Employers facing potential withdrawal liability when closing facilities or withdrawing from underfunded multiemployer pension plans received some welcome news last month. In a noteworthy decision, a federal district court rejected a commonly used formula to calculate withdrawal liability. In the decision in The New York Times Company v. Newspaper and Mail Deliverers’-Publishers’ Pension Fund, et al., Nos. 17-CV-6178-RWS, 17-CV-6290-RWS (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 26, 2018), the court held that use of the so-called Segal Blend method of valuing a plan’s unfunded vested benefits to calculate withdrawal liability was a “mistake” and without statutory support under ERISA.
Attorneys from the EEOC (Greg Gochanour, Regional Attorney for Chicago Office) and the NLRB (Paul Hitterman, Regional Attorney for Region 13 of the NLRB) joined us in leading the discussion. Topics included disciplining employees for uncivil workplace behavior, the enforceability of confidentiality restrictions on witnesses during internal investigations and the NLRB’s newly issued test for reviewing employee work rules.
Here, we share a “top 10” list to highlight the principal takeaways from the program.
Nishita Desai, an attorney in Baker McKenzie’s Chicago office, answers the question, “Is the business visa right for my employee?”
In the last two weeks, New York state and city legislatures each passed groundbreaking legislation that would require most private employers to provide sexual harassment training to their workforces every year. No other US jurisdiction requires annual harassment training for all employees, making this legislation – if signed into law – the most expansive in the country. (California requires training for supervisors and managers only, see more HERE.)
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.
As we previously posted, on January 5, 2018, the Department of Labor did away with its previous six-factor test and announced a new “primary beneficiary” test to determine whether interns and students working for “for-profit” employers are entitled to minimum wages and overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act. See our previous post HERE, as well as the DOL’s Fact Sheet #71 HERE. While employers are required to pay employees for their work, in some circumstances, interns may not actually be employees under the FLSA, and therefore, can be unpaid.
Whether your company is already planning to bring on unpaid interns, or to the extent your company would like to explore the possibility of a new unpaid internship program, you will want to consider the DOL’s new primary beneficiary test so as to guard against potential costly claims for pay and/or overtime.
Please reach out to your Baker McKenzie lawyer for more details.
Embracing mediation as a way to avoid litigation is not a sure-fire solution as one employer recently learned. See Unite Here Local 30 v. Volume Services, Inc., No. 16-55528 (9th Cir. January 26, 2018). Mediation is often employed as an alternative method of dispute resolution for its perceived advantages over traditional lawsuits (e.g. it can be quicker, less expensive and less formal than a court-driven process). For these reasons and others, many labor unions and employers frequently choose mediation as an alternative to arbitration.
Is your HR team struggling with how to manage a diverse workforce in the #metoo era? Join us and representatives from the EEOC and NLRB for a complimentary seminar on April 12th to discuss the agencies views on these topics and more, including:
- The Evolving Workplace and Where We Stand With the New Administration
- The EEOC’s perspective: Sexual Harassment, Mandated Training, Civility Rules and Confidentiality (featuring Greg Gochanour, EEOC Supervising Trial Attorney
- The NLRB’s Perspective: The New Standard for Evaluating Work Rules and What it Means for Employee Handbooks, Confidentiality and Civility in the Workplace (featuring Paul Hitterman, NLRB Regional Attorney, Region 13)
- Ethics CLE: Rule 37 (ESI), Spoliation and Litigation Holds
When: 8:30 AM CST – 11AM CST (The seminar kicks off with registration and a networking breakfast, and the program begins at 9AM)
Where: Hyatt Regency Deerfield (1750 Lake Cook Rd., Deerfield, IL 60015)
The new data privacy rules are just around the corner…are you ready?
The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force May 25, 2018. GDPR introduces stricter requirements and higher penalties for violations, so it is important for companies to review their data privacy compliance not just with respect to customers but with respect to employees.
Join our upcoming webinar to review the new legal landscape under GDPR, discuss the different approaches for dealing with personal data after effectiveness of GDPR and consider the pros and cons of each approach.
Date: April 5, 2018
Time: 11AM – 12PM CST