The United States Supreme Court (“SCOTUS”), in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, has held that there is no constitutional right to abortion, overruling Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood.

Continue Reading Preparing Corporate Messaging in the Wake of <em>Dobbs</em>

As featured in #WorkforceWednesday:  This week, we look at two significant court decisions for employers and bring you a practical update on new bereavement leave rules in Illinois.

Continue Reading <em>Video:</em> SCOTUS Rules on PAGA, Fifth Circuit Rules on COVID-19 Under WARN, Illinois Expands Bereavement Leave – <em>Employment Law This Week</em>

Employment issues to consider while awaiting decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization

The United States Supreme Court (“SCOTUS”) will imminently release its decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, and if the final ruling is consistent with the recently-leaked draft opinion (overturning Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood v Casey), employers may soon need to contend with a variety of novel employment and benefits related issues. Some employers have already begun to consider and plan for a post-Roe workplace. Those who have not would be wise to do so now, to best ensure a well-coordinated and thoughtful approach.

For example, some employers have publicly announced plans to provide expanded healthcare benefits, travel, lodging and other benefits to employees who may seek abortion-related services in states where those medical services will be prohibited or limited.  These benefits raise complex legal issues applicable to employers’ group health plans and fringe benefit plans, including conflicts between federal and state law, federal ERISA preemption and potential employer civil and/or criminal liability for providing these benefits.

Continue Reading Employers, Are You Ready for a Possible Post-Roe Workplace?

Recent New York legislation will afford a class of sexual abuse victims the opportunity to sue their abusers, where they previously would have been time-barred. On May 24, 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law the Adult Survivors Act (“ASA”) (S.66A/A.648A), which creates a one-year lookback window for alleged survivors of sexual assault that occurred when they were over the age of 18 to sue their alleged abusers regardless of when the abuse occurred. The one-year window will begin six months from signing – on November 24, 2022 and will close on November 23, 2023. In 2019, New York extended the statute of limitations to 20 years for adults filing civil lawsuits for  certain enumerated sex offenses. However, that legislation only affected new cases and was not retroactive. In contrast, the ASA permits individuals who were over the age of 18 when any alleged abuse occurred to sue for civil damages regardless of the statute of limitations.

Continue Reading New York’s Enactment of the Adult Survivors Act: What You Need to Know

As featured in #WorkforceWednesdayThis week, we take a look at the federal government’s recently announced focus on mental health.

Continue Reading <em>Video:</em> Federal Focus on Mental Health, FTC and Noncompetes, Gig Work Risks for Hospitals – <em>Employment Law This Week</em>

On May 25, 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) published new Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Guidance. The newly issued Fact Sheet #280 explains when eligible employees may take FMLA leave to address mental health conditions, and new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) offer explanations on how to address various scenarios that employers and employees could face in which use of job-protected leave available under the FMLA would be appropriate.

Reviewing FMLA Basics

Although the FMLA covers public and private employers nationwide, only those private employers who have 50 or more employees for at least 20 workweeks in a year are required to provide their eligible employees with FMLA leave. FMLA leave is unpaid but job-protected, meaning that employees returning from FMLA leave must be restored to their original job or equivalent position. Employees are eligible once they have worked for a covered employer for at least 12 months and logged at least 1,250 hours of work during the period immediately preceding leave, which may be taken for an employee’s own serious health condition or to care for a spouse, child, or parent because of their serious health condition.

Continue Reading U.S. DOL Releases Guidance on FMLA Leave and Mental Health

As reported in a June 3, 2022 press release from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, U.S. Representatives Frank Pallone, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and Senator Roger Wicker released a “discussion draft” of a federal data privacy bill entitled the “American Data Privacy and Protection Act” (the “Draft Bill”), which would impact the data privacy and cybersecurity practices of virtually every business and not-for-profit organization in the United States.

As further described below, the Draft Bill’s highlights include: (i) a comprehensive nationwide data privacy framework; (ii) preemption of state data privacy laws, with some exceptions; (iii) a private right of action after four (4) years, subject to the individual’s prior notice to the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and applicable state attorney general before commencement of lawsuit; (iv) exemptions for covered entities that are in compliance with other federal privacy regimes such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) and Gramm-Leach Bliley Act (“GLBA”) solely with respect to data covered by those statutes; (v) exclusions from Act’s requirements for certain “employee data”; and (vi) a requirement for implementation of reasonable administrative, technical and physical safeguards to protect covered data. The Draft Bill would be enforced by the FTC, and violations treated as unfair or deceptive trade practices under the Federal Trade Commission Act, as well as by state attorneys general.

Continue Reading A Recently-Released “Discussion Draft” of the “American Data Privacy and Protection Act” Provides Insight into Recent Bipartisan Efforts to Pass Nationwide Privacy Law

For the second time this spring, a California statute designed to promote diversity in corporate boardrooms was blocked by a state judge. On May 13, 2022, in Crest v. Padilla I (Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. 19STCV27561) (Crest), Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis ruled that California Corporations Code Section 301.3 (SB 826), which requires publicly listed corporations in California to have women on their boards, violates the Equal Protection Clause of California’s Constitution. California Secretary of State Shirley N. Weber has since announced plans to appeal the decision, stating that “SB 826 was passed not to remove men from the boardroom, but simply to make room for highly qualified women who have been excluded from the corporate board selection process for decades.”

Continue Reading Another California Board Diversity Statute Struck Down in Court: Appeal to Be Filed

As featured in #WorkforceWednesday:  This week, we look at a range of recent anti-harassment and gender equity updates from across the country.

Continue Reading <em>Video:</em> Return-to-Work Behavior Policies, U.S. Soccer’s Landmark Agreement, and Board Diversity in California – <em>Employment Law This Week</em>

Over the past several years, workplace artificial intelligence (“AI”) tools have matured from novel to mainstream.  Whether facilitating attracting, screening, hiring, and onboarding job applicants or charting the career path or promotability of current employees, workplace AI tools will likely become more prevalent.  Legislators and administrative agencies have taken note and are in various stages of examining and regulating these tools, with the primary goal of ensuring that they do not violate federal and state laws prohibiting workplace discrimination.

Continue Reading EEOC Issues Guidance on the ADA & Employer Use of AI Screening Tools