New ACA Rule Changes Hospitals’ Obligations to Provide Auxiliary Aids to Patients and Companions

Posted on August 25th, by Editor in Counseling & Compliance Training. Comments Off on New ACA Rule Changes Hospitals’ Obligations to Provide Auxiliary Aids to Patients and Companions

By Melissa Provost

On September 8, 2015, the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) proposed regulations to implement Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act.  Section 1557 prohibits certain entities that administer health programs and activities from excluding an individual from participation, denying program benefits, or discriminating against an individual based on his or her race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.  On May 13, 2016, the HHS Office of Civil Rights issued the final rule implementing Section 1557.  The final rule also prohibits discriminatory practices by health care providers, such as hospitals, that accept Medicare or doctors who participate in the Medicaid program.  The final rule became effective on July 18, 2016.

Section 1557 builds on long-standing federal civil rights laws, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, … Read More »


The Split Among Circuit Courts in Compelling Individual Arbitration in Class Actions Continues

Posted on August 24th, by Editor in Counseling & Compliance Training. Comments Off on The Split Among Circuit Courts in Compelling Individual Arbitration in Class Actions Continues

By Pascal Benyamini

Earlier this week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling in Morris v. Ernst & Young and aligned itself with the Seventh Circuit[1] in holding that an employer cannot compel individual arbitration of an employee’s class and collective action claims.

In Morris, Plaintiffs Stephen Morris and Kelly McDaniel (“Plaintiffs”) worked for the accounting firm Ernst & Young. As a condition of their employment, Plaintiffs were required to sign an agreement that the Ninth Circuit determined Plaintiffs could only “(1) pursue legal claims against Ernst & Young exclusively through arbitration and (2) arbitrate only as individuals and in ‘separate proceedings.’” In a relatively surprising move and 2-1 decision, the Ninth Circuit found that the employer violated Sections 7 and 8 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)[2] by “requiring employees to sign an agreement precluding them from bringing, … Read More »


Back to School Update on School-Related Parental Leave

Posted on August 18th, by Editor in Counseling & Compliance Training. Comments Off on Back to School Update on School-Related Parental Leave

By Lynne Anne Anderson

As the summer comes to a close, employees are preparing for their children’s return to school, and will need to attend various school events and activities during the workday.  An increasing number of states now mandate that public and private employers provide unpaid leave for this purpose, including the following states that have laws covering private employers:California – 40 hours (but no more than 8 per month)

District of Columbia – 24 hours

Illinois – 8 hours (no more than 4 on any day, and only when no other type of employee leave is available)

Louisiana – 16 hours

Massachusetts – 24 hours

Minnesota – 16 hours

Nevada – 4 hours

North Carolina – 4 hours

Rhode Island – 10 hours

Vermont – 24 hours (no more than 4 in any 30-day period)

Many of these state laws provide for leave beyond the standard school concert or … Read More »


What Employers Need to Know about the Government’s Recent Scrutiny of Non-Competes

Posted on August 15th, by Editor in Crisis Management. Comments Off on What Employers Need to Know about the Government’s Recent Scrutiny of Non-Competes

By Lawrence J. Del Rossi

For more than 400 years, private businesses have used non-compete agreements in one form or another to protect their legitimate business interests, such as long-standing customer relationships, investment in specialized training, or development of trade secrets. They are commonplace in many employment contracts in a variety of industries ranging from retail, insurance, healthcare, financial services, technology, engineering, and life sciences.  Some state legislatures and courts have curtailed their use in certain industries or professions.  California, for example, prohibits them unless limited exceptions apply.  Cal. Bus. Code §16600.  Most states prohibit them for legal professionals.  Many courts can modify or “blue pencil” them if the restrictions are found to be broader than necessary to protect an employer’s legitimate business interests.

Historically, federal and state agencies have generally stayed out of the mix in terms of regulating or challenging private … Read More »


SEC Charges Another Company for Anti-Whistleblower Provision in Severance Agreements

Posted on August 12th, by Editor in Audits/Due Diligence, Counseling & Compliance Training. Comments Off on SEC Charges Another Company for Anti-Whistleblower Provision in Severance Agreements

By Mary Hansen and Rachel Share

The SEC announced on Wednesday that BlueLinx Holdings Inc. has agreed to pay a $265,000 penalty for including a provision in its severance agreements that required outgoing employees to waive their rights to monetary recovery if they filed a charge or complaint with the SEC or other federal agencies. Press Rel. No. 2016-157. According to the SEC’s order, approximately 160 BlueLinx employees have signed severance agreements that contained the provision since it was added to all of BlueLinx’s severance agreements in or about June 2013.

The provision violates Rule 21F-17 of the Exchange Act, which became effective on August 12, 2011, and prohibits any action to impede an individual from communicating with the SEC about a possible securities law violation. The purpose of the adoption of Rule 21F-17 was “to encourage whistleblowers to report possible violations … Read More »


Massachusetts Joins California and New York with Aggressive Equal Pay Law

Posted on August 4th, by Editor in Fair Pay Act Obligations. Comments Off on Massachusetts Joins California and New York with Aggressive Equal Pay Law

By Lynne A. Anderson

On August 1, Massachusetts added significant teeth to the state’s current equal pay law. The new law, “An Act to Establish Pay Equity,” not only targets compensation decisions, it also affects hiring practices.   As of July 1, 2018, when the new law takes effect, employers cannot ask an applicant to provide his or her prior salary history until after the candidate has successfully negotiated a job offer and compensation package.  This measure is intended to stop the perpetuation of gender pay disparities from one employer to the next.  In addition, employers cannot use an employee’s prior salary history as a legitimate basis to pay a man more than a woman for comparable work.

The definition of comparable work is broad: “work that is substantially similar in that it requires substantially similar skill, effort and responsibility and is performed … Read More »


Spotlight on Fair Pay for Female Law Firm Partners: Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Sedgwick

Posted on August 1st, by Editor in Fair Pay Act Obligations. Comments Off on Spotlight on Fair Pay for Female Law Firm Partners: Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Sedgwick

By Kate S. Gold

Traci Ribeiro’s class action lawsuit against her employer Sedgwick LLP is the latest in a string of lawsuits in the pay equity battle, which has been highlighted in this year’s Presidential election and through the recent EEOC claim filed by the U.S. womens’ soccer team. Ribeiro is a non equity partner who claims that, as one of the firm’s three highest revenue generating partners, she has been denied equity partnership and was subjected to retaliation for filing an EEOC complaint claiming gender discrimination.  She seeks to represent a class of past and present female attorneys in partnership track positions at the firm; her complaint alleges violations of the California Fair Pay Act, Illinois Fair Pay Act, and Federal Equal Pay, as well as gender discrimination and retaliation under the California FEHA, Illinois Human Rights Act, and Title … Read More »




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