HR Legalist

HR Legalist

Employment Law Updates
& Best Practices for Employers

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

Buy American, Hire American:  President Trump’s Executive Order Hints at Possible H-1B Visa Reform

Posted in Immigration

On Tuesday, April 18, 2017, President Trump signed his “Buy American, Hire American” Executive Order during a visit to the Snap On Tools headquarters in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  Lauded by the administration as a sign of the administration’s commitment to protect American workers and U.S. manufacturing, the executive order calls on all federal agencies to “scrupulously monitor, enforce, and comply with Buy American laws.”   Tuesday’s Executive Order also calls for reform of the H-1B visa program.  In a single sentence the Order declares:  “In order to promote the proper functioning of the H-1B visa program, the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall, as soon as practicable, suggest reforms to help ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries.”  Continue Reading

Transgender Restroom Dispute Continues, Despite North Carolina “Deal” To Overturn Controversial “Bathroom Bill”

Posted in Discrimination, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Gender Identity, LGBTQ Employees, Workplace Policies

On Thursday March 30, 2017, Gov. Roy Cooper signed House Bill 142, which repealed North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2. As previously reported by HR Legalist, House Bill 2 was signed into law on March 23, 2016, and prohibited local government from permitting transgender individuals to use public bathrooms that aligned with their sex or gender identity.  House Bill 142 came to pass after the NBA, NCAA, Paypal, and Deutsche Bank all cancelled previously scheduled events or plans for expansion within North Carolina due to House Bill 2.  It has been estimated that House Bill 2 cost North Carolina at least $450 million dollars in lost revenue.  Now, however, many civil rights advocates are criticizing the new bill due to a provision that prevents local governments from passing any nondiscrimination statutes until December 2020. Continue Reading

Federal Court of Appeals Rules that Civil Rights Law Protects LGBT Workers from Sexual Orientation Discrimination

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

gavel on rainbow flagOn Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit made history by extending the protections of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to LGBT individuals in the workforce when it held that “discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.” In Tuesday’s 8-3 decision, the full panel of Seventh Circuit judges overturned an October 2016 ruling by a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit, which dismissed the sex discrimination claims brought by Kimberly Hively, a lesbian adjunct professor against Ivy Tech Community College.  Ms. Hively claimed that the Ivy Tech refused to promote her and ultimately eliminated her position because of her sexual orientation.  In October, the three-judge panel opined that it was bound by existing precedent to differentiate between sexual orientation discrimination and sex discrimination (discrimination based on biological sex) under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Continue Reading

Be Careful With That! – Second Circuit Dismisses Failure to Accommodate Claim Brought by “Needle Phobic” Pharmacist

Posted in Americans with Disabilities Act, Reasonable Accommodation, Terminations

On March 21, 2017, the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a former Rite Aid pharmacist’s claim against Rite Aid for refusing to accommodate his “needle phobia.” In 2011, Rite Aid altered the job description for its pharmacists to include immunization certification as an “essential duty and responsibility.”  Rite Aid altered the job description to enable customers “to come into Rite Aid any time the pharmacy was open . . . and receive an immunization.” Continue Reading


Posted in Workplace Policies

Basketball TournamentAcross the country, sports fans are gearing up for their favorite seasonal competition: the NCAA “March Madness” tournament. Those with winning brackets can earn prizes ranging from neighborhood bragging rights, up to a million dollars per year, for life (if you are one of Warren Buffet’s employees). Competition prizes and popularity notwithstanding, should employers be wary about hosting the office pool?  When does friendly competition run afoul and become illegal gambling? Continue Reading