Supreme Court Opens The Floodgates To Pregnancy Discrimination Cases

This week, in Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc., the United States Supreme Court found that, under Title VII, employers must provide pregnant employees with the same accommodations that they provide to employees in similar positions who are “similar in their ability or inability to work.”  In those terms, it’s an unremarkable decision — treat pregnant employees the same way you treat others.  But dig just a little deeper into the opinion and you can see that a clear majority of the court — from both ideological ends — has made the task of defending claims under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) much more difficult. Continue reading

Implementation Of DACA Expansion And New DAPA Program Delayed

Even before the President’s executive actions on immigration have been implemented, there is a new development. On Monday, a federal district court in Texas issued a preliminary injunction blocking implementation of the new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program and expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  The original DACA program implemented in 2012 is unaffected.  The injunction is temporary while the case State of Texas v. U.S.A. proceeds in federal court.  The litigation was brought by 26 states objecting to the President’s executive action on immigration which was announced in late 2014 for implementation in 2015.  The injunction affects only two of the areas addressed by the executive action (DACA expansion and DAPA).  The Obama administration has announced that it will appeal the decision, and the immigration bar expects the decision will be overturned based the outcome of prior cases.  But implementation of DAPA and the DACA expansion are postponed for now.

- Leigh Cole

Unvaccinated Workers: An Employer’s Rights And Obligations

Vaccines for children have been front-page news around the country after the breakout of measles at Disneyland.  Rightfully, the focus has been on children who are unvaccinated and the effect that it has on schools and places of public accommodation.  But, what about unvaccinated adults?  Can an employer require that its employees are vaccinated? Continue reading

It’s That H-1B Time of Year Again!

February has rolled around again and we’re thinking about powder days for skiing in the mountains and Caribbean vacations to find some sun, and April showers to bring May flowers… yes, April is right around the corner! So it’s time to start working on H-1B petitions that must be filed on April 1 for eligibility under the annual numerical limit on H-1B approvals known as the H-1B cap.  Continue reading

“Honest Belief” Defense Remains Unresolved In California

The California Supreme Court refused to decide whether the “honest belief” defense to discrimination and retaliation claims is valid under California law.  Instead, in Richey v. Autonation, Inc., the Court punted on the decision and found that an arbitrator’s underlying decision was based on “overwhelming” evidence of an employee’s misconduct and that the arbitrator’s application of the “honest belief” defense was “not prejudicial,” if error at all.  While underscoring the importance of well-crafted arbitration agreements, the decision leaves the lower courts free to reach inconsistent holdings on that important issue. Continue reading

No Waiver Of PAGA Representative Claims (Yet)

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari in connection with the California Supreme Court’s decision in Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angleles, LLC.  Had the Court heard the Iskanian case, it was expected to find that representative claims under California’s Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) could be waived by an arbitration agreement, as has been approved with class action claims.  The U.S. Supreme Court, however, decided that it would not hear the dispute, leaving the holding in Iskanian to be good law, at least for now. Continue reading

Supreme Court Rejects Compensation For Antitheft Security Screenings, But Would A California Court Find Differently?

The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held this week that time spent by employees going through a post-shift security screening is not compensable time.  In a relatively brief and uncontroversial opinion, the Court found in Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk that workers at an Amazon warehouse in Nevada who were required to spend upwards of 25 minutes in an antitheft security screening could not bring a claim for unpaid wages under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  Continue reading

The President’s Executive Actions on Immigration: What Employers Need To Know

On November 20, 2014 President Obama announced a set of immigration changes to be implemented by executive action within the parameters of current U.S. immigration laws.  The announcement was accompanied by a 33-page memorandum opinion from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) explaining why the proposed executive action is legal. None of the proposals can take effect until sometime in 2015 after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) develops detailed criteria and application procedures for each program. Meanwhile Congress could change all of this at any time by amending the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Continue reading

Supreme Court To Decide Religious Accommodation Case

Last year, we reported on a decision from a federal judge in San Francisco granting summary judgment to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in a case brought on behalf of a former Abercrombie & Fitch employee who was fired for wearing a hijab (a Muslim headdress for women) at work.   The judge in that case found that Abercrombie’s “Look Policy” was invalid insofar as it prohibited the employee from wearing a hijab and that Abercrombie’s belief that her dress would affect store performance or brand image was an “unsubstantiated opinion” that was not supported by hard evidence. Continue reading