The Supreme Court has ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals from being discriminated against in employment. The 6-3 opinion consolidates three cases from the Second, Sixth, and Eleventh Circuits, each of which involved individuals fired from their jobs because of either their sexual orientation or gender identity. Each case called the question: Is discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity a type of prohibited discrimination “because of sex” under Title VII?
On Wednesday, June 5, 2020, the Minnesota Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in Kenneh vs. Homeward Bound, Inc., upholding the “severe or pervasive” standard applied to sexual harassment claims due to hostile work environment under the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA). The standard, adopted from parallel federal Title VII litigation, has been applied to hostile work environment claims under the MHRA for over 30 years. It confines actionable sexual harassment to severe (meaning bad) or pervasive (meaning frequent) conduct that sufficiently alters the conditions of employment.
Saks Fifth Avenue and several luxury designers were recently hit with a nationwide class-action lawsuit regarding their alleged use of no-poach agreements to limit solicitation of retail store employees between Saks and the designers. Employers using similar agreements (written or otherwise) not to hire other companies’ employees should reconsider those agreements in light of this emerging litigation.
Since shelter-in-place and self-isolation orders have become the norm around the country, more employers are utilizing video interview tools in lieu of interviewing candidates in person. These tools allow HR and hiring teams to continue to assess talent with little interruption. But Nilan Johnson Lewis labor and employment attorney Mark Girouard urges companies to keep certain legal requirements in mind before turning on the cameras.
The President declared a national emergency in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic triggering Section 139 of the Internal Revenue Code. Thus, disaster assistance/relief payments are not taxable to the recipients if they meet certain requirements.
The Department of Labor has started issuing interpretive guidance on the FFCRA, which provides for paid sick and FMLA leave for certain employees.
In response to the enduring COVID-19 pandemic, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed Emergency Executive Order 20-20 on March 25, 2020. The Governor’s order directs Minnesotans to remain at home, work remotely if possible, and limit their outside activities to those that are essential. The order also contains exemptions for businesses that are part of certain “critical sectors,” as defined in the order. Executive Order 20-20 takes effect on Friday, March 27, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. and will remain in effect for two weeks, until Friday, April 10, 2020 at 5:00 p.m., unless extended.
COVID-19 Employment Law Q&A for Hospitality Minnesota: State and Federal Requirements Impacting Employers
NJL’s Joel O’Malley and Courtney Blanchard joined Emily Mauter of Hospitality Minnesota for a Q&A regarding labor and employment issues facing the Minnesota Hospitality Community.
On March 18, 2020, the New York State Assembly passed and Governor Cuomo signed into law a response to the novel coronavirus that provides certain employees sick leave and job protection in the event they are subject to quarantine or isolation due to an order by a public health official. The new law also expands protections to certain employees under the New York Paid Family Leave and the New York disability benefits law to provide some measure of salary continuation during a quarantine or isolation order period.
On March 18, 2020, President Donald Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The new law requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide paid FMLA and paid sick leave related to the current pandemic. We address some of the major requirements of the new law.
Update March 19: via emergency order, California modified notification requirements under the state’s mini-WARN Act retroactive to March 4, 2020, and extending through the duration of the emergency
In the last few days, Minnesota has closed schools, restaurants, theaters, fitness centers, and other gathering places (Emergency Executive Orders 20-02 and 20-04). Minnesota has also started to provide much-needed relief to Minnesota employers and employees facing the immediate loss of work because of COVID-19 (Emergency Executive Order 20-05), including making unemployment benefits immediately accessible rather than requiring a one-week waiting period for out-of-work individuals. Below, we answer some frequently asked questions we have received since these orders were issued.
[UPDATED MARCH 18] Employers Ask: Can We Check All Employees for a Fever Before They Walk in the Door?
As businesses navigate the unprecedented waters surrounding COVID-19, some are considering using thermometers to screen employees and keep the workplace safe. But does the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) allow employers to check employees for a fever at the door? Right now, the answer is “yes.”
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has created significant workplace concerns for U.S. employers. Companies are balancing the need to continue their operations against the desire to keep their employees safe. The Frequently Asked Questions below, and those answered by Courtney Blanchard on this news broadcast, address some of the more difficult employment law-related issues that have arisen as employers confront the coronavirus threat.
The circumstances surrounding COVID-19 (commonly referred to as the “coronavirus”) are unfolding each day. Currently, there is no evidence of widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the U.S. Indeed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise that most American workers are at a low risk of contracting coronavirus absent sustained human-to-human transmission with infected travelers from abroad or other close contact with infected persons. Nonetheless, as individuals take steps to prepare for a potential outbreak, employers must also prepare for the possibility of a workforce impacted by an outbreak of COVID-19. There are several legal issues to consider.
On March 15, the City of Minneapolis issued new guidance in the form of draft FAQs regarding its Sick and Safe Time Ordinance, scheduled to take effect July 1, 2017. The FAQsprovide some insight into the City's interpretation of the ordinance and its enforcement priorities. The City will accept comments about the draft-form FAQs from the public until Saturday, April 15.
As President Trump’s nominee to fill Justice Scalia’s vacancy on the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch—a judge on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals—will be at the center of the class/collective waiver decision.