Proskauer Employment Law Group

Latest Articles

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 employer-issued pagers.  Justices Stevens and Scalia issued concurring opinions. City of Ontario v. Quon (08-1332) Full text of decision (pdf)…
On April 26, the California Supreme Court issued a decision in the case of Pearson Dental Supplies, Inc. v. Superior Court (S167169) that will likely have resounding implications for the enforceability of arbitration awards.  The case concerns an arbitration decision in which an employee’s age discrimination claim was dismissed as untimely.  The arbitration agreement in question required the employee to initiate arbitration of his claims within one year.  However, rather than proceeding to arbitration, the…
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 between personal and organizational solicitation in enforcing its no-solicitation policy. Earlier this week, in The Register-Guard v. NLRB, No. 07-1528…
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 the successful test takers. The City claimed that the test had a disparate impact on minorities and that, if it…
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 “but for” their age. Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc., No. 08-441. This ruling draws a distinction between the ADEA and Title…
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 of a worker’s family caregiving responsibilities is gaining recognition and momentum. In March, both the First and Ninth Circuit found in…
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 to receive a portion of the tips that are left by patrons in collective tip-boxes. The court further held that…
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 suspend non-elective contributions under a safe harbor plan only by terminating the plan. The proposed regulations apply to both traditional safe…
On May 1, 2009, we reported that the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit had just ruled that the National Labor Relations Board, which has functioned with only two of its five members since January 1, 2008, had lost its quorum and, as a result, had no statutory authority to issue any of the nearly 400 decisions that were released during the preceding 16-month period. Laurel Baye Healthcare of Lake Lanier, Inc., 2009…
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 18, 2009). The Court’s decision reversed the Ninth Circuit and confirmed the presumption that discrimination statutes will not be applied retroactively.…