On Monday, for the second time in less than a year, a federal appeals court ruled that Title VII forbids sexual orientation discrimination because it is a form of sex discrimination. This time, in Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc. the Second Circuit overturned decades of precedent and ruled that Title VII’s ban on discrimination “because of . . . sex” encompasses discrimination based on sexual orientation. The decision is also an apparent rebuke of the position taken by the United States Department of Justice (contrary to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s position) that sexual orientation discrimination was never intended to by Congress to be covered by Title VII. The issue is almost certainly headed to the Supreme Court in its next term.
As we reported in an earlier blog post, the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice issued guidance in the waning days of the Obama administration reminding HR professionals and others that the antitrust laws could apply in the employment arena, particularly with respect to hiring and compensation matters. There was some question about how vigorously the Trump Administration’s antitrust enforcement would be in this area, but those questions should no longer exist. 2018 is already turning out to likely be an important year regarding antitrust attacks on “no-poach” agreements between businesses, with a class being certified in a major damage action and the head of the Department of Justice Antitrust Division indicating last month that criminal indictments based upon such agreements would be shortly forthcoming. Executives and HR Departments should recognize the significant risks associated with express or implied agreements or “understandings”—or even “gentlemen’s agreements”—where businesses agree not to hire (or poach) each other’s employees or executives.
Friendly reminder to our readers that on April 6, 2017, Mintz Levin will be hosting its Third Annual Employment Law Summit at the Princeton Club in New York City. This half-day seminar will feature as its keynote speaker Liz Vladeck, the Deputy Commissioner for the Office of Labor Policy and Standards at the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs. Deputy Commissioner Vladeck will discuss NYC’s new Office of Labor Policy and Standards, its initiatives, and enforcement of the expanding universe of NYC employment laws (i.e. Freelance Workers act). The seminar will also offer various segments on the most important workplace issues of the day, including how the new Trump Administration will impact workplace law, cybersecurity issues in the workplace, equal pay, wage and hour, employee relations, employee benefits, and more – it’s a program that you will not want to miss. Registration is still open, so if you would like to attend click here.
This event is intended for HR professionals, in-house counsel, and senior executives.
The arrival of March Madness means our firm’s Third Annual Employment Law Summit is just around the corner. Even if you are recovering from a bracket-busting NCAA tournament, we know you will enjoy our panel discussion on The Trump Administration and the Impact on Workplace Law. Forget a basketball – employers need a crystal ball to predict how the new employment law landscape will impact their human resources policies and practices.
Last week the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice jointly issued guidance to educate companies, and in particular human resource professionals, on how antitrust laws apply in the employment arena, particularly with respect to hiring and compensation matters. Human resource professionals should familiarize themselves with this guidance, which we summarize below, as the DOJ and FTC made it clear that HR professionals may be held individually responsible for certain employment-based antitrust violations.
Can an employer escape a treble damage award under the Massachusetts Wage Act where it makes a late payment of final wages to a fired employee after the employee filed a wage complaint with the state Attorney General but before the employee filed a complaint with the court? That is the question which a Massachusetts Superior Court recently answered in the affirmative.
Written by Angel Feng
A New York federal court recently said that the plaintiff-employees involved in a wage and hour lawsuit are not required to produce their immigration documents and information. The case is important because it limits an employer’s ability to defend against such claims based on their workers’ potential illegal immigration status.
The Justice Department announced that the new ADA Standards for Accessible Design (“Standards”) went into effect last Thursday, March 15. The Standards were adopted as part of the 2010 revisions to the ADA regulations. The new requirements will provide accessibility for more than 54 million persons with disabilities at facilities subject to Title II of the ADA (state and local government buildings) and Title III of the ADA (public accommodations and commercial facilities).
We previously wrote about the EEOC’s increasingly aggressive position against inflexible leave of absence policies that provide for automatic termination of employment when an employee does not or cannot return to work at the end of a specified maximum leave period, such as when the employee has exhausted available FMLA leave. We have also written about the public hearing held by the EEOC in June 2011, which discussed the use of extended leaves of absence as reasonable accommodation for a disability covered under the expansive Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act. A new development suggests that employers may also need to consider the use of extended leaves of absence as accommodation for employees’ religious beliefs.