Employment Matters Blog

Law360: High Court UPS Ruling Means Changes to EEOC Guidance

Posted in discrimination, EEOC, employer liability, Leaves of absence, pregnancy, Supreme Court

I was quoted in a Law360 article entitled High Court UPS Ruling Means Changes to EEOC Guidance, in which I comment on the significance (or lack thereof) of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Young v. UPS decision where it introduced a new “significant burden” standard in pregnancy discrimination cases. The article also outlines the decision’s discussion of the EEOC’s updated pregnancy discrimination guidelines.

U.S. Supreme Court Revives Suit Against UPS, Extending McDonnell-Douglas Burden Shifting Framework to Pregnancy Discrimination Cases

Posted in pregnancy, Uncategorized

The U.S. Supreme Court vacated a Fourth Circuit decision Wednesday, reviving a pregnancy bias case against the United Parcel Service brought by a former delivery driver who was denied a light-duty work accommodation while pregnant. In doing so, the Court for the first time applied the well-known McDonnell-Douglas burden shifting framework to these types of pregnancy discrimination cases. However, this case may have limited impact because Congress has since amended federal discrimination laws to make pregnancy-related accommodations much more likely and because states and other locales have begun to pass laws explicitly mandating pregnancy accommodations.

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2015 Employment Law Issues Tournament: Sweet Sixteen Results and Recaps

Posted in NCAA


The Sweet Sixteen has come and gone and it was glorious.  Streamed live over our new Apple Watches, 16 employment law issues battled it out for the right to move onto the Elite Eight, which will be held next week at Sixth Circuit Stadium in Cincinnati.  The Sweet Sixteen featured some of our closest and most exciting games to date.

Before we move on though, let’s quickly recap what we’ve learned during the first two weeks of the 2015 Employment Law Issues Tournament (previous coverage of which you can access here and here).

  1. No, the Sticky Hamamuffamonut Claw™ is not actually a real pastry, but it should be, and we have made it the official sponsor of this tournament on a going forward basis.
  2. Don’t make your employment law bracket selections or confess your crimes while hot mic’d in a hotel bathroom.
  3. Our tournament bracket is not white and gold; it is white and blue, and if you can’t see that, it’s on you.
  4. And finally, never, ever, underestimate the ridiculousness of our readers’ reactions.

For example, take Stella, SVP of Talent Management at Tabimals, the first-ever tablet made exclusively for pets.  After reading our matchup analysis where the Reasonable Accommodations ran Off-the-Clock Work off the court(room), she actually emailed us a blank FMLA leave request form, told us to complete it, and then submit it to our HR department because “you all really need professional help.”  And Richard, the Chief Legal Officer at second-tier e-mail sarcasm translation service, added “you guys are like totally knocking this concept out of the park ;) #electroniceyerolls4eva.”

Thanks Stella and Richard.  Let’s move on.

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March 23, 2015 Marks the 5th Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act

Posted in Affordable Care Act, Healthcare


cardOn Tuesday, March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law. We want to take this opportunity to share with you some highlights of the past five years, and also to thank you for following our updates and insights on this momentous law! It has been a pleasure to work with all of you and we look forward to many more years of service.


Highlights of the Affordable Care Act’s First Five Years

March 23, 2010: President Obama signs the Affordable Care Act into law.

September 23, 2010: The first wave of insurance reforms takes effect, including the “age 26” coverage mandate, the prohibition on rescissions of coverage, and the ban on lifetime and annual limits. Learn more here and here.

June 28, 2012: The Supreme Court declares the ACA constitutional. Learn more here.

September 23, 2012: Summary of Benefits and Coverage requirement takes effect. Learn more here.

July 31, 2013: First PCORI fees due. Learn more here.

October 1, 2013: Exchange notices required. Learn more here.

January 1, 2014: Individual mandate takes effect.

January 1, 2014: Prohibition on pre-existing conditions takes effect. Learn more here.

January 1, 2015: Employer Shared Responsibility provisions take effect (after a one-year delay). Learn more here.


What’s Next?

Early 2016: Applicable large employers and minimum essential coverage providers required to report to the IRS and provide reports to individuals. Learn more here.

2018: “Cadillac Tax” takes effect.


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Upcoming Webinar: Responding to Insider Data Theft and Disclosure – March 25

Posted in Privacy

The Privacy & Security Matters blog is hosting a monthly webinar series. Last month, Jen Rubin and Gauri Punjabi discussed privacy issues in the workplace. This month, on Wednesday, March 25, our colleagues Jonathan Cain and Paul Pelletier will offer practical advice about responding to data theft and disclosure by employees and former employees.

Discussion topics include:

  • Conducting a proper investigation
  • Utilizing state and local civil court processes to deter, halt and remediate data thefts
  • When and how to engage local and/or federal law enforcement

You can register online for the webinar: Wednesday, March 25 at 1:00 pm ET/10:00 am PT. MCLE credit is available in New York and California.

Restrictive Covenants: The Employee Choice Doctrine Explained … Yet Again

Posted in Employee Mobility, New York, Non-compete, restrictive covenants

The “employee choice” doctrine is one of those employment terms that is as misunderstood as “right to work,” “employment at will” and my personal favorite, “labor lawyer”.  But a recent New York Federal court in IBM v Smadi, spelled it out pretty clearly: the employee choice doctrine is alive and well and has just a few simple components.

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2015 Employment Law Issues Tournament: Second Round Results and Recaps

Posted in NCAA


If you thought the Round of 64 was wild, then wait until you see what happened during the second round.  Let’s just say that some shocking upsets left many a bracket busted wide open.

Carl, the head of operations at a well-known micro-macro brewery wrote to us after round two to say that he almost fell off a barrel of their famed Williamsburg Long-Bearded Pilsner after No. 8 Wellness Programs defeated the No. 1 seed Disability Discrimination on a buzzer beater.  And an excited Lisa, the owner of an inactivity tracker bracelet company, said that No. 13 Accrued But Unused PTO’s win over heavily-favored No. 4 Minimum Wage, while absolutely making no sense, put her squarely in front of her colleagues in the office pool – the winner of which, coincidentally, gets a free paid day off.

But the best comment we received thus far was from Tim, a pastry chef at a bakery that features the first ever Sticky Hamamuffamonut Claw™ (which is illegal in 29 states and is comprised of a sticky bun, hamantashen, muffin, cinnamon roll, doughnut and bear claw).  Tim said: “This is officially way out of control.  The Mintz ELB Team has reached a level of nerdom few have surpassed.  Kudos to you and the next round of Sticky Hamamuffamonut Claws™ are on the house.  I will be calling you on Monday to arrange for an audit of my employment practices, which your tournament has made me realize I clearly need to revisit.”

We can now say two things with certainty: First, Tim’s Sticky Hamamuffamonut Claws™ are generally delicious, and second, it’s becoming harder and harder for us to figure out which employment law issue is the most important.  But have no fear; we will follow through on our promise to answer that question as coverage of the 2015 Employment Law Issues Tournament continues below.

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Workplace Challenges in 2015, Part 5 of 5: Workplace Training Programs Remain a Critical Component to Eliminating Employment Claims

Posted in Applicant, Hiring, Human Resources

Recently, Mintz Levin held a seminar in New York City that addressed some of the major challenges employers are facing in the New Year.  Our program contained segments on New York City’s paid sick leave law, effective management of HR Issues, the Affordable Care Act, employment practices liability insurance coverage, and workplace privacy.  We have been posting a series of entries following up on the critical workplace issues raised during these segments.

Today’s topic: Making Workplace Training a Priority

During our segment on effective management of HR issues, our moderator, Andrew Bernstein of Mintz Levin, and presenters, Lisa Barse Bernstein, the Global Head of Human Resources at Apollo Global Management, LLC, Remy Nicholas, Vice President of HR at Alma Bank, and Leslie Ballantyne, Vice President, Absence Management & Employee Wellness at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center discussed a variety of issues and challenges HR managers face in attempting to minimize exposure to employment law claims.  Among the topics discussed by our panelists: ensuring compliance with the complex web of Federal, state and local employment laws, issues raised in the context of hiring, social media in the workplace, and the topic we will discuss in this post: the importance of workplace training.

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D.C. Issues Pay Notice Templates for New Wage Theft Law

Posted in District of Columbia, employer liability, notices, staffing, Wage and Hour

The D.C. Mayor’s office recently issued employee pay notices templates that employers may use to satisfy the pay notice requirements under D.C.’s new Wage Theft Prevention Amendment Act.  The Act, which took effect on February 26, 2015, requires employers, among other things, to provide written pay notices to all new employees at the time of hire, and to existing employees by May 27, 2015.  The Department of Employment Services’ website has now made available a template for general employers and a template for temporary staffing firms.  Employers should now move forward with providing notices to all new and existing employees, but they need only do so in English and not in the employee’s primary language unless and until the Mayor’s office releases a template in that language.

2015 Employment Law Issues Tournament: First Round Results and Recaps

Posted in NCAA

ELB-Tourn-BracketRd1BBallThis past weekend, while college basketball teams across America finished up their conference tournaments, 64 employment law issues played in the first round of our tournament, and boy did it live up to the hype.  Filled with upsets galore and exciting finishes, employment law fans everywhere were not disappointed.

Kevin, a Human Resources professional at a Midwest-based butter sculpting company and die hard Paid Sick Leave fan even remarked: “I deal with employment madness all day, and I’ve simply never seen madness like this and it’s Awesome with a capital A baby.”  Rebecca, the General Counsel at the same company as Kevin said: “I’m really not amused by this; my entire HR department is now a lost cause for the next two weeks – thank you Mintz Levin!”  And then there was Marvin, the CFO at a second-tier nap pod manufacturer and distributor, who asked: “What is happening right now?  Seriously, someone tell me.”

We’ll tell you what is happening Marv – we are trying to figure out the most important employment law issue of the day, and while there is no real answer to this question, we thought we’d take a stab at it anyway.  And now, below, we are pleased to present you with the results from the round of 64, including some recaps of the best matchups.

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