Pennsylvania Federal Court Rules that Drivers are Properly Classified as Independent Contractors

In Razak v. Uber Technologies, Inc., a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled last week that drivers for UberBLACK, the company’s higher-end limousine service, are properly classified as independent contractors. In granting Uber’s motion for summary judgment, this court was the first federal court to determine whether drivers for UberBLACK are employees or independent contractors under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and similar Pennsylvania state laws.

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Marijuana in the Golden State: California Lawmakers Seek to Protect Medical-Marijuana Users in the Workplace

Although California legalized medical marijuana use in 1996 and recreational use in 2016, California employers have always been free to maintain zero-tolerance policies against all users. That could change soon as a result of Assembly Bill 2069 (“AB 2069”), which would amend the California Fair Employment and Housing Act to create a new class of protected persons: medical marijuana cardholders.

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Reliance on Salary History No Defense to Pay Disparity Under Equal Pay Act

Just in time for Equal Pay Day (April 10), in its en banc opinion in Rizo v. Yovino, Fresno County Superintendent of Schools, the Ninth Circuit held earlier this week that prior salary alone, or in combination with other factors, cannot justify a wage differential between male and female employees under the Equal Pay Act (“EPA”). In reaching this holding, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of summary judgment to Fresno County and overruled a prior Ninth Circuit decision, Kouba v. Allstate Insurance Co., 691 F. 2d 873 (9th Cir. 1982). The court in Rizo also took a view of available EPA affirmative defenses which conflicts with the views held by other circuits and the EEOC.

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New Jersey Expands Protections to Nursing Mothers

The New Jersey Legislature recently passed a bill amending the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”) to include breastfeeding as a protected category. The law took effect immediately after it was signed into law by former Governor Christie on January 8, 2018.

Breastfeeding Protections under the NJLAD

Under the amended law, upon request, employers must provide nursing mothers with reasonable breaks during the workday and a suitable private location (other than a toilet stall) close to the employee’s work area to express breast milk for her infant child as a reasonable accommodation, unless doing so would cause an undue hardship on the employer’s business operations. In determining whether an accommodation would impose an undue hardship, the following factors are to be considered:

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NLRB Interest Rate Will Increase to Five Percent

Board awards in unfair labor practice cases are usually premised in a make-whole remedy which, in the case of back-pay awards for example, include interest. Interest has been part of the remedy for decades. More recently, daily compound interest became the rule. The Board can reset the rate quarterly using the short-term federal rate plus three percent, which is the rate the IRS uses for underpayment of taxes. For several years, the rate was three or four percent, given the state of the economy. Interest awards can really add up, especially when a make-whole remedy impacts a large workforce and interest accrues over the many  years it can take for final decision in a ULP case. As such, interest is normally a factor in litigation and settlement of these cases.

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New York City Employers Must Provide Temporary Work Schedule Changes to Employees for “Personal Events” Beginning July 18, 2018

On January 19, 2018, New York City adopted Int. 1399-A (“Law”) which requires employers to provide most city-based employees with up to two temporary schedule changes per calendar year due to a “personal event.” The Law provides employers and employees a defined process about how to discuss schedule change requests, and also provides measures to protect employees from retaliation as a result of making a request for a temporary schedule change for a personal event. This Law becomes effective on July 18, 2018.

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