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Young v. UPS – An Important Case on Pregnancy Discrimination

On March 25, 2015 the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in Young v. United States Parcel Service. This is an important case because it clarifies what constitutes unlawful discrimination under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”). Employers should carefully review this case and ensure that they are not inadvertently discriminating against pregnant employees by refusing to accommodate their temporary physical restrictions.

Policy Update: FMLA Rights Extended to Same-Sex Spouses

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) new rule broadening the definition “spouse” under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to provide legally married same-sex couples the same rights under the law as married opposite-sex couples becomes effective on March 27, 2015.

Supreme Court Makes It Easier for Administrative Agencies to Change “Interpretive Rules”

Last week, the Supreme Court of the United States held that Interpretive Rules issued by administrative agencies do not have to undergo the notice-and-comment rulemaking procedures of the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) even if they contradict or substantially change previously issued Interpretive Rules. Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association, et al., —S.Ct.—, 2015 WL 998535 (Mar. 9, 2015). Specifically, the Court held that the Department of Labor was allowed to change its position on whether mortgage-loan officers were exempt from the overtime provisions of the FLSA even though (1) it did not follow the APA’s notice-and-comment rules prior to changing its position and (2) it had taken the exact opposite position just four year earlier.

New OSHA Reporting Rules to Become Effective Jan. 1, 2015

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will celebrate 2015 by implementing new regulations relating to an employer’s duty to report work-related fatalities, injuries, and illnesses. The new regulations go into effect on January 1, 2015 for all workplaces that fall under federal OSHA jurisdiction.

Rip Van Winkle Awakens! – The NLRB Overturns Register-Guard

In their dissent to the National Labor Relations Board’s Register-Guard decision, Board Members Liebman and Walsh classically stated that “the NLRB has become the ‘Rip Van Winkle of administrative agencies. Only a Board that has been asleep for the past 20 years could . . . contend, as the majority does, that an e-mail system is a piece of communications equipment to be treated just as the law treats bulletin boards, telephones, and pieces of scrap paper.” See 351 NLRB 1110, 1121 (2007). After a seven year slumber, the Board has awoken and is attempting to get with the times. See Purple Commc’ns, Inc., 361 NLRB No. 126 (2014). A 3-2 majority of the Board adopted the logic of Liebman and Walsh’s dissent and overruled what many believed to be a canonical case on the balance between employees’ Section 7 rights and employers’ property rights.

Administrative Agencies Cracking Down on Overly Broad Arbitration and Severance Agreements

The Supreme Court’s pro-arbitration and pro-alternative dispute resolution jurisprudence is being met with opposition from administrative agencies, especially the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). As a result, common employment practices, such as mandatory arbitration provisions and severance agreements, are being subject to intense legal scrutiny.

FMLA Leave – 7th Circuit Rejects Participation in Ongoing Treatment Requirement

HR managers are frequently asked to decide whether employee requests for unpaid time off qualify as leave protected by the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). The FMLA gives eligible employees a right to take up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave in order to care for their spouse, son, daughter or parent if that person has a serious health condition. See 29 U.S.C. § 2612(a)(1)(C) (2013) (emphasis added). Some courts have held that “caring for a family member with a serious health condition involves some level of participation in ongoing treatment of that condition.” See Marchisheck v. San Mateo County, 199 F.3d 1068,1076 (9th Cir.1999).

Top Tips: Holiday Parties – Practical Guide for Employees

Sue Willman provides general guidelines for employers hosting holiday parties that may help to reduce or minimize potential liability.

Practical Suggestions for Dealing with Issues Regarding Social Media, the ADA and Independent Contractors – Part II

On October 15, 2013, Ron Fano, Jamie Cotter, and Phil Quatrochi presented a webinar addressing practical suggestions for proactively dealing with issues implicating the Americans with Disabilities Act, independent contractor status, and social media. If you were unable to attend, you may view the session recording by clicking here.
The webinar generated several interesting questions with broad application. In our previous post, we discussed questions involving reasonable accommodations under the ADA.  Today, we address a question involving independent contractor classification. 

Practical Suggestions Regarding Social Media, the ADA and Independent Contractors – Part I

On October 15, 2013, Ron Fano, Jamie Cotter, and Phil Quatrochi presented a webinar addressing practical suggestions for proactively dealing with issues implicating the Americans with Disabilities Act, independent contractor status, and social media. If you were unable to attend you may view a recording of the session by clicking here.  
The webinar generated several interesting questions with broad application. Today, we answer two of these questions (regarding the ADA), and we will address others in upcoming posts.

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