California Employment Law Update
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Client Alert: Ninth Circuit Reversed in Sexting Privacy Decision

Today, in a decision authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously overturned a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in a case involving an employee’s assertion that a government employer had violated the Fourth Amendment by unreasonably obtaining and reviewing personal text messages sent and received on … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Expands Judicial Review of Employment Arbitration Awards

A recent decision by the California Supreme Court could have resounding implications for the enforceability of arbitration awards - a matter of great concern in employment law given the prevalence of arbitration agreements governing employment relationships - and opens the door for employees to petition the courts to compel arbitrators to decide the merits of their statutory claims. … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Reviews NLRB’s Controversial Register Guard E-Mail Solicitation Decision

As we reported previously, in December 2007 the National Labor Relations Board issued a decision relating to company e-mail policies in The Guard Publishing Company, d/b/a The Register-Guard, 351 NLRB No. 70 (2007), holding that an employer (i) may restrict the use of its computer systems to business related uses only, and (ii) could distinguish … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Rules Against the City of New Haven in Highly Publicized Reverse Discrimination Case: What Does Ricci vs. DeStefano Mean For Employers?

Yesterday, in a highly anticipated 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Ricci v. DeStefano that the City of New Haven engaged in unlawful intentional race discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) when it discarded a firefighter promotional test because of the racial makeup of … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Holds Plaintiffs in Age Discrimination Suits to Higher Standard

In an important ruling that increases the burden on plaintiffs in cases under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the United States Supreme Court held on June 18, 2009 that plaintiffs in age discrimination cases always bear the burden of proving that an adverse employment action would not have been taken against them … Continue Reading

Recent Circuit Decisions and EEOC Best Practices Highlight Caregiver Discrimination Issues

Over the last few years, caregiver discrimination has become an emerging issue in employment law. A pair of recent court decisions and the potential impact of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, as well as signals from the Obama Administration, in particular the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, suggest that the issue of discrimination because … Continue Reading

California Court of Appeal Reverses $105m Judgment In Starbucks Case and Clarifies Permissible Tip-Allocation Practices

The California Court of Appeal has issued an important decision that has significant implications for California employers that have tip-sharing arrangements for their employees. In Chau v. Starbucks Corp., 2009 WL 1522708 (Cal. Ct. App. Jun. 2, 2009), the court held that an employer can allow employees who have both supervisory and customer service duties … Continue Reading

Don’t Terminate That 401(k) or 403(b) Safe Harbor Plan Just Yet: IRS Proposes New Rules Allowing Employers Experiencing Substantial Business Hardship To Reduce Non-elective Contributions Mid-Year

Introduction On May 18, 2009, the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) issued new proposed regulations that allow plan sponsors of Internal Revenue Code (“Code”) Section 401(k) or 403(b) safe harbor plans to reduce or suspend non-elective contributions mid-year if they are experiencing a “substantial business hardship.” Prior to the proposed regulations, a plan sponsor could … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Rejects Retroactive Application of Pregnancy Discrimination Act

In a 7-2 decision, the United States Supreme Court has held that AT&T did not violate the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”) when it based its calculation of employees’ pensions in part on a pre- PDA accrual rule that treated pregnancy leave less favorably than other forms of disability leave. AT&T Corp v. Hulteen, No. 07-543 (May … Continue Reading

Tip of the Month: Federal Contractors’ Obligations to Veterans

The Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (“VEVRAA”) creates a variety of affirmative action obligations for employers with federal government contracts. The Act was amended in 2002 by the Jobs for Veterans Act (“JVA”). In May 2008, the Department of Labor finalized rules that implement changes to these obligations made by the JVA for employers … Continue Reading

Swine Flu: Is Your Workplace Prepared?

As of this writing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 109 cases of the H1N1 virus, commonly known as swine flu, in the United States. The World Health Organization has confirmed 331 cases of swine flu worldwide and has raised the pandemic threat level to Phase 5 on its six-step scale (Phase … Continue Reading

President Obama Announces Proposed Nominees to Fill Two Vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board

On April 24, 2009, President Obama announced his intention to nominate Craig Becker and Mark Gaston Pearce to fill two of the three vacant positions on National Labor Relations Board. The NLRB is comprised of five members appointed by the President who are subject to approval by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee … Continue Reading

Retroactive Overtime for Misclassified Salaried Employees: The DOL Supports the Fluctuating Workweek’s Half-Time Methodology

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (the “DOL”) Wage and Hour Division recently issued a Wage and Hour Opinion Letter, FLSA 2009-3, addressing how a company can compute overtime payments retroactively for salaried employees it had mistakenly classified as exempt (not overtime-eligible) under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA” or the “Act”). The DOL reiterated its … Continue Reading

Tip of the Month: Best Practices for Compensation Audits

Recent changes in the legal and economic landscape have significantly heightened the risk that employers’ compensation systems will come under attack. Congress has passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (“Ledbetter”), which effectively waives the statute of limitations for compensation discrimination claims under the majority of federal employment statutes. The law increases a plaintiff’s ability … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Endorses Union-Negotiated Arbitration of Discrimination Claims

Proskauer Prevails As The Court Holds That Collectively Bargained Agreements for The Arbitration of Statutory Discrimination Claims are Enforceable On April 1, 2009, the United States Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled in favor of Proskauer Rose’s client 14 Penn Plaza LLC, holding that a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) that clearly and unmistakably requires … Continue Reading
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