SCOTUS nominee ‘excellent’ choice for employers

February 01, 2017 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court’s vacant seat may be good news for employers, according to employment law attorneys.

Gorsuch is known for adhering to the letter of the law, which means he won’t create any new rights through judicial activism, according to John Husband, a senior partner at Holland & Hart in the judge’s hometown of Denver.

Trump announced his pick January 31, calling Gorsuch “a man who our country really needs—and needs badly—to ensure the rule of law and the rule of justice.”

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Supreme Court will consider class action waivers

January 20, 2017 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a trio of wage and hour cases involving arbitration agreements that require workers to waive their right to pursue employment claims as a group.

In recent years, the validity of such waivers has divided federal appeals courts and drawn the attention of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The Board has held several times that even though federal law allows employers to adopt mandatory arbitration agreements, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) grants workers the nonwaivable right to pursue claims on a class or collective basis.

The NLRB first reached that conclusion in 2012, holding that an employer’s arbitration agreement violated the NLRA because it required employees to agree to dispute claims individually. The employer appealed to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which reversed the Board’s ruling. D.R. Horton, Inc. v. NLRB, 737 F.3d 344 (5th Cir., 2013).

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With Trump win, many employment initiatives in question

November 09, 2016 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

Recent employment initiatives undertaken by the Obama administration could be in jeopardy under Donald Trump’s presidency, but employers still need to comply with those laws and regulations for now, says one expert.

“In general, things are going to be pretty unpredictable,” said Connor Beatty, an associate with Brann & Isaacson  in Maine and editor of Maine Employment Law Letter. Not only has Trump never held public office, but he’s also changed his position on issues several times, Beatty said.

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Transgender bathroom case makes it to Supreme Court

by Rachael L. Loughlin

On October 28, 2016, the Supreme Court granted the request of the School Board of Gloucester County to consider whether the Court should overturn a decision of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Fourth Circuit ordered the School Board to allow Gavin Grimm, who was born female but identifies as male, to use the boys’ restroom during his senior year of high school.

By now, most HR professionals are aware of the ongoing debate as to what restrooms should be available to transgender individuals. Though individual cases are popping up all over the country, none has captured public attention like the case of transgender Gloucester High School student, Gavin Grimm. Grimm is being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and his lawsuit contends that the School Board’s restroom policy requiring students to use the restroom matching their physical gender, is discriminatory and violates Title IX of the federal education code, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.

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Ruling gives employees more time to file constructive discharge claims

May 24, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

A May 23 U.S. Supreme Court ruling clears up questions about how long employees have to file constructive discharge claims, and the decision likely means more pressure for employers potentially facing such lawsuits.

In Green v. Brennan, the Court ruled 7-1 that a U.S. Postal Service employee in Englewood, Colorado, filed a constructive discharge claim within the time period allowed for such claims. The employer had maintained that the claim came too late, and the lower courts agreed.

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Compulsory public-sector union dues survive deadlocked Supreme Court

March 29, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

A 4-4 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a closely watched case on public-sector unions leaves previous legal precedent intact, effectively sealing a union victory.

On March 29, the evenly split Court issued a one-sentence ruling in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association that allows the decision of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to stand. If not for the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February, the ruling may have gone the other way.

“With Justice Scalia’s death, public-sector unions dodged not just a bullet but a cannonball,” Jeffrey Sloan, an attorney with Renne Sloan Holtzman Sakai LLP in San Francisco, said after the ruling was announced.

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Supreme Court ruling eases the way for certain class actions

March 22, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled March 22 that the use of statistical evidence to create a class action lawsuit against Tyson Foods was proper, an action that may make it easier for employees in certain situations to band together to sue their employers rather than suing as individuals.

The Court ruled 6-2 in Tyson Foods v. Bouaphakeo that the lower court was correct in allowing employees to use a study performed by an industrial relations expert to establish a class of workers at a Tyson pork processing plant in Storm Lake, Iowa.

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Obama’s Supreme Court nominee may not be a friend to employers

March 16, 2016 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

On March 16, President Barack Obama announced his nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy left by the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia. Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1997 and has served as chief judge since 2013.

Battle lines over when confirmation hearings will be held were immediately drawn between Obama and Senate Republicans. If the nomination is considered by the Senate before the end of Obama’s second term, employers may be interested in understanding where Garland will likely come out on employment-related issues.

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Supreme Court’s ERISA ruling a victory for self-insured employers

March 03, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Supreme Court’s March 1 ruling in a Vermont case relieves self-insured employers from the obligation to report claims data to state governments that have established databases reflecting healthcare use and costs for citizens.

The reach of the ruling extends beyond Vermont to all self-insured plans. “It absolutely has national implications,” Linda J. Cohen, an attorney with Dinse, Knapp & McAndrew, P.C. in Burlington, Vermont, said after the ruling was released.

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Employers need to examine policies, laws in light of Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling

June 26, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 2 COMMENTS

The U.S. Supreme Court’s June 26 ruling in favor of same-sex marriage means employers across the country need to take a look at their policies as well as the effect the ruling has on various laws dealing with employment.Pride flag at city hall

The Court’s 5-4 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges struck down prohibitions on gay marriage in states covered by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals—Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. But it has the effect of legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.

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