Supreme Court Ends the Debate and Upholds Class Action Waivers

Waivers

Welcome news for many employers rolled out of Washington, D.C. earlier this morning. The Supreme Court has ended a long-running debate over the enforceability of arbitration agreements with class action waivers in the employment context, particularly as applied to the wage and hour class action litigation. In short, such waivers are enforceable and do not violate the National Labor Relations Act.

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Intermittent FMLA Leave is So Easy to Administer. Yeah, Right!

FMLA

Block FMLA leave has its own challenges. But intermittent FMLA leave can be downright painful – including the fact that intermittent leave claims are the most common type of lawsuit under the FMLA.

When employees need to take scheduled time off for an entire day, week, or even month, an employer has more notice and ability to find ways to make sure the employee’s work is still being done. However, when employees get valid certification for intermittent leave, the employer often will have no idea when the need for leave will arise or even how much time in a given day an employee may be out.

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“Smoking Guns” and Unofficial Rules: A Reminder for Employers

Smoking

If you work in human resources, or are an executive or employment lawyer, at some point you probably have thought, heard or said words to the effect of “Juries are very unpredictable and can do some crazy things.” I admit that I often scratch my head reading about the conclusions juries have reached in some employment cases. But from my own trial experience and what I can glean from reading about others’, I have concluded that an unwritten rule exists regarding burdens of proof in employment matters.  Technically and legally, employees alleging discrimination or wrongful termination have the burden to prove their cases. Unofficially, however, that burden ends up falling to the employer.

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The Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Is Now In Effect: What Employers Need To Know

Massachusetts

On April 1, 2018, the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (the Act) went into effect, creating several rights and protections for pregnant workers, as well as for workers who have conditions related to pregnancy.  The Act – which applies to employers with six or more employees – affirmatively establishes pregnancy as a protected class under Massachusetts law and protects employees and prospective employees who are pregnant or have a pregnancy-related condition from discrimination and retaliation by employers.  The Act also provides covered individuals with robust rights to reasonable accommodations, as described below.

Now that the Act is in effect, Massachusetts employers should act quickly to provide employees with required notices, update their policies and handbooks, and train management personnel about their obligations under the Act. Continue reading this entry

Big Data Breaches Shine Spotlight on Laws Impacting Employee Data Protection

Data

It seems like almost every week we learn of a massive new data breach, risking the loss of thousands of individuals’ personal and confidential information to a faceless hacker halfway around the world.

A quick internet search for the latest news about data breaches reveals the sheer volume of information hacked or leaked on a daily basis, ranging from our Social Security and bank account numbers to protected health information, our consumer preferences, and more.  And, of course, where there are breaches, there is litigation.  In fact, just this week, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (covering Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin) ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in a consumer class action case where the alleged hack resulted in disclosure of customer names, credit and debit card numbers, expiration dates, and PINs.

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