Wednesday, July 1, 2015

When it Comes to Employee Benefits, It’s Now Just “Marriage”

The U.S. Supreme Court announced another eagerly anticipated decision last Friday, ruling that gay and lesbian couples have a fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution to marry. The Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges follows decades of advocacy by groups favoring and opposing same-sex marriage, as well as ramped up legislative activity and court battles over the legality of same-sex marriage in recent years.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Care Act Subsidy Regulations

The U.S. Supreme Court announced its much awaited decision today in the case of King v. Burwell. In its ruling, the Court upheld a key provision in the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) that provides government subsidies for health care insurance for all Americans who qualify, regardless of whether the coverage is obtained through a federal or state run health care exchange. The Court’s decision affirmed an earlier decision in the case by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and endorsed the view of the Obama administration that subsidies should be available for all lower and moderate income individuals regardless of where they reside.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Employers Still Wading in the Weed(s) of State Marijuana Laws

As distribution of medical marijuana is set to begin in Minnesota on July 1, 2015, a new ruling from the Colorado Supreme Court further clouds the air for employers attempting to handle the employment ramifications of marijuana use in the twenty-four jurisdictions now permitting marijuana use.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Employers' Hiring Practices May Need New "Look" After EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch

A hiring policy based on looks is like nails on a chalkboard to an employment lawyer. So it comes as no surprise that the "Look Policy" of an Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) store caused A&F trouble before the Supreme Court last week when the Court found in favor of the EEOC on a charge of religious discrimination against the clothing retailer. However, the decision has implications that reach beyond image-based hiring and sets standards of proof for religious accommodation claims and Title VII generally.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Proposed Guidance Should Bring more Clarity (and Burden) for Government Contractors

Government contractors continue to be the target of increased regulation. As part of implementing President Barack Obama’s “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” Executive Order (E.O. 13673), the U.S. Department of Labor has issued proposed guidance and the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council has issued proposed regulations. The President’s Executive Order, issued last summer, requires federal contractors to disclose adverse judgments in lawsuits, administrative/agency proceedings, and arbitration to the contracting agency under fourteen federal employment and labor-related statutes and executive orders. The Order has been referred to as a “blacklisting” executive order designed to bar companies with serious or repeated employment and labor law violations from receiving federal contracts. You can check out our previous post on the Order if you are interested in more background information. In addition, the Order contained paycheck transparency requirements and arbitration agreement restrictions.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

They're here! The US DOL Has Issued Updated FMLA Forms

The US Department of Labor has finally issued new versions of its sample Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) notice, provider certification, and military certification forms. The “old” DOL forms expired some time ago, leaving employers to wonder when they would receive the DOL’s new “blessed” versions of the forms. Well, they are finally here!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

EEOC Begins Implementation of Online Charge Notifications

This month, the EEOC began to roll out ACT Digital, the agency’s first step to a digital charge system. ACT Digital will enable electronic transmission of documents filed between the parties to a charge and the EEOC. Implementation began on May 6 with EEOC offices in the Charlotte and San Francisco areas. EEOC offices in Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, and Phoenix will also begin implementation by the end of May. The remaining EEOC offices will roll out implementation in stages, with the EEOC expecting ACT Digital to be available in all offices by Oct. 1, 2015.