Employment Law Watch

Analysis and commentary by Reed Smith attorneys on developments in employment and labor law

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On Tuesday, January 15, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court found that truck drivers classified as independent contractors cannot be compelled to arbitrate their claims under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). See New Prime, Inc. v. Oliveira, No. 17-340, 2019 WL 189342 (U.S. Jan. 15, 2019). This decision has significant ramifications for transportation industry companies that previously utilized arbitration agreements with their independent contractor drivers. Given the court’s ruling, those independent contractor drivers can no longer…
On December 28, 2018, a divided D.C. Circuit panel affirmed, in part, the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB’s or Board’s) Browning-Ferris joint-employer analysis. See Browning-Ferris Indus. of Cal., Inc. v. NLRB, No. 16-1028 (D.C. Cir. Dec. 28, 2018). The D.C. Circuit’s decision marks the latest chapter in the NLRB’s ever-shifting joint-employer standard. At issue on appeal was the Board’s divided Browning-Ferris decision in 2015 overruling longstanding precedent and relaxing the evidentiary requirement for finding a joint-employer…
Beginning March 18, 2019, New York City employers with four or more employees will be required to provide lactation rooms to employees upon request. Specifically, under two bills recently passed by New York City Council (Int. No. 879-A and Int. No. 905-A), New York City employers must: Upon request, provide a lactation room and a refrigerator suitable for breast milk storage within reasonable proximity to the employee’s work area Provide a written lactation room policy…
On October 15, 2018, the New York City Human Rights Law (CHRL) was amended to require employers to engage in a “cooperative dialogue” with individuals who may be entitled to a reasonable accommodation under the CHRL. Whereas federal and state laws require an “interactive process” to determine a reasonable accommodation, the CHRL requires that employers go one step further – employers must engage in a good faith written or oral dialogue concerning: The person’s accommodation…
New York City is at it again – continuing its quest to be the most employee-friendly jurisdiction in the country. On January 8, 2019, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced proposed legislation that would require private employers to provide employees with mandated paid time off/vacation. If passed by the City Council, the law would be the first of its kind in the nation, requiring employers to provide paid time to use for vacation and other…
The new year brought a new concern for Illinois employers: a mandatory expense reimbursement law. As of January 1, 2019, Illinois employers must reimburse all “necessary expenditures” their employees incur in the scope of employment directly related to services performed by the employer. The amendment to the Illinois Wage Payment Collection Act (IWPCA) defines “necessary expenditures” as “all reasonable expenditures … required of the employee in the discharge of employment duties and that inure to…
The Acting Administrator for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) issued two new opinion letters on Friday, December 21, 2018. The first opines on whether a home health aide service’s compensation plan, which pays an average hourly rate that may vary from workweek to workweek, complies with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)., The employer stated that its home health aides travel between client locations during the workday and that the…
In an important decision for California health care employers, the California Supreme Court recently confirmed that certain health care employees are allowed to waive their second meal breaks even if they work more than 12 hours in a shift. History of the Gerard litigation In 2015, the California Court of Appeal shocked health care employers throughout California by invalidating section 11(D) of Wage Order 5, which permits many health care employees (for example, nurses involved…
On November 8, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) re-issued an opinion letter rescinding the “80/20 Rule,” which prohibited employers from taking a tip credit if a tipped employee spent more than 20% of his or her working time on non-tipped work. The DOL’s new guidance provides restaurant and hospitality employers with clarity and a more practical approach regarding when a tip credit can be taken. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the…
The New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act takes effect today, October 29, 2018. Just in time for flu season. If you are a New Jersey employer or an employer with employees in New Jersey, regardless of size or employee number, you are now required by law to provide one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked – up to 40 hours in a benefit year – to all employees (including part-time and seasonal)…