Posts from May 2016.

The Colorado state legislature recently passed House Bill 16-1438 requiring employers to engage in an interactive process to assess potential reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees and applicants for health conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth.

If Colorado’s governor signs this bill into law, Colorado will join a growing group of states that have passed similar legislation, including Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Utah, West Virginia, and the District of ...

The EEOC has finalized 2 rules relevant to employer wellness programs. The Final Rules, which can be found here and here, amend existing regulations implementing the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (“GINA”), respectively, and specifically address employer-sponsored wellness programs.

The ADA prohibits employers from making disability-related inquires or requiring medical examinations, except in limited circumstances. GINA prohibits employers from requesting, requiring or purchasing “genetic ...

Today the US Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued its long awaited final rule increasing the minimum salary requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).

Key Provisions of the Final Rule

The Final Rule focuses primarily on updating the salary and compensation levels needed for Executive, Administrative and Professional workers to be exempt.

Of particular significance, the Final Rule:

  1. Sets the standard salary level at $913 per week – $47,476 annually;
  2. Sets the total annual compensation requirement for highly compensated employees (HCE) subject to a minimal ...

As we reported on May 13, 2016, there is now a federal statute, called the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) that provides a federal cause of action for trade secret misappropriation. The full DTSA is found here.

One important feature of the DTSA is that it, like most state trade secret statutes, allows employers to recover punitive damages and attorney’s fees for the unauthorized use or disclosure of trade secrets. However, unlike the state statutes, the DTSA conditions the availability of these remedies on compliance with certain notice requirements contained in Section 7 of ...

On May 11, 2016, President Obama signed into law the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA).  DTSA provides a new federal cause of action for misappropriation of trade secrets. A “trade secret” is a broad category of intellectual property. Essentially, it includes any business information that is confidential and derives value from not being known to competitors. It can include everything from technology, to business strategies, to proprietary information about customers and prospects. Unlike patents, copyrights or trademarks, there is no registration system for trade secrets ...

A recent federal appellate court decision underscores the importance of strong employment policies to establish the company’s expectations and potentially save the company from protracted and expensive litigation.

In Tsegay v. Amalgamated Transit Union, 1235, the court found that a union refusing to arbitrate a grievance did not breach its duty of fair representation to a union member terminated for using a mobile device while operating a passenger vehicle. No. 15-6102 (6th Cir. Apr. 27, 2016).

After passenger complaints of texting-while-driving, employer Metropolitan ...

Employers conduct employee background checks to reduce risk and improve hiring decisions. Ironically, any missteps during the background check process can open employers to significant legal exposure that easily outweighs any benefit obtained from using background checks in the hiring process. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) has been clear that use of background checks in the hiring process might lead to discrimination claims. However, our experience shows that employers face a far greater threat to legal exposure when conducting employee ...

“The First Amendment generally prohibits government officials from dismissing or demoting an employee because of the employee’s engagement in constitutionally protected activity. In this case a government official believed, but incorrectly believed, that the employee had supported a particular candidate for mayor.” So begins Justice Stephen Breyer’s decision in Heffernan v. City of Paterson, which the United States Supreme Court issued on April 26, 2016.

Heffernan was a police officer working for the Paterson Police Department in New Jersey. His supervisor ...

On April 26, the 4th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals joined other federal circuits that have upheld NLRB approval of “micro-units.” See, Nestle Dreyer’s Ice Cream Co. v. NLRB, No. 14-2222 (4th Cir. Apr. 26, 2016). This is another boost for unions because micro-units ease their path into industries and business that have been difficult for them to organize in the past.

How do micro-units help unions and hurt employers?  When a union files a petition with the NLRB to represent a group of employees, a larger unit is generally favorable for an employer because it is more ...

Welcome to the Labor and Employment Law Update where attorneys from SmithAmundsen blog about management side labor and employment issues. 

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