California’s new Ban the Box regulation became effective last week. Effective July 1, 2017, questions concerning an applicant or employee’s criminal convictions will now be subject to the new regulation that employers can locate here. That regulation raises the bar employers must clear in order to pose criminal conviction-related questions to applicants and employees.  And it raises it significantly.  We discuss the new regulation below.

Continue Reading California Joins the Ban-the-Box Bandwagon

We have co-authored an alert with our affiliate government relations consulting group, ML Strategies entitled, “Massachusetts State Legislature Takes Action on Major Employment Reform as Legislative Session Ends”, which addresses key legislation concerning pay equity, transgender anti-discrimination, non-compete agreement reform, credit checks reform and wage theft. The alert provides a review of the new laws and their implications for employers.

If you follow my corporate divorce series, you are familiar with my affinity for the employment-as-marriage metaphor.  I’ve already examined how employment relationships end or should end.  But I have yet to address an employment metaphor relevant to annulments.

Unlike divorce, which is the judicial dissolution of a legal marriage, an annulment is actually a judicial (and sometimes also religious) decree that the marriage was never valid in the first place.  Typically an annulment is based on a fundamental legal flaw, such as fraud or marrying close kin or some other core defect that goes to the heart of the marriage contract.  An annulment declares that the “marriage” is treated as if it never existed, provided a core reason exists to nullify it.

So what, if anything, annuls an employment contract?

Continue Reading Corporate Divorce Series: Do Fraudulent Credentials Annul Employment Contracts?

Written by David Cohen with Michael Arnold

Since 2012, many states have enacted laws that restrict an employer’s capacity to access employees’ personal email and social media accounts.  Last month, Connecticut joined the party and became the 21st state to enact an employer-employee social media privacy law.

Continue Reading Add Connecticut to Your List of States with a Social Media Privacy Policy Law Favoring Employees

Have you ever been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony that was not dismissed, expunged, or sealed?  New York City employers, if you ask that question on your employment application or some version of that question, then remove it.  If you search the internet or other databases to learn about your applicants’ criminal history, then stop it.  Or at least do so by the fall when the Fair Chance Act, New York City’s “ban the box” law, which Mayor de Blasio is expected to sign, goes into effect.  New York City now joins a growing list of jurisdictions to ban criminal conviction inquiries during the screening process.  The key difference here is that unlike most jurisdictions, New York City extends its prohibitions to private employers.  We briefly summarize the law below.

Continue Reading Ban the Box (Plus) Comes to New York City; Jurisdiction Latest to Prohibit Employers From Inquiring About Criminal History

A Magistrate Judge in the Northern District of California recently handed down an important decision regarding the application of the Fair Credit Reporting Act to one of LinkedIn’s search products.  The decision in Sweet v. LinkedIn Corp. comes amidst a fluid legal landscape for employers and consumer reporting agencies trying to remain in compliance with the FCRA and provides another example of a court grappling with how to reconcile new technologies with existing statutes.

Continue Reading California District Court Holds That LinkedIn’s “Reference Searches” Function Is Not a Consumer Report Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act

The New York City Council passed the Stop Credit Discrimination in Employment Act last Thursday.  It amends the New York City Human Rights Law to prohibit most employers from making employment decisions based on an employee or applicant’s consumer credit history. The law will go into effect in the late summer. We discuss the law and its implications below.

Continue Reading New York City Will Prohibit Most Employers From Basing Employment Decisions on an Applicant or Employee’s Consumer Credit History

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.

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

Some employers in the health care and other industries who regularly deal with the federal government and are subject to the False Claims Act (“FCA”) have felt helpless in trying to weed out serial whistleblowers in the hiring process. After all, most anti-retaliation provisions prohibit retaliation against both employees and applicants. For example, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 expressly prohibits retaliation against both employees and “applicants for employment.” Therefore, it is unlawful under Title VII to refuse to hire an applicant for employment because she complained about discrimination in prior jobs. A recent Sixth Circuit decision in the case of Gary Vander Boegh v Energy Solutions, Inc., has confirmed, however, that job applicants who have a history of reporting alleged FCA violations do not enjoy the same protection: employers can lawfully refuse to hire an applicant because of his prior history as an FCA whistleblower. Continue Reading Sixth Circuit Decision Confirms that Employers May Lawfully Choose Not to Hire a Job Applicant with a Prior History as a False Claims Act Whistleblower

Written by Jessica Catlow

Back in the summer, we wrote about the Equal Opportunity Commission’s release of its updated enforcement guidance on pregnancy discrimination claims under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.  Under the PDA, discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth or related conditions are a form of sex discrimination.  Two recent cases highlight that both juries and the EEOC intend to take pregnancy discrimination claims seriously.

Continue Reading Juries and the EEOC Take Aim at Pregnancy Discrimination