If you are an employer subject to the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), then take a couple of minutes to keep reading. In Curry v. Goodwill Industries of Kentucky, Inc., a federal court in the Western District of Kentucky recently addressed, among other things, the extent to which an employer can effectively implement company policies that restrict an employee’s FMLA rights beyond what the Act expressly allows. For those of you who like a really short answer, here it is: You can’t do it.
Sadly, the law can be a jealous mistress. For purposes of this piece, my point is that the law really doesn’t care about how others conduct their businesses; she only cares about whether you’re following occasionally tricky and sometimes convoluted directives. If you think that I’m kidding, wait until the West Virginia Division of Labor (“DOL”) knocks on your door one day.
At what point does the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (“PHRA”) become inapplicable with regard to the employees of Pennsylvania companies that meet the requirement of employing four or more persons within the Commonwealth? In Blackman v. Lincoln Nat’l Corp., the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania answered precisely such a question.
In recent years, there has been considerable litigation on the subject of compensation, or the lack thereof, for time spent donning, doffing, and attending pre-shift/post-shift meetings. Employees (current and former), often banded together as part of collective actions, have sued their employers for alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) based upon the fact that they were not paid for time spent donning and doffing protective gear or uniforms and time spent attending pre-shift/post-shift meetings. While this is not a new trend, it is an area that warrants the attention of employers, particularly those that require their employees to don and doff protective gear or uniforms and attend meetings while “off the clock.”
Earlier last month, in EQT Corp. v. Miller, the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia provided its most recent guidance regarding the enforceability of alternative-dispute-resolution (“ADR”) agreements subject to the Federal Arbitration Act. Before discussing the court’s conclusion and what it means for employers, some background regarding the case may be helpful.
On March 12, 2012, the Fourth Circuit issued its most recent opinion regarding Title VII sexual harassment. In June 2006, Carla Dulaney began working for PCA as a temporary hourly employee. In response to Dulaney’s inquiries about being promoted, Bobby Mills, the lead production worker on Dulaney’s shift, extended an offer of permanent employment to Dulaney.
It probably comes as no surprise that documentation, or the lack thereof, can play a critical role in matters that lead to litigation. An example of how a lack of documentation, combined with a delay in acting upon a decision, can have a negative impact on an employer’s defense is reflected in Linhart v. Zitelli & Broadland P.C., a recent decision by the federal district court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
Earlier this month in a case styled Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a significant decision for religious employers throughout the country. For the first time, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized a ministerial exception to employment discrimination suits. The ministerial exception bars discrimination claims by individuals in the clergy against certain religious organizations or religious educational institutions under the theory that government regulation of religion is prohibited by the First Amendment freedom of religion.
Although most employers doing business in the Mountain State have at least some familiarity with the West Virginia Wage Payment & Collection Act (“WPCA”), the law remains a unique animal that still presents the occasional pitfall for employers. If you’re an employer, these are a few of the WPCA traps that are worth keeping on your radar as you navigate this jungle:
As most employers know, there has been considerable litigation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) over the years regarding whether employers must pay employees for time spent putting on and taking off (i.e, “donning and doffing”) various types of gear during the workday. Because donning and doffing is always a hot topic in the context of employment law, the recent opinion of the Fourth Circuit – the federal appellate court that covers West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina – in Perez v. Mountaire Farms, Inc. is an important one all employers in the region need to be aware of.