HR Legalist

HR Legalist

Employment Law Updates
& Best Practices for Employers

Supreme Court Rules Against Public Sector Unions, Disallows “Fair Share” Fees for Public Employees

Posted in Free Speech, Government, Labor Relations, Supreme Court

Today the Supreme Court ruled, in a 5-4 decision, that public sector employees who are not members of a union cannot be forced to pay union fees covering the costs of collective bargaining (Janus v. AFSCME).  In doing so, the Court overruled a 1977 case that allowed these so-called “agency fees,” and held that these fees violated the free speech rights of non-union employees.   This ruling will have a significant impact on the finances of unions that represent public sector employees across the country. Continue Reading

New Jersey Employers Should Prepare for New Equal Pay Law Effective July 2018

Posted in Uncategorized

Earlier this year, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy passed  landmark equal pay legislation, which will take effect on July 1, 2018 and impact employers statewide.  The Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act  (Act), expands employee rights under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), and prohibits employers from paying an employee who is a member of any protected class a lower rate of compensation or benefits than an employee who is not protected and who performs “substantially similar work.”  Unlike some equal pay laws that focus on gender, the Act applies to employees of all protected categories under state law, including, but not limited to: gender, race, national origin, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, military status, disability, and marital status.  The law does not specifically define “substantially similar work”; however, the statute states that it this term will be viewed in light of the employees’ respective skills, effort and responsibility. Continue Reading

Supreme Court Issues Narrow Ruling in Same-Sex Wedding Cake Case

Posted in Discrimination

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed a ruling of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission (the “Commission”) that a cake shop violated the state’s anti-discrimination act by refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple for professed religious reasons.  This case is the latest in a series of high-profile cases pitting the religious beliefs of business owners against the rights of LGBTQ customers.   Continue Reading

Class Action Settlement Reminds Restaurant Industry of the Notice Requirements for Paying Tipped Workers

Posted in Fair Labor Standards Act

The minimum wage requirements under the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA), as well as many state laws including Pennsylvania, allow tipped workers to be paid a lower hourly rate than non-tipped workers. However, those laws require companies to comply with a strict set of requirements in order to take advantage of that lower rate. Failure to do so can lead to expensive litigation, as demonstrated by a $2.1 million class action settlement recently approved in Koenig v. Primanti Corp.[1] Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Class Arbitration Waivers

Posted in General Labor and Employment News and Updates

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday decided Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, 16-285 (May 21, 2018), upholding employment contract provisions that require employees to arbitrate their disputes with the company individually rather than on a class-wide basis. This resolves a split among the circuit courts of appeals, creating certainty and uniformity for employers across the country. Continue Reading

New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Bill Passes – How will it Affect Your Organization?

Posted in Paid Sick Leave

On May 3, 2018, New Jersey became the tenth state to require employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave.  The new legislation, which will go into effect on October 29, 2018, preempts existing paid sick leave laws in 13 New Jersey municipalities, and introduces a statewide minimum amount of paid sick leave in the private sector.  This latest development is part of an expansion of employee rights under new Governor Phil Murphy and the Democrat-controlled state legislature, as predicted by HR Legalist. Continue Reading

Domino’s Pizza Delivery Drivers File Lawsuits Against Three Colorado Franchises

Posted in Fair Labor Standards Act

Three wage and hour lawsuits were filed recently by food delivery drivers as class and collective actions against three Colorado-based Domino’s Pizza franchise groups.  The lawsuits, which were “delivered” to federal court on April 20th and 21st, seek unpaid minimum wages and overtime based on an allegedly improper expense reimbursement formula for wear and tear on the drivers’ personal vehicles.  The lawsuits seek damages under both the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Colorado State wage and hour law. Continue Reading

Court Rules That UberBLACK Drivers Are Not Entitled to FLSA Protections Because They Are Independent Contractors

Posted in Fair Labor Standards Act

As Judge Baylson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania noted at the beginning of his opinion, “[t]his case is the first to grant summary judgment on the question of whether drivers for UberBLACK are employees or independent contractors within the meaning of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and similar Pennsylvania state laws.”  Razak v. Uber Techs., Inc., Civil Action No. 16-573, 2018 WL 174467, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61230 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 11, 2018).  Although many of the cases against Uber are forced into arbitration, the plaintiffs in Razak had opted-out of arbitration through a procedure contained in Uber’s Service Agreement.  As a result, Uber has obtained a decision that may impact other cases brought against it under similar legal theories, and may impact other ride-sharing companies as well. Continue Reading

Employers Should Know This About Today’s Marijuana Laws

Posted in Medical Marijuana

Marijuana legalization can have a direct and lasting impact on employers; particularly, those with drug-free workplace policies.  Employers can be placed in a difficult position of trying to enforce these policies, while avoiding disability discrimination lawsuits by employees who use medical marijuana outside of the workplace. Even though marijuana is still illegal under federal law, many states have adopted laws that permit medical marijuana consumption and protect patients from discrimination in employment based on their status as medical marijuana users.  Continue Reading