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.
A few weeks back, my colleague, Joe Leonoro, wrote a blog entry entitled, “U.S. Supreme Court Tackles Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace,” which can be found here. In his post, Joe wrote about the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Young v. UPS, in which the Supreme Court overturned the Fourth Circuit’s affirmation of the district court’s grant of summary judgment to UPS in a pregnancy discrimination case. Specifically, the Court found that a question of fact remained as to whether UPS had discriminated against Ms. Young by refusing to allow her a light duty accommodation for the duration of her pregnancy. The Fourth Circuit, acting swiftly, issued its opinion less than one month later in which it again affirmed the district court and dismissed Ms. Young’s claim.
As we’ve reported in this blog before, the National Labor Relations Board adopted a final rule on December 15, 2014, which will likely reduce the time between the filing of a union election petition and the representation election—the “ambush election rule.” The new rule goes into effect today, April 14, 2015. The new rule will apply to all representation petitions filed on or after the effective date. Representation cases filed before today will continue to use the old rules.
A few weeks ago, we told you that the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued a Final Rule that was to be effective on March 27, and would have allowed an employee to take FMLA leave to care for a same-sex spouse regardless of whether the employee lived in a state that legally recognizes their marital status. Well, hold the phone.
For the last five years, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has been aggressively reviewing and issuing decisions regarding employer rules and policies and whether such rules and policies violate Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (Act). What once started as a relatively limited review of social media policies has now broadened to other policies and procedures of employers, including the areas of confidentiality, email and technology use, and conduct in the workplace. These decisions by the NLRB have required many employers, both union and non-union, to revisit and redraft employee policies that could be interpreted to violate employee rights protected by the Act. However, even with the reported decisions, it was still difficult for an employer to know whether a policy “chilled” an employee’s Section 7 rights under the Act.
With an ever mobile workforce utilizing electronic devices, non-compete/non-solicitation agreements are more common than ever before. More employees at lower levels of organizations are being asked to sign such agreements which restrict their subsequent employment. Pennsylvania courts, like those in many other states, look with disfavor on such agreements – viewing them as historic restraints of trade which inhibit an individual’s ability to earn a living.
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.
As we have highlighted previously on this blog, employers have faced an onslaught of wage-and-hour litigation in recent years. Many of those cases have been filed as class or collective actions on behalf of hundreds and even thousands of plaintiff-employees. Most of these cases allege that employees have not been compensated for overtime hours worked as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).