applicants’ and employees’ restricted social media accounts. The Illinois bill applies to both public sector and private sector employers.
Some employers in Philadelphia must provide their employees with paid sick leave. Pursuant to an amendment to Chapter 17-1300 of the Philadelphia Code, titled “Philadelphia 21st Century Minimum Wage and Benefits Standard,” certain entities providing services to, or receiving financial aid from, the City of Philadelphia must provide up to 56 hours, or seven days, of paid sick leave to all full-time, non-temporary, non-seasonal covered employees beginning July 1, 2012. In certain circumstances, a covered employer can seek partial or total waiver of the paid sick leave requirement from the Philadelphia Office of Labor Standards. A waiver may be granted, for example, if a covered employer contends that it is unable to pay all or part of the paid sick leave or if the paid sick leave is waived by a bona fide collective bargaining agreement.
Executive Summary: Illinois has joined a growing trend to protect workers from employers who want access to their Facebook or other social networking accounts. On August 1, 2012, Governor Quinn signed into law an amendment to the Illinois Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act.
Where the parties’ arbitration agreement was neither unconscionable nor in violation of public policy, the employee must arbitrate her individual wage and hour claims against her employer, the California Court of Appeal has ruled, affirming an order compelling arbitration in a class action for California Labor Code violations. Nelsen v. Legacy Partners Residential, Inc., No. A132927 (Cal. Ct. App. Jul. 18, 2012). Significantly, the Court rejected the employee’s reliance on the National Labor Relations Board’s D.R. Horton, Inc., 357 NLRB No. 184 (2012). The Board ruled in D.R. Horton that class action waivers in employment arbitration agreements violated the National Labor Relations Act. The Court noted there was no indication in the case before it that the plaintiff was covered by the NLRA. In any event, the Court was not inclined to follow the NLRB decision, declaring it not binding and that it went beyond the scope of the NLRB’s expertise.
Pursuant to the newly amended California Labor Code section 2751, all California employers who pay employees by commission must have a written contract specifying the terms of the commission compensation at issue by January 1, 2013. Against that backdrop, a California Court of Appeal has provided another helpful decision regarding the enforceability of California commission agreements.
Executive Summary: The California Court of Appeal recently affirmed an award of over $400,000 in attorneys’ fees in favor of a group of ex-employees in a trade secret misappropriation lawsuit filed by their former employer, finding that the lawsuit was filed in bad faith. This decision highlights the importance of considering carefully whether to bring a misappropriation claim where there is little or no evidence of actual misappropriation. See SASCO v. Rosendin Electric, Inc.
Executive Summary: The Eleventh Circuit recently addressed one of the most confusing questions surrounding Georgia’s new Restrictive Covenant Act (RCA): did the law become effective on November 3, 2011, as the General Assembly intended, or did it become effective May 11, 2011, when the legislature reenacted the statute? In answer to this question, the Eleventh Circuit held unequivocally that the new law did not become effective until May 11, 2011. Accordingly, Georgia’s pre-existing law governing restrictive covenants applies to all non-compete agreements signed during the “gap period” between November 3, 2010 and May 11, 2011.
The New York State Senate and Assembly recently passed a bill amending New York Labor Law section 193 to expand an employer’s ability to make deductions from employee wages. The bill is currently awaiting delivery from the New York State Assembly to the governor’s office for his approval. The governor’s approval is virtually certain as his office previously submitted a memorandum supporting the amendment.