On January 21, 2016 the EEOC released Proposed Enforcement Guidance on employee retaliation claims under numerous federal equal employment opportunity laws, including Title VII, ADEA, ADA, GINA, and more. Because it’s the first time since 1998 that the EEOC has proposed a new set of guidelines in this area, it is imperative that employers have a good understanding of the Guidance.
For most employers, knowing whether employees should be paid or not paid for lunches or breaks is a fairly straightforward determination. However, some nuances in this area pose landmines, if you aren’t careful. In Babcock v. Butler Cty., the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit – the federal appellate court with jurisdiction over Pennsylvania – was recently faced with one of these nuances in evaluating compensable meal time under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), and the Court’s determination is something which all employers who have various types of ‘on-call’ practices or who otherwise place contingent demands on their employees during breaks should probably have an understanding.
Unpaid internship programs have become almost a prerequisite for many individuals entering the workforce today. However, due to the recent wave of class action lawsuits by unpaid interns asserting claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), many employers have been questioning whether to continue their internship programs. These lawsuits have become so pervasive that there is a website created and run by a law firm dedicated to filing such lawsuits. Some of the defendants in recent class actions include Viacom, Sony, Fox Searchlight, Hearst Corporation, NBC Universal, and Madison Square Garden Company.
Recently, Pittsburgh’s City Council made headlines by passing the Paid Sick Days Act, requiring all employers within the City to provide paid sick leave to employees. Pittsburgh is now the 20th city to enact such a law. This new requirement is expected to impact over 50,000 employees within the City.
We have written previously on this blog about the decision of a panel of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals (which covers Ohio, among other jurisdictions), which determined last year that an employee with irritable bowel syndrome who worked for Ford Motor Company should have been permitted to work from home as a reasonable accommodation to her condition. Not satisfied with the decision, Ford pleaded for a re-hearing by the entire 6th Circuit. Recently, after the 6th Circuit granted that request, the Court reversed course and determined that doing your job at the workplace can be an essential job function.
Facing an increasing amount of wage and hour liability these days, employers are considering every feasible method to track employee time accurately. Believe it or not, that includes biometric systems. Indeed, as a replacement for traditional time card machines, biometric systems offer employers numerous benefits. Of course, they present accompanying risks and pitfalls, too.