Short of a successful (but highly unlikely) appeal, the Obama-era overtime rule is now officially no longer.  That rule would have required employers to pay employees a little more than $47,000 annually to qualify under one of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s white collar exemptions.  The rule was already in limbo when a Texas Federal district court judge temporarily prevented its enforcement just before Thanksgiving last year, and now that same judge has struck down the rule permanently just before another major American holiday.

 

Continue Reading Employers Receive Important Overtime Law News Just Before Labor Day

Last month, a California state appellate court issued a decision that, as the dissent characterized, went “where no one has gone before.”  In Castro-Ramirez v. Dependable Highway Express, Inc., the court held that California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) – California’s anti-discrimination law – requires an employer to provide a reasonable accommodation to a nondisabled employee who associates with a disabled person.  This troubling and broad interpretation of the law, which effectively would import a caregiver accommodation requirement into the law, has certainly captured the attention of employers even outside this jurisdiction.

Continue Reading Does an Employer have to Accommodate a Nondisabled Employee Because of Another’s Disability? Yes, Says One California State Appellate Court

The Fifth Circuit recently held that a third party witness who was fired after providing information in response to her employer’s investigation of a coworker’s harassment allegations had to demonstrate she had a “reasonable belief” that the conduct she reported violated Title VII in order to prove her retaliation claim.

Continue Reading Fifth Circuit Holds Third Party Witness’ Retaliation Claim Requires “Reasonable Belief” That a Title VII Violation Has Occurred

Last week, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued a seminal ruling in Bulwer v. Mt. Auburn, which clarified the type of evidence an employment discrimination plaintiff needs to defeat a summary judgment motion.  In doing so, the SJC lightened plaintiffs’ burden of proof concerning pre-textual terminations and may have changed the rules of the game for Massachusetts employers and employees alike.

Continue Reading Massachusetts SJC Lightens Plaintiffs’ Summary Judgment Burden in Employment Discrimination Cases

Sometimes a judge says what many of us are already thinking.  In Rivera v. Crowell & Moring L.L.P., Katherine B. Forrest was that judge.

Continue Reading New York Federal Court Judge Expresses Dismay Over NYC Human Rights Law Claim Legal Standard

While we were in the midst of office holiday parties and end of the year celebrations, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals came down with two precedential decisions for employers to ponder in the New Year.  In Williams v. Genex Services, LLC, the Court analyzed the FLSA’s learned professional exemption, while in Calderon v. GEICO General Insurance Co., the Court analyzed the FLSA’s administrative function exemption.

Continue Reading The Fourth Circuit’s Countdown to 2016 Includes Two FLSA Classification Decisions

In August, we wrote about the First Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in Abril-Rivera v. Johnson, which affirmed a lower court ruling dismissing location-based discrimination and retaliation claims against FEMA.  Last week, however, the First Circuit withdrew that decision and issued an amended opinion in the case.  It is still a victory for employers, but one with slightly less import.

Continue Reading First Circuit Withdraws Earlier Opinion in Location-Based Discrimination Case; Issues Less Expansive Amended Opinion

Recently, the First Circuit Court of Appeals held that former employees of a FEMA call center could not proceed in their Title VII location-based disparate impact and retaliation claims against the agency.  The case, Abril-Rivera v. Johnson, involved employees who worked for FEMA, a government agency, but the decision has important implications for private sector employers as well.

Continue Reading First Circuit Says Plaintiffs Cannot Prevail on Location-Based Discrimination Claims Based on a Disparate Impact Theory

As a major national company learned recently, employers cannot shirk their obligations to investigate employee complaints of a hostile work environment simply because the identity of the harasser is unknown.  Failure to investigate all good faith complaints of harassment can result in serious liability for the employer under the anti-discrimination statutes.

Continue Reading Federal Court Says Employer Can Be Liable for Acts of Anonymous Harasser

Last Friday, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals sitting en banc held that telecommuting up to four days a week was not a reasonable accommodation under the ADA for a disabled Ford Motor Co. employee.  The decision, EEOC v. Ford Motor Co., provided a win for employers (and a setback for the EEOC) by reversing an earlier decision issued by a divided panel of three Sixth Circuit judges, which had held that telecommuting was a reasonable accommodation for this particular employee.

Continue Reading En Banc Sixth Circuit Decision Holds That Telecommuting Was Not a Reasonable Accommodation Under the Americans with Disabilities Act for Ford Employee