Seventh Circuit Could Up-End Approach to Sexual Orientation Discrimination

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On November 30, 2016, all of the judges of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (covering Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin) reheard a case that could change the way federal courts treat sexual orientation-based discrimination claims. As is typical for the federal appeals courts, the case (Hivey v. Ivy Tech Community College) had already been decided by a three judge panel. However, in a relatively unusual step, the court has now vacated that opinion, and the matter will be determined by all 12 of the current judges.

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“Accurate” Time Records Must Actually Be Accurate

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Sometimes it is important to get back to basics and refresh our understanding of topics that are already well-known to human resources professionals.  In this season of confusion, particularly regarding the on-again/off-again Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) salary test, it is worthwhile to review the timekeeping records that employers are required to maintain with respect to nonexempt employees. Despite clear guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), employers make mistakes.

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Class Action Waivers in Arbitration Agreements: Proceed with Caution

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Class action waivers in arbitration agreements exist in a legal gray zone, with the federal appellate courts split on their enforceability. Many employers believe that by forcing employees who sue them to do so only individually, they can avoid the prospect of very large judgements. The Ninth Circuit and Seventh Circuit have held that class action waivers in arbitration agreements violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and therefore are unenforceable. Three other federal circuit courts  (the Fifth, Second, and Eighth) held that such waivers do not violate the NLRA. Not surprisingly, the parties to two lawsuits are currently vying to have this issue resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court. As many readers may know, an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is not automatically accepted by the CourtContinue reading this entry

No Stay for Other Pay-Related Regulations

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A trio of recent court decisions staying implementation of the controversial persuader rule, most of the much-criticized Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces (“FPSW”) executive order, and the Department of Labor’s highly publicized overtime rule are a breath of fresh air for employers who have been struggling to keep up with the onslaught of new regulatory requirements advanced by the Obama administration. However, as the year winds down, employers should keep in mind that, as of yet, there has been no stay of the other pay-related regulations finalized earlier this year. Continue reading this entry

Court Blocks Overtime Rule; Employers Off the Hook on December 1 Changes (For Now)

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Yesterday, a federal judge in Texas issued a temporary nationwide injunction preventing the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) overtime rule from taking effect on December 1. We discussed both the lawsuit and the final rule previously, and also provided a Q&A about these changes. Continue reading this entry