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On October 20, 2010, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission held a hearing on employer use of credit history as tool to screen candidates for employment.
On September 30, 2010, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the “EEOC”) filed a lawsuit against a non-profit social services agency, claiming that the agency had discriminated against an employee on the basis of her disability—severe obesity.
As recently reported in Employment Law 360 (subscription required), the EEOC sued US Steel alleging that certain of its alcohol testing practices violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In an Administrator’s Interpretation issued on June 22, 2010, The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has "clarified" the definition of “son or daughter” under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) as it applies to an employee standing in loco parentis to a child. The result is to significantly expand the universe of caregivers entitled to FMLA leave.
In the long awaited case of City of Ontario v Quon, the Supreme Court has ruled that city officials could search the personal text messages sent on text devices owned by the city and provided to certain employees for business use.
Many hospitals and other healthcare providers are government contractors, and must comply with various laws and regulations enforced by the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), but don't realize it.

New York Employers Beware: Task Force at Work!

June 23, 2010 | Blog | By David Barmak

The New York State Joine Enforcement Task Force on Employee Misclassification has been hard at work and reports that it has uncovered more than 12,000 instances of misclassification and recovered more than $400 million in unpaid wages.

Supreme Court decides City of Ontario v Quon

June 18, 2010 | Blog | By David Barmak

See this interesting write-up of the Supreme Court's decision in the text message privacy case, City of Ontario v Quon.
See this recent Mintz Levin advisory answering some "FAQs" on health care reform's impact on employee benefits.
Health care reform impacts employers in many significant ways. While the effects of reform on insurance coverage and other requirements have been widely publicized, much less well-understood are various amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
On April 1, 2010, the United States Department of Labor launched a new, nationwide marketing campaign, dubbed “We Can Help,” to let workers know how to contact the government with their work-related complaints. The marketing campaign, which is being conducted in several different languages, is intended to connect workers with the Department of Labor.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently reversed an order of summary judgment for JetBlue Airways Corp. on a former employee’s sexual harassment claim in Gorzynski v. JetBlue Airways Corp.
According to an article posted on the DC Crawler website, the “Obama administration is considering a proposal that would heavily favor government contractors that implement policies designed by organized labor.”
If you own, license, maintain, store or process the “personal information” of a Massachusetts resident – including that of your own employees – time is getting short for compliance with the Massachusetts data security regulations.  Our colleagues in our Privacy and Security group have published a Privacy and Security Alert regarding the upcoming March 1 deadline.

Increased Federal Enforcement of Employment Laws is On the Way

February 1, 2010 | Blog | By David Barmak

Anyone still listening at the end of President Obama’s first State of the Union Address heard him say the following: “We're going to crack down on violations of equal pay laws, so that women get equal pay for an equal day's work. " He was serious, and the "crack down," likely won't be limited to equal pay law violations.
Here's a link to a short article I wrote for Employment Law 360 discussing the success FedEx has had in establishing that drivers for its FedEx Home subsidiary are independent contractors, not employees, including the D.C. Circuit's favorable decision which focused on the fact that the drivers have an "entrepreneurial interest" in their routes
On Monday, December 14, 2009, the United States Supreme Court announced that it will hear arguments in USA Mobility Wireless Inc. v. Quon, a case that may have a significant impact on employers’ rights to monitor employees’ electronic communications. The important facts of Quon may be summarized as follows:
Most employers are familiar with federal and state laws requiring them to reasonably accommodate an applicant or employee with a disability, unless the accommodation would result in an undue hardship.
In an interesting case out of New York, the Second Circuit affirmed the District Court's refusal to enjoin an executive from working for his ex-employer's competitor where he had signed the contract in the wrong place an indicated an intention not to be bound by the Agreement. See Mintz Levin's Alert on the subject for more information on this case.

What's up with the Employee Free Choice Act?

November 4, 2009 | Blog | By David Barmak

What's up with the Employee Free Choice Act?  The short answer is… not much. Most recently, in September, Sen. Arlen Specter described his work on a revised version of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).
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