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Informed Employer Briefing: SCOTUS Arbitration Decisions Playing out in Lower Courts Informed Employer Briefing: SCOTUS Arbitration Decisions Playing out in Lower Courts

Informed Employer Briefing: SCOTUS Arbitration Decisions Playing out in Lower Courts

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High Court Could Deliver Severe Blow to Organized Labor
The U.S. Supreme Court's conservative wing cast doubt on the constitutionality of requirements in more than 20 states that public-sector workers pay fees to the union that represents them. Hearing arguments in Washington, pivotal justices voiced support for California teachers who contend their First Amendments rights are being violated.
(Source: Bloomberg, 2016-01-11) Read the full article
House Approves Bill Protecting Unpaid Federal Interns From Bias
The House of Representatives passed a bill that would extend new protections to unpaid interns in the federal government, a vote that bodes well for the legislation's chances in the Senate. Current law does not acknowledge unpaid interns as employees, leaving them without remedies if they encounter discrimination based on race, sex, age or religion, but the proposed legislation would allow unpaid interns to sue the government in federal court if their rights were violated.
(Source: The Huffington Post, 2016-01-11) Read the full article
Obama Proposes Wage Insurance to Support Job Seekers' Income
U.S. President Barack Obama laid out a plan to help support the income of workers who lose their jobs and end up in lower paying positions, as part of a push to get unemployed Americans back to work. The proposal would offer experienced workers who now make less than $50,000 a form of wage insurance, allowing them to replace half of their lost pay.
(Source: Reuters, 2016-01-17) Read the full article
2016 Could Be Big Year for Paid Family Leave, But Issues Remain
This year is shaping up to be a big one for paid family leave. Nationally, some presidential candidates -- the Democrats and at least one Republican, Marco Rubio -- are making it a campaign issue.
(Source: The New York Times, 2016-01-07) Read the full article
ACA Will Require More Small Businesses to Offer Coverage
The Affordable Care Act has brought a lot of change to small business owners, and many can expect more of that in 2016. For the new year, more small business owners will have to offer coverage, while all small- and medium-sized enterprises will see an uptick in the paperwork required to stay in compliance.
(Source: U.S. News & World Report, 2016-01-06) Read the full article
Companies Require Wellness Program Participation or Deny Coverage
Over the last few years, wellness programs have become a popular way for companies to try to curb rising health-care costs. But now companies have gone a step further, denying health care entirely to those who don't participate.
(Source: Bloomberg, 2016-01-15) Read the full article
Incentivizing Obese Workers to Shed Pounds Doesn't Work
Promising workers lower health insurance premiums for losing weight did nothing to help them take off the pounds, a recent study found. At the end of a year, obese workers had lost less than 1.5 pounds on average, statistically no different from the minute average gain of a tenth of a pound for workers who weren't offered a financial incentive to lose weight.
(Source: Kaiser Health News, 2016-01-08) Read the full article
Companies Beginning to Offer Workers Lump Sum for Serious Illness
Insurance policies that pay a lump sum if workers get cancer or another serious illness are being offered in growing numbers by employers. Companies say they want to help protect their workers against the financial pain of increasingly high deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs.
(Source: Watertown Daily Times, 2016-01-17) Read the full article
More Companies Offering to Help Workers Pay Off Student Loans
Employers are discovering that making it easier for workers to pay off their student loans helps attract -- and keep -- a happy workforce. More and more companies are helping workers refinance their debts at better rates, giving employees extra cash for loan payments, or even paying their workers' lenders directly.
(Source: ABC News, 2016-01-13) Read the full article
SCOTUS Arbitration Decisions Playing out in Lower Courts

James E. Davidson

Over the past several years, the United States Supreme Court has been resolute in upholding the validity of employment arbitration agreements. The effects of SCOTUS’ arbitration decisions are now playing out in lower federal courts and in state courts across the country.

Of course, class action attorneys have attempted to find loopholes enabling them to avoid arbitration.  One example is the Iskanian litigation in California.  On June 24, 2014, the California Supreme Court decided Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC.  Mr. Iskanian was a truck driver employed by CLS who asserted claims for unpaid overtime and failure to provide meal and rest breaks as required under California law.

Read the full article here.


The EEOC's Use of "Pattern or Practice of Resistance" Enforcement Mechanism Hits a Temporary Snag

Charles Bush

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has recently advanced a long-standing but seldom used enforcement approach found under Section 707(a) of the Civil Rights Act. Section 707(a) allows the Agency to bring actions challenging a "pattern or practice of resistance" to the full enjoyment of Title VII rights, rather than an actual "pattern or practice of discrimination." This mechanism has the potential to serve as a new EEOC litigation tool as the EEOC can bolster its enforcement strategy with alleged employer resistance to rights under Title VII, in addition to actual acts of employment discrimination. The EEOC has recently advanced such arguments in cases where employers have required their employees to agree to submit any employment-related claims to binding arbitration (see EEOC v. Doherty Enterprises, Inc., 2015 WL 5118067 (S.D. Fla. Sept. 1, 2015)), and in cases where employers use standard covenant not to sue language in separation agreements (see EEOC v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., 70 F. Supp. 3d 937 (N.D. Ill. 2014)).

Read the full article here.


Interviewing Foreign Candidates? H-1B Cap Season is Underway Now!

On April 1, 2016, USCIS will begin accepting petitions for H-1B temporary workers for Fiscal Year 2017.  If approved, H-1B status will become effective no earlier than October 1, 2016.  There are only 65,000 new H-1B visas available each fiscal year (with an additional 20,000 reserved for foreign nationals with a U.S. master's degree or higher).  Employers who intend to employ foreign professionals should initiate H-1B petition processing now.  Last year, USCIS received approximately 233,000 H-1B petitions, and the year before that, 172,500 petitions were received.  For fiscal year 2017, total H-1B petitions could approach 300,000.  When this occurs, a computer-generated "lottery" is used to select petitions against the numerical cap.  As in years past, the cap likely will be exhausted in the first week of available filing.

Read the full article here.


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