Employment Law This Week: Constructive Discharge Claims, Class Waivers, Hiring Bias, Electronic Record-Keeping Rule, Equal PayEpisode 29: Week of June 6, 2016 June 6, 2016
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This week’s stories include ...
(1) High Court Says Resignation Starts Clock for Constructive Discharge Claims
Our top story: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the clock for constructive discharge claims starts with resignation, resolving a circuit split on the issue. An employee for the U.S. Postal Service filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charge alleging constructive discharge 41 days after he submitted his resignation but 96 days after the last allegedly discriminatory act. A federal civil servant must contact the EEOC within 45 days of the “matter alleged to be discriminatory.” The lower court dismissed the employee’s claim, but the Supreme Court reversed this decision, ruling that the clock for constructive discharge claims begins when an employee gives notice of resignation, not after the employer's last act of bias. Lauren Malanga Casey, from Epstein Becker Green, has more. Bonus: Watch the extended interview here.
(2) Seventh Circuit Creates Split on Class Waivers
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has joined the National Labor Relations Board in finding that arbitration agreements containing class action waivers violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). At issue is a collective and class action by employees of Epic Systems about overtime pay. The company was seeking to dismiss the case based on a mandatory arbitration agreement that waived an employee’s right to participate in a collective or class action. Unlike the Fifth Circuit, the Seventh Circuit found that a class-action waiver like this one violates the NLRA and, because the contract is unlawful, its enforcement is not required by the Federal Arbitration Act. The Seventh Circuit’s decision creates a split in the federal circuits that means that the U.S. Supreme Court will likely weigh in on the issue. For more information, click here.
(3) DOL Sues Pilgrim’s Pride Over Hiring Bias
The Department of Labor (DOL) is suing Pilgrim’s Pride, the world’s second-largest chicken producer, for discrimination against female, African-American, and white job applicants at the company's Mount Pleasant facility. The DOL is looking to cancel the company’s federal contracts and prevent future government contracts until the hiring practices are corrected. Pilgrim’s Pride is arguing that the suit relies on 10-year-old data and points to the fact that no applicants have filed complaints about the company’s hiring practices in the last 11 years.
(4) OSHA Publishes New Electronic Record-Keeping Rule
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published its long-awaited electronic record-keeping rule. Employers with 250 or more employees will now be required to submit work-related injury and illness information electronically. The agency intends to use a computer program to scrub personal identifiers and then publish the records in a searchable database on OSHA’s website. The rule also includes additional anti-retaliation protections for employees reporting injuries or illnesses at work. The new requirements will be phased in, starting on July 1, 2017. For more on this story, click here.
(5) Maryland Expands Equal Pay
Maryland passed the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act of 2016 (Act). The Act requires equal pay and that employers provide information about promotions or career tracks that they offer. The legislation adds protections for gender identity as well as a new provision increasing employees' rights to discuss wages. Maryland becomes the latest in a series of states on both coasts that have expanded equal pay protections. The new law will take effect on October 1, 2016. For more on this story, click here.
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