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Informed Employer: February 28, 2018 Informed Employer: February 28, 2018

Informed Employer: February 28, 2018

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In the news

High Court Rejects Broader Protections for Whistleblowers
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to broaden protections for corporate insiders who call out misconduct, ruling they must take claims of wrongdoing to the Securities and Exchange Commission in order to be shielded against retaliation. The justices ruled 9-0 in favor of Digital Realty Trust Inc., throwing out a lawsuit brought against the California-based real estate trust by a fired former employee who had reported alleged wrongdoing only internally and not to the SEC.
(Source: Reuters, 2018-02-21) Read the full article
High Court to Hear Arguments in Collective Bargaining Lawsuit
The Supreme Court will hear arguments about whether the government employees who represented the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, must pay the union a fee for representing them in collective bargaining. Conservative groups, supported by the Trump administration, say the First Amendment bars forcing government workers from having to pay anything, and the court has sent strong signals that it agrees with that argument.
(Source: The New York Times, 2018-02-22) Read the full article
Appeals Court Rules Law Banning Sex Bias Covers Gay Employees
The LGBT community and its corporate supporters won a legal victory over the Trump administration as a federal appeals court ruled that firing workers over their sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination. The landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars workplace discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin and religion, covers lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees who complain that they're discriminated against due to sexual preference, the federal appeals court in Manhattan said.
(Source: Bloomberg, 2018-02-26) Read the full article
U.S. AGs Form Coalition to End Sexual Harassment Forced Arbitration
Every single state attorney general -- a majority of whom are Republican -- signed a letter to congressional leaders demanding that sexual harassment victims get their day in court. The attorneys general want Congress to end the practice of forcing sexual harassment cases into mandatory arbitration in secret private courtrooms outside the public justice system.
(Source: The Huffington Post, 2018-02-13) Read the full article
Small Businesses Update Dating Policies Amid Harassment Scandals
It happens in so many workplaces -- two colleagues begin a romantic relationship, but a heightened awareness about sexual harassment means small business owners can get more anxious when employees start dating. Some owners have created or updated their policies on dating and sexual harassment, and they're making sure staffers know the rules and to speak up if they feel harassed.
(Source: U.S. News & World Report, 2018-02-15) Read the full article
Trump, Congress to Take on Implications of 'Gig Economy' in 2018
The Trump administration and Congress will be tackling the issue of the "gig economy" this year, looking into exactly how workers for companies such as Uber and Lyft should be treated under federal workplace law. The big issue: When do workers for those companies stop being contractors and become employees?
(Source: Washington Examiner, 2018-02-13) Read the full article
New Policy Makes it More Difficult to Get Approved for H-1B Visa
A new policy announced by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is likely to intensify the scrutiny involved in the process of issuing the much sought-after H-1B visas. Primarily, this change will ensure that this category of visas will be granted only if an applicant is filling a specific specialty role.
(Source: Quartz, 2018-02-23) Read the full article
Small Companies Don't Have Ability to Pay Caregivers for Time Off
Paid time off to care for ill family members is a benefit many employees wish for, but it’s hard to come by — especially at very small companies with limited financial resources. But a quarter-century after the Family and Medical Leave Act gave employees at larger businesses up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off for their medical needs or those of family members, a growing movement aims to help staffers at small businesses get paid leave.
(Source: The Associated Press, 2018-02-21) Read the full article
To Ask or Not to Ask? That is the Question!

Cathy Strauss
Catherine Strauss

State and local bans on salary questions to job applicants are gaining momentum. Often citing wage gaps between men and women, several cities and states have enacted laws prohibiting employers from asking job applicants their current or historical salaries.

Proponents argue that greater pay equity results from employers making salary offers based on job requirements and market ranges, rather than past salaries. If an applicant’s current salary is under-market, salary question bans may correct pay inequities, or so the theory goes.

Regardless of whether these laws will have the intended impact, they are here to stay in numerous states and territories, including California, Delaware, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Puerto Rico. In addition, New York City and Philadelphia have passed comprehensive legislation, while New Orleans and Pittsburgh have enacted limited versions relating to city hiring.

Read more here.


Another Change to H-1B Visa Status

Jenifer Brown Christl Glier Kristin Kelley
Jenifer Brown, Christl Glier and Kristin Kelley

Just in time for the kick-off of the Fiscal Year 2019 H-1B cap season, USCIS has released a new memorandum intended to more tightly control the approvability of H-1B petitions. While the memo is targeted at petitions seeking placement of H-1B workers at third-party worksites, the memo contains language regarding itinerary requirements that could be applied more broadly to all H-1B petitions where the worker performs service at more than one location.

Read more here.


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