HR Legalist

HR Legalist

Employment Law Updates
& Best Practices for Employers

Coming Soon to Your State? Laws Banning Inquiries into Applicant Salary History Gaining Steam

Posted in Wage Equity Ordinance

As reported by HRLegalist earlier this year, Philadelphia’s City Council unanimously approved a pay equity bill making Philadelphia the first city in the nation to adopt comprehensive “wage-gap” legislation.  Under the Wage Equity Law, Philadelphia employers and employment agencies are prohibited from making any inquiry into a job applicant’s wage history during any stage of the employment process. The Wage Equity Law seeks to ferret out discrimination and address historic pay disparities among men, women and minorities. Continue Reading

Secretary of Labor Withdraws Previous Guidance on Joint Employment and Independent Contractors

Posted in Fair Labor Standards Act, Wage & Hour

In a Department of Labor news release yesterday, new U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announced the withdrawal of two Obama-era Administrator Interpretations, effectively rolling back the scope of the Fair Labor Standards Act and its application to joint employment and independent contractors.  These two interpretations, issued by the former Administrator of the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) in July of 2015 and January of 2016, were not legally binding.  However, both publications sent a message to the employer community that the DOL and WHD would take a broad view of the applicability of the FLSA to companies that characterize their workers as independent contractors or share employees with other organizations. Continue Reading

ERISA Religious Exemption Expanded: SCOTUS Says Church Affiliation is Enough

Posted in ERISA


In a sigh of relief for faith-based healthcare providers, on Monday, June 5th, the U.S. Supreme Court held, in a decision authored by Justice Elena Kagan, that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act’s religious exemption provision covers all benefit plans maintained by religious group affiliates, even if the plan is not established by the religious group itself. Continue Reading

Restoring the Power of Persuasion – The DOL Takes Another Step Toward Ending the Persuader Rule

Posted in Labor Relations, NLRB

The Department of Labor (“DOL” or “Department”) has continued its efforts towards eliminating the “Persuader Rule,” a controversial Obama-era regulation which requires employers to report arrangements made with third parties for the purpose of influencing employees in matters of collective bargaining, union organizing, and other union-related activity. The Persuader Rule broadened the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act’s (LMRDA) “advice exemption” requiring employers to disclose “persuader activities” undertaken by third party consultants. Continue Reading

Is Distress Over Your Assigned Gender a Disability?

Posted in LGBTQ Employees, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act

District Court Narrowly Construes the ADA to Allow a Transgender Employee to Pursue Discrimination and Retaliation Claims

Pennsylvania District Court Judge Joseph F. Leeson recently ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act’s (“ADA”) provision excluding “gender identity disorders” from ADA coverage should be construed narrowly, and held that a transgender employee’s disability discrimination and retaliation claims arising from gender dysphoria are actionable under the ADA. Specifically, Judge Leeson ruled that the ADA’s “gender identity disorder” exclusion applies only to the “non-disabling condition” of an inability to identify with an assigned gender, but that certain “disabling conditions” (e.g. gender dysphoria) that may affect individuals with gender identity disorders are disabilities under the ADA. Continue Reading

Freelance Isn’t Free: New York City Reins in Independent Contractors, One Work Provider at a Time

Posted in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, General Labor and Employment News and Updates


New York City’s Freelance Isn’t Free Act (or FIFA, for short) is not just an attention-grabbing name, but game-changing legislation that has imposed unprecedented regulations on the Five Borough “gig economy.” Continue Reading

How Diversity Drives Business Success

Posted in Diversity

Business Team Professional Occupation Workplace Concept

At Obermayer, we understand that a diverse workforce is essential to success in today’s marketplace.  We are pleased to announce an important and timely panel discussion and networking event: How Diversity Drives Business Success. We have an impressive panel of business and thought leaders on the value of diversity for business growth.

Please join us. There is no registration fee but we do ask that you register as space is limited. Click here for more details and to register.

Equal Pay Protections Upset by Recent Ninth Circuit Ruling

Posted in General Labor and Employment News and Updates, Hiring, Wage Equity Ordinance

equality compassOn April 27, 2017, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an employer was allowed to base “a pay differential on prior salary so long as it showed that its use of prior salary effectuated some business policy and that the employer used the factor reasonably in light of its stated purpose and its other practices.”   By its ruling, it vacated an Eastern District of California District Court holding that basing a male and female pay differential on their prior salaries further perpetuates the wage discrimination which Congress passed the Equal Pay Act (“EPA”) to eradicate.  Plaintiff, Aileen Rizzo, a math teacher, sued the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools after she discovered that similarly situated male math teachers were paid more than she was. Continue Reading

Beware Hugging at Work

Posted in Workplace Policies

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal published on April 17, 2017, “Embraceable You: When the CEO Is a Hugger,” describes a trend in which some executives greet employees and business associates with hugs in lieu of the traditional handshake.  This conduct is not advisable, however, as it could open the door to claims of sexual harassment and discrimination.  Continue Reading

Every Manager and Their Mother: Second Circuit Shields Social Media Insults against Supervisor and His Entire Family

Posted in Labor Relations, NLRB, Workplace Policies

On Friday, April 21, 2017 a Second Circuit Court of Appeals panel affirmed a National Labor Relations Board ruling that a catering company server was wrongfully terminated for making an obscene and vicious Facebook post that verbally attacked a supervisor and his family, because it included a pro-union message (and was therefore protected activity under the National Labor Relations Act). Continue Reading