Top 10

As of January 1, 2019, intersex Germans, meaning Germans with sex characteristics not fitting neatly within the standard understanding of males and females, will be able to register their gender as “divers,” which translates to “miscellaneous.” This new gender classification will be included on such documents as birth certificates, passports, and driver’s licenses. Since 2013, Germany has permitted parents of babies born without a clear gender to leave the baby’s gender status blank so that…
The longest federal government shutdown in U.S. history continues to affect around 800,000 federal workers and major agencies, including the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”). Despite the shutdown, however, many EPA employees are being called into work without pay. On January 14, 2019, EPA updated its contingency plan for shut down to increase the total number of “excepted personnel” to 891 or 6.37% of its total workforce. EPA’s contingency plan lists 486 HQ program…
The Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review panel’s surprising decision to keep the 2,200 public submissions secret for months has had immediate repercussions. Some organizations are refusing to disclose their submissions until the panel does and others have noted the missed opportunity for public discussion of a vitally important issue. To date, about 30 submissions have been posted, a tiny percentage of the total. The decision has had an impact on university courses and predictably created…
In an earlier set of posts, I discussed U.S. laws and regulations to a) restrict technology transfers from US companies to Chinese companies (see New Restrictions on High Tech Technology Transfers to China and b) to prevent Chinese companies from investing in U.S. technology companies. See New CFIUS Rules Shut Down Chinese Investment in U.S. Technology. In those posts, I noted that the new rules are not intended to limit the right of U.S. companies…
In late December, US Senator Ron Wyden introduced the Retirement Parity for Student Loans Act (Student Loan Act), which would allow employers to make matching contributions under 401(k), 403(b) and SIMPLE plans with respect to student loan repayments made by employees. If enacted, this legislation would provide powerful new guidance for employers looking to offer student-loan-repayment-related benefits to their employees. Last year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released a groundbreaking private letter ruling (PLR) that…
On January 9, 2019, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his plan to make New York City the first city in the country to mandate that private sector employers provide paid personal time (“PPT”) for their employees. Under the proposal, employers with five or more employees would be required to grant their employees 10 days of PPT to use for any purpose, including vacation, religious observance, bereavement, or simply to spend time with their families. It…
By: Ariel Fenster, Ryan McCoy, Steve Shardonofsky Seyfarth Synopsis: Arbitration of employment claims continues to be a hot topic at the Supreme Court.  In a unanimous 8-0 decision yesterday (Justice Kavanaugh recused), the Supreme Court ruled in New Prime Inc. v. Oliveira that non-employee drivers engaged by a transportation company cannot be forced to arbitrate their wage-hour claims under the Federal Arbitration Act’s (“FAA”) exclusion for transportation workers engaged in foreign or interstate…
As expected given the extreme volume of website accessibility lawsuits filed over the last few years, in the first few weeks of the new year, United States’ Circuit courts have finally begun to weigh in on the law as it pertains to the accessibility of websites and mobile applications, and the results are generally disappointing for businesses. Background The U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) has long taken the position that Title III of the Americans…
States across the country have passed new laws addressing sexual harassment, paid family leave, and other labor and employment law issues. As many of these laws will soon become effective, employers should be prepared for the following changes in the legal landscape. Sexual Harassment Laws New York City’s Stop Sexual Harassment Act, effective April 1, 2019, will require employers with 15 or more employees to conduct annual anti-sexual harassment training for all employees. For…
On January 10, 2019, newly elected California Governor Gavin Newsom proposed funding six months of partial-paid leave for new parents. The plan, which was announced as part of the governor’s budget, would compensate new parents or caretakers up to 70 percent of their wages to care and bond with a newborn or adopted baby. Newsom stated that “public health and economic research shows that providing up to six months of paid parental leave leads to…