Employment Law This Week: Paid Parental Leave, NLRB’s Top Issues, Health History Forms, Final Fiduciary Rule

Episode 23: Week of April 18, 2016

We invite you to view Employment Law This Week - a weekly rundown of the latest news in the field, brought to you by Epstein Becker Green. We look at the latest trends, important court decisions, and new developments that could impact your work. Join us every Monday for a new five-minute episode! Read the firm's press release here and subscribe for updates.

This week’s stories include ...

(1) San Francisco and New York State Approve Landmark Legislation on Paid Parental Leave

Our top story: San Francisco and New York State break new ground on paid parental leave. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a city ordinance requiring businesses with more than 50 employees in San Francisco to give new parents six weeks off, fully paid, starting in 2017. Once Mayor Ed Lee signs the ordinance, San Francisco will become the first city in the United States to require full pay for new mothers and fathers during their time off. Meanwhile, New York State has passed the most comprehensive paid parental leave policy in the country. New York State’s legislation mandates 12 weeks of partially paid leave for all new parents by 2021. For more on New York’s law, click here.

(2) NLRB General Counsel Reveals Top Issues in Recent Memo

A National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) memo outlines top enforcement priorities for 2016. The General Counsel for the NLRB has issued an internal memo that offers employers insight into his office’s initiatives and emphasis this year. The memo describes the types of cases that must be submitted to the Division of Advice for review rather than decided by the Regional Office, where the charge was filed. Among other priorities, the General Counsel wants to expand employees’ rights to organize and communicate using company resources, cut back on employer rights in bargaining, and grant significant new rights to nonunion employees. Steve Swirsky, from Epstein Becker Green, has more.

(3) EEOC Fights Medical Information Requirement in Job Applications

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) targets health history forms in job applications. The EEOC has brought suit against Grisham Farm Products for requiring job applicants to complete a three-page health history. When a recent applicant refused to answer the questions on the form because he would have been forced to reveal a disability, he was told that he would not be considered for the job. The EEOC has filed suit against the company for violating Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act with its health form requirement. The agency also alleges that this is a violation of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), which bars employers from requesting or requiring genetic information from applicants.

(4) DOL Releases Softer Final Fiduciary Rule

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) softens its final fiduciary rule for retirement advisors. The DOL has released its long-awaited final fiduciary rule, with some notable changes after the comment period. The new regulation still requires brokers for individual retirement accounts to act in their clients' best interests and expands the definition of who qualifies as an investment advice fiduciary. But in the final rule, the DOL has made some concessions to opponents of the regulation. These adjustments include a simplification of the "best interest contract exemption" and a grandfather provision that prevents the new standard from applying to recommendations made before the rule goes into effect. For more information on the final fiduciary rule, click here.

(5) In-House Tip of the Week

Brian Rauch, General Counsel for Harvard Maintenance, shares some advice on dealing with unions around the country.

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