EEOC Serves Notice Regarding Transgender Employees Bathroom Access Rights

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In the midst of all the media coverage surrounding transgender bathroom policies, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has recently put employers on notice of its position that denying an employee access to a restroom corresponding to the employee’s gender identity is sex discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights act of 1964. This recently released information provides employers with helpful insight into what policies and practices the EEOC will be looking at in the event of a charge of discrimination alleging sex discrimination in the circumstance of transgender restroom usage. Continue reading this entry

Be Uber Prepared To Do Business In The Gig Economy

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Until recently, the word “gig” had two common meanings:

  1. A live music performance; and
  2. A long trident used to hunt swamp-dwelling amphibians

However, a noted linguist recently crowned “gig” as the 2015 word of the year for a different reason – the rise of the “gig economy.” Led by popular app based ride-sharing services, this term refers to a patchwork of temporary freelance projects and assignments, as opposed to traditional longer-term or career-oriented work with a single employer. Continue reading this entry

Brady's Benching Gives Lesson in Court Review of Arbitration Decisions

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Earlier this week, Bills and Jets fans (and at least one Packer fan) rejoiced as the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the NFL’s four-game suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady based on a finding that Brady had participated in a scheme to deflate footballs and attempted to cover it up. In the days that have followed, the sports media offered countless analyses of the court’s decision with varying degrees of legal sophistication. Many of those analyses missed a fundamental point: the integrity of collective bargaining and agreed-upon arbitration processes demand that courts have very little ability to second-guess the conclusions reached by an arbitrator. Continue reading this entry

Protecting Trade Secrets Now Front, Center and National

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Most employers understand, in this era where information moves so quickly and critically sensitive commercial information is very easy to move, that protecting trade secrets is more important than ever. In fact, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee reports that annual losses to the American economy caused by trade secret loss are over $300 billion in revenue and 2.1 million in jobs. Against this backdrop, Congress has undertaken recent efforts to enact federal trade secret legislation to impose a federal protection scheme previously left primarily to state law. Continue reading this entry

Orchestra Left Without A Chair When The Music Stops: Another Independent Contractor Misclassification

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How independent are musicians who play and perform with others? Do they have more artistic control on their own, or do they only become truly great artists in collaboration with others when their independent talents combine to make incredible music? We suspect David Lee Roth, Sammy Hagar, Richie Sambora, and others who have “gone solo” and played in multiple groups might have interesting opinions on this issue.

However, if you sit up straight as soon as the conductor raises his baton, does that automatically make you an employee? According to the courts and the government, the answer appears to be yes. Beyond musicians, these recent developments can be tied more broadly to the ongoing scrutiny with “employee” versus “independent contractor” classifications. Continue reading this entry