In August, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (covering Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee) upheld an arbitration agreement that required individual arbitration of claims under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Court’s decision is in line with the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis.
With the modern workforce comes modern employment problems. Businesses and workers alike have embraced the “gig economy,” but employment laws were not designed for workforces dominated by independent contractors and freelancers. This disconnect leaves gig economy businesses open to significant liability where such workers should have been classified as employees under the law.
US employers take note: Q3 ushers in a number of new minimum wage increases.
Unless otherwise indicated, the following minimum wage increases became effective on July 1, 2018:
In late May, California announced new amendments to the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) strengthening the protections afforded to applicants and employees, including those who are undocumented, on the basis of national origin. The changes go into effect July 1, 2018. The new regulations significantly broaden the definition of “national origin” as well as conduct that constitutes discrimination based on national origin.
The California Supreme Court’s decision in Brinker v. Superior Court unleashed a flood of single-plaintiff and class-action lawsuits involving alleged violations of California’s meal and rest period laws. Under California law, employees are entitled to take at least one 30-minute uninterrupted, off-duty meal break no later than the end of their 5th hour of work. If employees work over 10 hours, they must be provided a second 30-minute meal period. Similarly, employees must also receive 10-minute rest periods for each 4 hour-period worked or major fraction thereof.
On April 9, 2018, the Ninth Circuit issued its decision in Rizo v. Yovino and affirmed that prior salary, alone or in combination with other factors, cannot justify a wage differential between male and female employees. Judge Stephen Reinhardt, who died unexpectedly in late March, authored the ruling. Known as the “Liberal Lion” of the federal judiciary in California, Judge Reinhardt also overturned bans on same-sex marriage and physician-assisted suicide and declared prison overcrowding unconstitutional.
On the heels of the Second Circuit’s decision that sexual orientation discrimination violates Title VII, advocates for LGBTQ rights scored another victory in federal court. On March 7, 2018, the Sixth Circuit unanimously ruled in EEOC v. R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. that discrimination on the basis of transgender and transitioning status violates Title VII’s prohibition on sex-based discrimination.
On February 26, 2018, the Second Circuit became the second federal appellate court to rule that sexual orientation discrimination is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, following the Seventh Circuit’s April 2017 decision in Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College, which reached the same conclusion.
As we embark on a new year, take note of the minimum wage in each state and comply with any increases that begin in 2018.
Unless otherwise indicated, the following minimum wage increases are effective January 1, 2018:
In October, we discussed one of the hottest trending class-action claims: the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act (BIPA). In our alert, we noted that it was not clear whether a plaintiff would need to show a concrete injury to be entitled to damages or whether a mere statutory violation would be sufficient to warrant damages.
On November 21, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision on this very issue.