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California Senators Defy Federal Law by Making Employment-Based Arbitration Agreements Optional

On August 22, 2018, California senators passed a bill that prevents employers from forcing employees to sign mandatory arbitration or nondisclosure agreements in order to secure and/or maintain employment.  AB 3080 prevents retaliation against workers who choose not to sign mandatory arbitration agreements that would waive their right to pursue legal action under the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act or the California Labor Code in courts.  The intent of the bill is not to outlaw arbitration agreements in their entirety, but to provide workers and job applicants with the option to choose the forum in which to air out their grievances. The proposed legislation will now move to the desk of Governor Brown for final approval.  More ›

Make Sure You Are Using the New FMLA Forms

On September 4, 2018, the Department of Labor issued new FMLA notices and certification forms.  The changes made are procedural in nature and were the result of the DOL's obligation to submit its forms to the Federal Office of Management and Budget every three years.  The prior forms expired on May 31, 2018, however, they were renewed on a temporary basis pending approval by the OMB.  Now that the approval is completed, the new forms reflect the updated expiration date of August 21, 2021.  To ensure you are using the updated forms, be sure to look for this new expiration date in the upper right-hand corner of the DOL Wage and Hour Division form.  Though the substance of the forms does not appear to have changed, employers will want to make sure they have switched to most current forms.   More ›

Amendments to Illinois Human Rights Act Allows Claimants to Bypass IDHR and Extend Filing Deadline

Late last month, the Illinois Human Rights Act was amended to provide a new judicial option for complainants and a longer charge filing period. Complainants now have the right to opt out of the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") investigative process and request a right to sue. From there, they can take their claims directly into court. The time for filing charges has also been expanded from 180 days to 300 days. These changes align the Illinois Human Rights Act with federal statutes such as Title VII that provide complaining parties both with the right to forego investigation and a longer filing period. More ›

Massachusetts Employers, It Is Time to Review Your Non-Competes

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law a comprehensive non-compete law that will take effect on October 1, 2018 (“the Act”). It applies to all non-competes entered after the effective date. The Act follows several attempts by the Massachusetts Legislature to agree on a reform that spanned several years. Here are the highlights: More ›

Rigid Compliance with Company Policy May Violate the ADA

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued a decision upholding a jury's guilty verdict against a large national retailer. Although a straightforward application of the Americans with Disabilities Act, this case a great example of how strict enforcement of company policy can run afoul of the Act’s prohibition against discrimination and an employer’s obligation to provide reasonable accommodations. More ›

Positive Result for Employer: New Jersey Federal District Court Holds No Duty to Waive Drug Test for Medical Marijuana Patients

New Jersey is the latest state to offer clarity on an employer's obligations to accommodate its employees' medical marijuana use. In Cotto v. Ardagh Glass Packaging, New Jersey's Federal District Court held that neither the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination ("NJLAD") nor the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act ("CUMMA") requires an employer to waive a drug test as a condition of employment for an employee who uses medical marijuana. More ›

When an Employer Must Accommodate a Full-Time Employee with Part-Time Hours

Working full-time hours is an essential function of a full-time job, right? Not necessarily, said the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in a Hostettler v. The College of Wooster. When the job can be done on a reduced schedule, at least in the short term, employers have a duty to accommodate. More ›

7th Circuit Approves Well-Constructed Lateral Transfer As a Reasonable Accommodation

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently determined that an Illinois Sheriff’s Department did not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by declining to provide a deputy his requested accommodation, an SUV, and instead transferring him to a position that did not require driving. The deputy had alleged the Department’s failed to accommodate him by refusing to provide him with an SUV, then retaliated against him by transferring him to a courthouse duty position. More ›

President Trump's Executive Orders Affecting Federal Labor and Employment Law Signify Continued Employer-Friendly Shifts

There have been a lot of changes lately with public sector employment and unions over the last few months.

Of course, first on everyone's minds is the Janus decision at the United State Supreme Court, which held that laws requiring public-sector employees who are not union members to pay union agency fees violate the First Amendment. We previously unpacked this decision in great detail.

Less well known are a series of executive orders that affect federal employees. While these changes do not directly impact private employers or state-level public employees, the executive orders show a considerable paradigm shift in employment law with this administration. As always, these kinds of moves help demonstrate to employers how the environment has changed or may continue to shift. More ›

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