Accessibility of Retailer Websites Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Posted on April 13th, by Editor in Audits/Due Diligence, Counseling & Compliance Training. 1 Comment

By Thomas J. Barton

Title III of the ADA provides that “no individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disabilities in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or any accommodations of any place of public accommodation….” 42 U.S.C. §12812(a). When the ADA was enacted in 1991, Congress contemplated physical access to places of public accommodation, such as hospitals, schools, housing, restaurants, and retail stores. At that time, Congress did not foresee the rise of the internet or the proliferation of sales of goods and services through retail websites, and therefore did not provide any guidance as to whether or the extent to which retail websites were governed by the ADA’s accessibility requirements.

Originally initiated by the National Federation for the Blind and other advocacy groups, a cottage industry has sprung up challenging … Read More »

Paid Parental Leave: San Francisco Will Require Employers to Provide Paid Leave and California Will Increase Benefits Available Under State Law

Posted on April 12th, by Editor in Counseling & Compliance Training. No Comments

By Kate S. Gold, Mark E. Terman, Ramon A. Miyar, and Vik C. Jaitly

On Tuesday, April 5, 2016, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved legislation that would require private employers in the city to provide partial compensation to employees taking leave to bond with a newborn child under the California Paid Family Leave (“PFL”) program. In practice, when combined with existing partial wage replacement from the PFL program, employees who earn up to a maximum of $106,000 annually will receive complete wage replacement during a covered parental leave as a result of the legislation. If the ordinance is signed into law, San Francisco will become the first municipality in the United States to enact such a program.

Before becoming law, the proposed legislation will need to be approved in a second vote by the Board of Supervisors and signed … Read More »

Three Steps to Prepare for the Labor Department’s Proposed Rule on Paid Sick Leave

By Lynne Anderson

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released a proposed rule that requires federal contractors and subcontractors to provide workers with seven days of paid sick leave on an annual basis. The proposed rule, released on Feb. 25, was created in response to President Barack Obama’s Executive Order 13706, which directed the DOL to issue and finalize regulations this year.

The proposed rule is projected to extend paid sick leave to more than 800,000 employees, 400,000 of which don’t currently receive any paid sick leave, within a five-year period, according to DOL estimates.

Although the DOL has extended the comments period on the proposed rule through April 12, employers and human resources professionals should start preparing for implementation. Here are three things companies can do to prepare:

1. Review and revise policies

HR professionals should compare their employer’s existing policies with the … Read More »

Have a Seat: The California Supreme Court Clarifies the Wage Orders’ Suitable Seating Rules

By Philippe A. Lebel and Thomas J. Barton

On April 4, 2016, the California Supreme Court issued an opinion concerning the Industrial Welfare Commission’s (IWC) Wage Orders’ suitable seating rules. According to the California Supreme Court, whether an employer must provide seating while employees are actively engaged in duties depends on employees’ tasks performed at given work locations. The Court determined that if the tasks being performed at any given location reasonably permit sitting, and provision of a seat would not interfere with performance of any other tasks that may require standing, an employer must provide a seat. The Court held that the determination of whether work “reasonably permits” sitting is a question to be resolved objectively, based on the totality of the circumstances. While an employer’s business judgment and the physical layout of the workplace are relevant factors, they are … Read More »

Tyson Foods Ruling Opens the Door for Use of Statistical Averaging in Wage and Hour Class Actions

Posted on April 4th, by Editor in Wage/Hour Class Actions. No Comments

By Thomas J. Barton and Ramon Miyar

Last week, in Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo et al., No. 14-1146, the United States Supreme Court ruled that class certification was appropriate in a wage and hour class and collective action, despite the lack of individualized evidence for the amount of uncompensated time worked by each class member. The Court instead allowed the employees to use a statistical expert who conducted representative time studies to determine the average number of minutes that the employees spent on pre-shift and post-shift activities. The Court rejected Tyson’s arguments against the use of representative sample averaging, including Tyson’s reliance on Wal-Mart Stores. Inc. v. Dukes, 564 U.S. 338 (2011), which denied certification in a nationwide Title VII class because liability and damages would require individualized proof.

Plaintiff employees in Tyson worked at Tyson Foods, Inc.’s (“Tyson”) pork-processing facility … Read More »

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