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Wearable Technology – Should Employers Be Concerned?

With the announcement of the April 24 release date for the long anticipated Apple Watch (http://www.cnet.com/products/apple-watch/), this is a good time for employers to consider the topic of wearable technology. 

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More Good News for Employers – Supreme Court Toughens Standards

Employers received more good news from the U.S. Supreme Court this week with decisions in two cases that toughen standards for determining who is a supervisor and for proving retaliation. 

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Supreme Court Again Endorses Arbitration and Class Action Waivers

Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued its long awaited decision in American Express v. Italian Colors Restaurant

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After the [Unpaid Interns] of Summer Are Gone

Now that summer is here, many companies have brought in the annual crop of summer interns.  It is likely that at least some of these interns are unpaid, working for the privilege of gaining experience or a foot in the door that might lead to a paying position.  A Federal District Court in Manhattan ruled this week that Fox Searchlight Pictures violated federal and New York minimum wage laws by not paying production interns. What does this mean for employers?  

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Fair Employment Opportunity Act and New NLRA Posting Rule

There have been a couple of interesting developments this week in labor and employment law.  First, some may recall that I posted earlier this summer about the employment practice of refusing to consider the unemployed for open positions.  I mentioned at the time that a bill had been introduced, the Fair Employment Act of 2011 (H.R. 1113), that would amend Title VII to add “unemployment status” to the list of protected classes.  Employment Law Matters reports that the effort to pass such a law continues:

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EEOC Ordered to Pay Millions in Attorneys’ Fees Again

Those of you who follow such things have no doubt enjoyed the recent federal court decisions taking the EEOC to task for its “sue first, ask questions later” approach to class action litigation.  As one commentator has noted:

Perhaps the most notable of these recent cases is EEOC v. CRST Van Expedited, Inc., in which the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa dismissed a sexual harassment case filed by the EEOC on behalf of 67 women, and awarded CRST more than $4 million in attorneys’ fees. The district court, in finding the EEOC’s prosecution of the case to be frivolous, unreasonable and without foundation, sharply criticized the EEOC’s litigation strategy as one of “sue first, ask questions later.” Here, the district court found that the EEOC failed to investigate the specific allegations of the 67 class members until after the civil action was commenced. In fact, the EEOC had not interviewed any of the women who were supposedly sexually harassed and did not subpoena any documents to determine if the allegations were true. Before filing suit, the EEOC also did not identify any of the 67 female class members and did not attempt to conciliate the allegations of those women. In the end, the district court found that the EEOC had not complied with its own administrative requirements and dismissed the case due to the jurisdictional defects. 

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Work-Life Balance Not Required By Law and Other Interesting Reading

As some readers may have noticed, I have been on a brief hiatus from blogging.  This was primarily due to my real job, practicing labor and employment law, and a much needed vacation.  I am back now and offer you some interesting reading that I came across recently: 

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Have You Read Your Job Postings?

I ran across an interesting debate in a recent issue of the USA Today over the issue of job postings.  Apparently, some employers have been posting jobs with a statement that the unemployed need not apply. 

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Ohio Judge Thwarts EEOC Effort To Expand Pattern and Practice Lawsuits

In a story widely reported in the news last year, the EEOC sued Kaplan Higher Education Corporation, a nationwide provider of postsecondary education, alleging that it engaged in a pattern or practice of unlawful discrimination by refusing to hire a class of black job applicants nationwide.  The suit was based on the allegation that since at least 2008, Kaplan had rejected job applicants based on their credit history and that the practice had an unlawful discriminatory impact because of race.  One issue that arose in the case was the proper scope of the class of claimants in pattern or practice suits brought by the EEOC.  Specifically, whether individuals claiming to aggrieved more than 300 days before the filing of the charge that triggered the EEOC’s investigation could be included in the class.  This week, the Court answered that question in the negative, holding that the plain language of Title VII does not carve out an exception for the EEOC to bring untimely claims. 

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NLRB Files Two More Facebook Cases

The NLRB’s interest in social media has been in the news recently and I have commented on it here and here.  The assault on employers’ efforts to manage their employees use of social media as it pertains to the workplace continued this month with two new cases.

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