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SCOTUS Will Decide Whether Title VII Protects LGBTQ Workers

After considerable anticipation, the U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to hear three cases involving questions of whether Title VII's prohibition against sex discrimination encompasses discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The first two cases, Altitude Express v. Zarda and Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, were brought by employees who alleged their employers terminated their employment after learning they were gay. The Court's decision will resolve a widening circuit split over whether Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In Altitude Express, the Second Circuit joined the Seventh Circuit in holding it does cover sexual orientation, overturning longstanding precedent in the process. The court reasoned "the most natural reading of the statute's prohibition on discrimination 'because of . . . sex' is that it extends to sexual orientation discrimination because sex is necessarily a factor in sexual orientation." In Bostock, the Eleventh Circuit held it does not, explaining it remained bound by a 1979 case holding "[d]ischarge for homosexuality is not prohibited by Title VII." More ›

In a Win for Labor Unions, Illinois Governor Pritzker Signs Bill Prohibiting Municipalities from Establishing Right-to-Work Zones

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker recently signed into law the Collective Bargaining Freedom Act, formally ending an initiative of former Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner. Effective as of April 12, 2019, the new law limits the ability of municipalities, counties, villages, and taxing districts to enact "right-to-work zones" which prevent employers and unions who work within the zones from executing, implementing, and enforcing union security provisions. More ›

DOL Proposes Tweaks to FLSA Regular Rate Regulations, Changes Won't Impose New Regulatory Requirements

The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced proposed changes to the regular rate regulations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). According to the DOL, the proposed changes are focused on updating and clarifying the regular rate regulations, and intended to encourage employers to provide additional benefits to workers without inviting litigation. More ›

Eleventh Circuit Clarifies Legal Standard in Evaluating Similarly Situated Individuals

For years, advocates in the Eleventh Circuit have expressed confusion over the term "similarly situated" when addressing claims of discrimination under the McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting analysis. In a rare move, the Eleventh Circuit sought to clear up "the mess" it had created through prior circuit court decisions. As a result of the Court's findings, employers—particularly those in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida—will have more clarity when evaluating possible discrimination claims. More ›

Employee Participation in an Employer-Sponsored Volunteer Program is Not Compensable, DOL Says

The Department of Labor (DOL), Wage and Hour Division, recently issued its first set of opinion letters for 2019. One of the letters, FLSA2019-02, addresses whether employee time spent participating in an employer's optional volunteer program is compensable work time under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). As many employers today offer optional volunteer programs to their employees, this opinion letter is helpful for employers to determine whether employee time spent volunteering with such a program is compensable. More ›

Court Orders EEOC to Resume Collection of Pay Data

In a move directed at addressing inequities in pay and preventing pay discrimination, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia rejected the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) decision to stay the collection of pay data by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Unclear from the Court's decision, however, is when the EEOC will begin implementation of the pay data collection. For employers subject to this requirement, organizing pay records and information will only help streamline their reporting process once it gets underway. More ›

Why the ADA Can Make it Difficult for a Direct Supervisor to Discharge an Employee

It is often a challenge for employers to decide on who will deliver the bad news to an employee that their employment has ended. That decision may depend on who can connect with an employee and cause the least amount of personal and workplace turmoil.

Direct supervisors may rightfully claim they have special insight into certain workplace tensions and feel they are best positioned to steer clear of these tensions during a termination meeting with an employee. But in some instances, the law actually favors using Human Resources personnel or managers with less personal interaction with the employee. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is one such example, and employers should consider using management personnel who can credibly and demonstrably deny knowledge of personal observations or individualized data when ending an employment relationship with an employee considered "impaired" under the ADA. More ›

The End of the Saga of DOL's Proposed Changes to FLSA Overtime Rules?

For nearly four years, proposed Department of Labor (DOL) rule changes that would expand the number of workers eligible for overtime wages have remained in limbo. The latest twist in this long-standing saga came last week, when the DOL published a new "Notice of Proposed Rule Making" (NPRM), which sets a new salary threshold for overtime pay at $679 per week ($35,308 per year). Under these proposed rules, any salaried employee earning less than that amount, will be entitled to overtime for the hours the employee works beyond forty (40) in a week. More ›

It's Legal—Local Ordinances Can Raise Minimum Wage Above Minnesota State Statute

The Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court ruling that a Minneapolis ordinance raising the minimum wage did not conflict with—and was not impliedly preempted by—state statute, clearing the path for a rise in minimum wages in the municipality. (Graco, Inc., et al. v. City of Minneapolis, Case No. A18-0593). While review may still be sought at the Minnesota Supreme Court, employers in Minneapolis should continue complying with the ordinance's minimum wage requirements. More ›

Minimum Wage in Illinois Set to Nearly Double by 2025

Employers in Illinois will be dealing with double digit minimum wage increases over the next several years, after Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed "The Lifting Up Illinois Working Families Act" into law. More ›

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