Welcome back for this month’s edition of the Bubbler!  There’s plenty to talk about, so let’s jump right in.

The California Supreme Court issued an important decision this week addressing the test for whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee.  The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a Seventh Circuit decision upholding an employer’s rule that a months-long leave of absence was not a reasonable accommodation. The Ninth Circuit held that employers are prohibited from using an employee’s past salary as a legitimate “factor other than sex” for purposes of defeating a Fair Pay Act claim, emphasizing that allowing the inclusion of prior salaries would only perpetuate gender pay disparity. The Fifth Circuit downsized ERISA fiduciary standards in a ruling that invalidated a set of seven expansive fiduciary rules. The Northern District of Illinois issued an unusual ruling, holding that two plaintiffs’ claims were subject to an enforceable arbitration agreement, yet refused to compel arbitration. The DOJ challenged a set of competitors’ no-poaching agreements as per se violations of the Sherman Act, which regulates concerted anti-competitive action. Finally, in the wake of the #MeToo movement, New York (state and city) have passed new laws concerning workplace sexual harassment.

As always, stay tuned for more employment matters updates!

On April 3, 2018, the Department of Justice Antitrust Division (“DOJ” or “Antitrust Division”) filed an antitrust complaint against Knorr-Bremse AG (“Knorr”) and Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corporation (“Wabtec”) for agreeing not to “solicit, recruit, hire without prior approval, or otherwise compete for employees” (collectively, “no-poach agreements”).  According to the complaint, Knorr and Wabtec are “each other’s top competitors for rail equipment used in freight and passenger rail applications” and also compete with each other to “attract, hire and retain various skilled employees, including rail industry project managers, engineers, sales executives, business unit heads, and corporate officers.”

Continue Reading DOJ Targets No-Poach Agreements Among Competitors