Law and the Workplace

Category Archives: Litigation and Arbitration

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U.S. Supreme Court Holds That Filing an EEOC Charge Is Not a Jurisdictional Requirement for Title VII Suits

In a unanimous decision in Fort Bend County, Texas v. Davis, the United States Supreme Court held that while an employee has a mandatory obligation to file a charge with the EEOC prior to bringing a discrimination suit under Title VII, such obligation is a procedural, rather than jurisdictional, requirement.  The key takeaway for employers … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Reaffirms Test for Employee Status

On May 8, 2019, the Seventh Circuit reaffirmed its test for determining employee status under federal anti-discrimination laws, holding that a physician lacked standing to bring Title VII claims against the hospital at which she maintained practice privileges because she was not an employee. Levitin v. Northwest Community Hospital, No. 16-cv-3774. Background Plaintiff owned and … Continue Reading

New York State Releases Draft Anti-Sexual Harassment Training and Policy Models for Public Comment

As we have previously reported, pursuant to provisions of the state budget signed into law this past April, effective October 9, 2018, all New York State employers will be required to adopt written sexual harassment prevention policies and institute annual anti-harassment training for employees. To that end, New York State has just launched a new … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Employers in Upholding Arbitration Agreements Containing Class Action Waivers

On May 21, 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis that employers can require employees to arbitrate disputes with the employer individually and waive their right to pursue or participate in class or collective actions against their employer. Ruling 5-4 in favor of an employer’s right to … Continue Reading

Amendment to New York City Human Rights Law Mandates Employers to Engage in “Cooperative Dialogue” with Employees Seeking an Accommodation

The New York City Council voted last month to amend the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”) to mandate that covered entities engage in “cooperative dialogue” with those persons who may be entitled to a reasonable accommodation. On January 19, 2018, because the Mayor failed to take action within thirty days of its passage, the … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Permits Disability Discrimination Claims Based on Medical Marijuana Use

On July 17, 2017, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in Barbuto v. Advantage Sales & Marketing, LLC, that an employee using medical marijuana in treatment of a chronic illness may qualify for protection against disability discrimination under state law, even though the use of marijuana remains illegal under federal law. While the decision addresses … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Permits ADEA “Subgroup” Claims

The Third Circuit recently held in Karlo v. Pittsburgh Glass Works, LLC, No. 15-3435, 2017 WL 83385 (3d Cir. Jan. 10, 2017), that workers in their 50s may be recognized as a “subgroup” of employees protected by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”) if employer policies inadvertently disfavor them relative to their co-workers who … Continue Reading

Proskauer’s Value Insights Survey is Now Live

Proskauer’s second Value Insights: Delivering Value in Labor and Employment Law survey is now live and we want to hear from you. Value Insights explores how in-house counsel can maximize the value they provide to their business partners and correspondingly, how they can most effectively partner with outside counsel on managing labor and employment work. … Continue Reading

Recovery of Liquidated Damages Under Both FLSA and State Law Improper, Says Second Circuit

In a summary order issued on December 7, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit–in Chowdhury v. Hamza Express Food Corp., No. 15‐3142‐cv–held that an award of liquidated damages under both the Fair Labor Standards Act and the New  York Labor Law with respect to the same violation was improper: [The Labor Law] does … Continue Reading

Participate in Proskauer’s Value Insights Survey

Last year, Proskauer’s Labor and Employment Law Department conducted its inaugural Value Insights: Delivering Value in Labor and Employment Law survey, a resource that includes input from in-house decision makers on labor and employment matters and provides in-house counsel with tools to both more effectively help their business partners achieve their objectives and to work with … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Seeks Guidance from NY Court of Appeals on Standard for Awarding Punitive Damages Under the New York City Human Rights Law

Second Circuit sealThe Second Circuit is once again seeking guidance from the New York Court of Appeals, this time on the question of the appropriate standard for awarding punitive damages for unlawful discriminatory acts under the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”).  The NYCHRL provides that punitive damages may be available where employers are found directly … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Instructs that, When Raised, Arbitrability is a Gateway Issue that Must Be Considered Prior to Conditional Certification in FLSA Collective Actions

On October 4, 2016, the Fifth Circuit in Reyna v. International Bank of Commerce instructed district courts that when the issue of arbitrability is raised in a prompt motion to compel, it should be decided at the outset of the litigation—even prior to deciding conditional certification in FLSA collective actions. Reyna builds upon the Fifth … Continue Reading

Proskauer Releases Survey Results on Value Insights: Delivering Value in Labor and Employment Law

Proskauer’s Labor and Employment Law Department is pleased to announce the release of its inaugural Value Insights: Delivering Value in Labor and Employment Law survey, a resource that includes input from in-house decision makers on labor and employment matters and provides in-house counsel with tools to both more effectively help their business partners achieve their objectives … Continue Reading

President Signs Defend Trade Secrets Act Into Law

Today (May 11, 2016), President Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”) into law, for the first time creating a federal cause of action for trade secret misappropriation.  The law has sweeping implications and is expected to have a noticeable impact on trade secret jurisprudence.  In addition, the law adds new obligations for employers … Continue Reading

Congress Passes A New Law Providing A Federal Cause Of Action For The Misappropriation of Trade Secrets

On April 11 and April 27, 2016, the Senate and House, respectively, passed the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA).  The DTSA, for the first time, provides a federal cause of action for the misappropriation of trade secrets.  This significant development has large implications for companies and employers nationwide.  As such, Proskauer has prepared … Continue Reading

Mayor de Blasio Signs New Laws Strengthening NYC’s Human Rights Law

On Monday, March 28, 2016, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed several bills (Intros 814-A, 818-A, and 819) amending the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”). The amendments strengthen employee protections by changing existing laws to provide for 1) a more liberal construction of the NYCHRL for plaintiffs; 2) attorneys’ fees, expert fees, and other … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Weighs In On Breadth Of The Rehabilitation Act

Recently, a split has continued among the Circuit Courts as to whether Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act permits employment discrimination suits by independent contractors. On February 1, 2016, the Fifth Circuit joined the Ninth Circuit and held that it does.  The decision is a good reminder that the Rehabilitation Act has a broader reach … Continue Reading

2015 Year in Review—the Top 10 Trends in New Jersey Employment Law

In 2015, there were important developments in New Jersey employment law. This newsletter examines some of those developments in ten key areas— background checks, whistleblowing, paid sick leave, wage and hour, Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”) litigation, arbitration, workplace injury, “Faithless Servant” Doctrine, Family Medical Leave Act, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of … Continue Reading

Elizabeth Poised to Become the Tenth Municipality in New Jersey to Mandate Paid Sick Leave

Voters in Elizabeth, New Jersey overwhelmingly approved a public question on the ballot requiring private-sector employers in the city to provide paid sick leave to their employees.  Elizabeth follows the lead of multiple jurisdictions (state and local) that have adopted similar measures across the country, including the following municipalities in New Jersey:  Jersey City, Newark, … Continue Reading

Second Circuit: FAA Mandates Stay of Claims Pending Arbitration

The Second Circuit recently held in Katz v. Cellco P’Ship d/b/a/ Verizon Wireless, Nos. 14-138, 14-291, 2015 WL 4528658 (2d Cir. July 28, 2015) that, under the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”), district courts must stay all proceedings upon a finding that the claims before the court are subject to arbitration if a stay is requested. … Continue Reading

Latest EEOC Discrimination Suit Targets Employment Exam

For years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has taken the position that certain employment tests and screening procedures can serve to discriminate against racial and ethnic minorities in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) when not “properly validated” as “job-related” and “consistent with business necessity” under the … 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

NJ Businesses and Lawmakers Continue Debate over Municipal Sick Leave Laws

Controversy continues to stir over the growing number of municipal sick leave laws in the State of New Jersey.  To date, nine such localities—Bloomfield, East Orange, Irvington, Jersey City, Montclair, Newark, Passaic, Paterson and Trenton— have required employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees.  No other state in the nation has anywhere near … 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
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