Employment Law News Roundup: September 2015
September was a big month for employment law issues due to quite a few high profile class action suits filed, important workplace discrimination cases brought to light, and new legislation hitting the desks of our nation’s leaders at both state and federal levels. Because a number of stories regarding employment law are published on a daily basis, we’ve decided to keep our readers informed by offering an employment law news roundup each month with summaries and links to top employment law-related content from around the web.
The following stories are an overview of just some of the latest developments in employment law, legislation and cases for September 2015.
Top Employment Law Stories for September 2015
The National Labor Relations Board recently released its opinion in the case of Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc. and Sanitary Truck Drivers and Helpers, Local 350, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Case 32-RC-109684.
Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI) operated a recycling facility while another employer, Leadpoint Business Services (Leadpoint), provided workers who sorted recyclable materials inside the facility. The relationship between BFI and Leadpoint is governed by a Temporary Labor Services Agreement. The question in the case was whether or not BFI and Leadpoint are joint employers. The answer was “yes.”
Read the full story on Employment Essentials
AB 622, a California employment law bill which intends to minimize alleged E-Verify abuse hit Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk in September following the state legislature’s approval. If signed, the bill would prevent employers from using the E-Verify system to check the employment authorization status of both existing employees and job applicants, except as required by federal law or as a condition of receiving federal funds.
Read the full story on Law 360
Media observers are calling SB 358 the most aggressive attempt to date at closing the gender wage gap. Once signed by Governor Jerry Brown, the Fair Pay Bill would substantially broaden California gender pay differential law.
Read the full story on the California Peculiarities Employment Law Blog
A flight attendant for ExpressJet, Charee Stanley, was suspended without pay after her religious accommodation(s) were revoked by the airline. Stanley, who began working for the airline three years ago, converted to Islam two years ago. However, Stanley just recently learned that her newfound religion prohibits her for serving alcohol. Stanley was granted religious accommodation from ExpressJet and the arrangement worked well until a coworker filed a complaint against her claiming she was not fulfilling her duties by her refusal to serve alcohol to passengers.
Read the full story on the Wisconsin Employment & Labor Law Blog
5.) President Obama Signs Executive Order Requiring Federal Contractors to Provide Sick Leave for Employees
On Labor Day, President Obama signed an executive order that would require companies that contract with the federal government to provide paid sick leave to their employees. Those working on federal contracts will be able to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 7 days.
Read the full story on The National Law Review
A federal appeals court ruled that employees in California can file whistleblower claims against their employers on behalf of themselves and their coworkers; a long-sought victory for employees confronting a case-by-case, business-friendly arbitration system.
Read the full story on SFGate.com
On September 1, 2015, California-based Uber drivers were granted class action status by a federal judge. Shannon Liss-Riordan, the attorney representing Uber drivers in a class action lawsuit is charging that an arbitration agreement Uber has required drivers to sign since June 2014, violates the National Labor Relations Act. Because the class was limited by Judge Edward M. Chen to exclude drivers who accepted Uber’s arbitration agreement after June 2014, it waives these drivers’ rights to participate in the class action.
“Uber is using its fine print arbitration agreements containing class action waivers to prevent drivers from being included in the class action,” said Liss-Riordan by email. “As the NLRB has repeatedly held, these class action waivers are illegal under the National Labor Relations Act.”
If the NLRB does find Uber’s arbitration agreement to be unlawful, Liss-Riordan is hopeful that the post-June 2014 Uber drivers will be allowed back into the class by the judge.
Read the full story on SF Weekly
Democrats recently introduced the Workplace Action for a Growing Economy (WAGE) Act which adds large monetary penalties to employers who violate employees’ rights to collectively organize; whether it’s the joining of a union or just wanting to improve working conditions. WAGE would also force employers to re-hire employees quickly if they were wrongfully terminated — undocumented or not.
Read the full story on Daily Kos
The EEOC’s lawsuit charged that United Airlines’ competitive transfer policy has violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation to employees or applicants with disabilities, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship for the employer. United Airlines required disabled workers to compete for vacant positions for which they were already qualified and needed in order to continue working. This unlawful business practice frequently prevented employees with disabilities from continuing employment with the airline giant.
Read the full story on the Texas Employment Law Blog
The United Parcel Service (UPS) is facing another unpaid overtime lawsuit — despite having paid millions in other unpaid overtime claims. The recent case involves a letter carrier who claimed he would work more than 10 hours per week without pay. This is due to UPS’s own system that would evaluate how much time letter carriers should take to complete routes. However, UPS added more stops to the letter carrier’s route, yet he was still expected to finish during the same predetermined time period.
Read the full story on Wrady & Michel, LLC.