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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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19 Jan 2018 The Death of PAGA Claims at the Hand of Individual Settlements

  Employers who are facing wage and hour lawsuits which include a Private Attorney General Act[1] (PAGA) claim would be happy to know that on December 29, 2017, an appellate panel determined that any plaintiff who settled his/her individual claims is subsequently barred from continuing with a claim under PAGA.   A three-judge panel for the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District affirmed a 2016 ruling issued by Judge Kenneth R. Freeman of Los Angeles Superior Court that awarded summary judgment to…

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16 Jan 2018 What’s Old Is New Again: DOL Resurrects Advisory Opinion Letters

  Employers can expect to benefit from real-life answers to some real-employer wage-and-hour questions now that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) reinstituted 17 Advisory Opinion Letters that had been originally issued in 2009, but subsequently withdrawn during the Obama administration.   Such opinion letters provide formal, detailed analysis and answers to employers who pose FLSA compliance questions to the DOL. The opinion letters are published on the DOL website, thus any employer who happens to have the same or a similar compliance issue can…

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12 Jan 2018 ICE Raids on 7-Eleven Franchise Stores Result in 21 Arrests

  On January 10, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents commenced employment audits at nearly 100 7-Eleven franchises across the U.S., signaling the biggest crackdown on suspected illegal workers since President Trump took office. The raids resulted in 21 administrative arrests. Following the raids, ICE Deputy Director Thomas Homan said in a statement: “Today’s actions send a strong message to U.S. businesses that hire and employ an illegal workforce: ICE will enforce the law, and if you are found to be breaking the law,…

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11 Jan 2018 Are Your Personal and Corporate Electronic Devices and Data Safe When Traveling?

Authored by Mercedes Badia-Tavas and Jeff Papa.   On Jan 4, 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a guidance, Directive 3340-049A, governing Border Searches of Electronic Devices. The purpose of this directive is to assure that the “authority for border search of electronic devices is exercised judiciously, responsibly and consistent with public trust.” The business community has viewed these searches as a cause of anxiety and concern for all employees regardless of status, that require due diligence and forethought.   Over the past several…

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10 Jan 2018 The DOL Just Flipped Its Position on Paying Interns

  Late last week, the DOL effectively revamped the standards for unpaid interns, reversing a rule that had been in place since 2010 and giving private, for-profit employers whiplash.   The FLSA does not define “intern.” However, “[a] person whose work serves only his own interest” is not considered to be “an employee of another person who gives him aid and instruction.”  Walling v. Portland Terminal Co., 330 U.S. 148, 152 (1947).   2010 DOL Standard   The DOL upended that long-standing rule in 2010…

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08 Jan 2018 Goals for the New Year: Prevent and Better Defend Employment Claims

  As sure as the calendar turns to a new year, there is no doubt that employers will see new employment discrimination charges and employment lawsuits filed.  So now is a good time for a check-up to see if you are well-positioned to minimize the risks of such claims in 2018.  Here are three quick, general pointers:   Clear Expectations. We’ve all seen it, in one form or another – the employee who, when faced with termination, will say: “I didn’t know that could get…

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29 Dec 2017 As Predicted, DOL Proposes Changes to Tip Pool Rule

As predicted in an earlier post, the U.S. Department of Labor has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which would alter its 2011 rule on tip pooling.  The 2011 rule prevented employers from requiring tipped employees from sharing their tips with traditionally non-tipped workers.  Under the proposed rule, employers who directly pay tipped employees the full minimum wage may require those employees to pool their tips with traditionally non-tipped employees.   The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) generally requires employers to pay employees the minimum…

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29 Dec 2017 Asking: “How much do you currently make?” in 2018?

  Not in California.  California law (A.B. 168) is the latest in a batch of state and local laws prohibiting employers from asking job candidates how much they currently or have made.  It takes effect January 1.  Candidates can voluntarily disclose their salary history and in that case the employer can use that information in setting initial compensation.  Employers are also required to provide job candidates with a pay scale for the positon upon request.   New York City’s pay history inquiry ban went into…

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28 Dec 2017 Nursing Mothers Protected under Discrimination Laws, says Connecticut Federal Court

  As we’ve recently outlined, the Illinois Nursing Mothers in the Workplace Act and Illinois Human Rights Act mandates that employers must be prepared to accommodate pregnant employees and nursing mothers. A recent ruling in Connecticut federal court should stand as a reminder to employers that Illinois is not the only state where the rights of pregnant employees and nursing mothers are protected.   Jill Grewcock was a nursing mother who sued her employer, Yale-New Haven Health Services Corporation, for sex discrimination and retaliation in…

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20 Dec 2017 Employment Visas: Changes to Expect in 2018

  Change is afoot. The Trump administration has moved full steam ahead on immigration proposals focused on, among other things, increased scrutiny of employment visas. The proposed changes were announced in a semi-unified agenda and comes at the heels of Trump’s “Buy American and Hire American” Executive Order, which was rolled out earlier this year. If implemented, these changes will affect thousands of immigrants, and may make it more difficult to obtain work authorization for certain categories of employees.   This agenda does not by…

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