Law and the Workplace
Katharine Parker

Katharine Parker

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EEOC Updates Pregnancy Discrimination Guidance

Last week, the EEOC announced an update to its Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues (“Enforcement Guidance”) to reflect the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Young v. UPS. As we blogged about in March, the Court in Young articulated a new standard applicable to claims brought under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”), when … Continue Reading

NYC Mayor Signs “Ban the Box” Law

Today, Mayor Bill DeBlasio signed a bill (Int. No. 318) that amends the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”) to further restrict employers (with four or more employees) from inquiring into or otherwise considering an applicant’s or employee’s criminal history in employment decisions.  The new NYC law will take effect on October 27, 2015. … Continue Reading

Oregon “Bans the Box” for Private Employers

Oregon is the latest state to “ban the box” for private employers.  Starting January 1, 2016, an employer may not require an applicant to disclose a criminal conviction on an employment application or at any time prior to an initial interview.  If the employer does not conduct an interview, then the employer may not require … Continue Reading

New Nevada Law Expands Employer Access to Conviction Records

While Nevada law does not limit how far back employers can directly ask applicants or employees about their conviction history, for years it has generally prohibited consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) from providing employers with conviction records that are more than 7 years old. Earlier this month, however, Nevada’s governor signed a law (S.B. 409) that removes … Continue Reading

Oregon Becomes the Fourth State with a Paid Sick Leave Law

Oregon recently passed a new law that will require most employers with 10 or more employees to provide paid sick time. Oregon is the fourth state to adopt a paid sick leave law, following Connecticut, California, and Massachusetts.   Some Key Provisions of the Passed Bill: Effective January 1, 2016, employers with 10 or more … Continue Reading

Colorado Supreme Court Okays Discharge of Medical Marijuana-Using Employee

Colorado, like some other states including New York, has a law that generally prohibits an employer from discharging an employee for engaging in lawful activities outside of work.  Earlier this week, in Coats v. Dish Network, No. 13SC394, the Colorado Supreme Court affirmed a lower court ruling that the state’s “lawful activities” statute does not … Continue Reading

NYC “Ban the Box” Bill Heads to Mayor’s Desk

On Wednesday, by a 45-5 vote, the New York City Council passed a bill (Int. No. 318) to amend the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”) to further restrict employers from inquiring into or otherwise considering  an applicant’s or employee’s criminal history in employment decisions.  Mayor DeBlasio is expected to sign the bill into … Continue Reading

Oregon Amends Social Media Law

About two years ago, Oregon enacted a law restricting employers from accessing the personal social media accounts of their applicants and employees.  For more on the law, see our prior client alert. Last week, Oregon’s governor signed a bill to broaden the protections of the state’s social media law.  The amendment takes effect January 1, … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Holds Failure to Accommodate Religion May Be Evidence of Intentional Discrimination

Today the U.S. Supreme Court held in favor of the EEOC in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Store Stores, Inc. The EEOC claimed that Abercrombie violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) by refusing to hire a Muslim applicant who wears a headscarf for religious reasons.  The decision, penned by … Continue Reading

New Connecticut Online Privacy Law Protects Prospective & Current Employees

Earlier this week, Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed a law to protect prospective and current employees from employer interference with their “personal online accounts.” The new law, which will take effect on October 1, 2015, defines personal online accounts to include any online account used by a prospective or current employee exclusively for personal … Continue Reading

“Ban the Box” Trend Continues Across the Country

The “ban the box” movement—which seeks to remove questions about criminal history from an employer’s initial employment application—continues to cut across geographic and political divides. In March and April, we blogged about the governors of two Southern states—Republican Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia and Democratic Governor Terrence McAuliffe of Virginia—ordering the removal of the “box” … Continue Reading

California Court Dismisses FCRA Class Action Against LinkedIn

In recent years, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) has become the focus of increasing litigation.  By way of background, FCRA regulates consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) that assemble or evaluate “consumer reports” for employers on the “character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living” of prospective and current employees.  In the course of furnishing … Continue Reading

NYC Mayor Signs Law Banning Credit Checks

Yesterday, NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio signed a bill (Int. 0261-2014) that amends the City’s Human Rights Law to prohibit most employers from inquiring into or considering a prospective or current employee’s credit history when making employment decisions. The law will take effect on September 3, 2015. As we detailed in our prior post, NYC’s new … Continue Reading

Philadelphia Issues Sick Leave Notice

The City of Philadelphia Managing Director’s Office (“the Agency”) recently issued its official notice of employee rights under the Philadelphia sick leave ordinance. Philadelphia’s sick leave ordinance, which takes effect on May 13, 2015, requires employers to provide employees with notice of their right to sick leave by either distributing the notice to each employee … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Concludes That EEOC Conciliation Efforts Are Reviewable by Courts

On April 29, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously concluded that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) efforts to conciliate a matter before filing suit—a statutory requirement of Title VII—can be reviewed by the courts. Mach Mining, LLC. v. EEOC, No. 13-1019 (April 29, 2015). The Court reversed a Seventh Circuit ruling that the EEOC … Continue Reading

EEOC Releases Proposed Rule on Employee Wellness Plans

Yesterday, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a long awaited proposed rule on employee wellness programs. The rule is designed to help companies structure such programs to meet their obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA prohibits medical exams that are not job related and consistent with business necessity but permits … Continue Reading

Credit Checks To Be Banned in NYC

Yesterday, by a 47-3 vote, the New York City Council passed a bill (Int. 0261-2014) to amend the NYC Human Rights Law to prohibit most employers from inquiring into or considering a prospective or current employee’s credit history when making employment decisions. Mayor DeBlasio is expected to sign the bill into law. The bill expansively … Continue Reading

New York City Council Introduces Bill to Create an Office of Labor Standards

The New York City Council has introduced a bill (T2015-2812) that seeks to establish an Office of Labor Standards (“Office”). The bill, which would amend the New York City Charter and the Administrative Code of the City of New York, provides for the creation of an Office either within the Executive Office of the Mayor … Continue Reading

Hiring Tests in the News

A front page article in today’s Wall Street Journal highlights the growing use of pre-employment personality and psychological testing to screen job candidates.  These tests are designed to evaluate technical skills, ability to multitask, friendliness, customer service orientation, communication skills and the like.  New test designs are based on the traits of employers’ most successful … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Announces New Standard for Pregnancy Discrimination Claims

On Wednesday the U.S. Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated decision in Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS), which involves a claim of pregnancy discrimination under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). Young, a UPS driver, claimed that UPS intentionally discriminated against her by refusing to accommodate her pregnancy-related lifting restriction by transferring her to a … Continue Reading

Utah Law Bars Discrimination Against Nursing Mothers

On March 23, Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed a bill that prohibits discrimination against employees who breastfeed at work. The bill modified the Utah Antidiscrimination Act to make clear that discrimination based on “pregnancy, childbirth, or pregnancy-related conditions” also includes breastfeeding or medical conditions related to breastfeeding. According to the bill’s sponsor, the measure was … Continue Reading

EEOC Takes First Step Toward Issuing Rules on Employer-Sponsored Wellness Plans

On March 20, 2015, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) announced its submission of a notice of proposed rulemaking (“NPRM”) on employer-sponsored wellness plans to the White House Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) for review. This is the first step toward official EEOC regulations on the subject of wellness plans. Assuming the OMB provides … Continue Reading

Hawaii Supreme Court Says Employer Failed to Establish “Rational Relationship” Between Applicant’s Drug Conviction and Position Sought

Hawaii, like some other states, only permits employers to consider convictions that bear a “rational relationship to the duties and responsibilities of the position.” Recently, the Hawaii Supreme Court had occasion to decide an issue that few other courts have addressed—the relationship of an applicant’s drug conviction to the job sought. In Shimose v. Hawaii … Continue Reading

Georgia “Ban the Box” Policy Crosses Geographic, Political Divides

Republican Governor Nathan Deal signed an executive order this past week adopting a “ban the box” policy for “government entities of the State of Georgia,” making Georgia the first Southern state and only the second “red state” to remove criminal history inquiries from state job applications. The Georgia order not only “bans the box” but … Continue Reading
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