Laws protecting whistleblowers generally afford anti-retaliation protections when employees “step out of their role” to report discrimination and dangerous or illegal activity, but not to employees when they are performing their issue spotting job duties. Employers who understand this distinction are well positioned to manage underperforming employees in sensitive issue-spotting roles such as information technology, compliance, internal audit and even in-house counsel without running afoul of anti-retaliation laws. The Second Circuit Court of Appeal’s recent decision affirming the Southern District of New York’s dismissal of whistleblower retaliation claims in Johnson v. Board of Education Retirement System of City of New York illustrates this distinction.
November 17, 2021, the Department of Labor (“DOL”), National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”), and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) conducted a webinar on Ending Retaliation and Promoting Workers Rights. The webinar is the first component of a “Joint Initiative” devoted to “vigorous enforcement” of laws against retaliation, through closer inter-agency cooperation. The webinar was moderated by EEOC Regional Director Robert Canino and involved over 90 minutes of detailed remarks from Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda, NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo, EEOC Chair Charlotte Burrows and Acting DOL Wage and Hour Division Director Jessica Looman.
The recent Seventh Circuit decision in Halperin v. Richards provides a reminder to ERISA fiduciaries who are also corporate officers (frequently referred to as “dual-hat officers”) that they can be held liable under both ERISA and state tort law for the same underlying acts.
When paper company Appvion Inc. filed for bankruptcy in 2017, the liquidation plan granted Appvion’s creditors the right to pursue state law tort claims against former Appvion executives. Halperin v. Richards concerned state law claims raised by certain creditors against former Appvion executives ...
Part 7 of a series featuring our video Rules of the Road: Return to Work in the Time of COVID-19.
What can jazz teach us about COVID-19? What lessons can we learn from the great masters like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Duke Ellington at this very moment?
As it turns out—a lot.
In a unique way, jazz, a truly American, musical art form, perhaps perfectly embodies this moment. Jazz is about democracy – about different people, from different backgrounds, experiences, ethnicities, coming together – inclusively – to make music and make things happen – to swing. Jazz is about ...
In a recent 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court, in Thole v. U.S. Bank N.A., 590 U.S. __ (2020), held that participants in defined benefit pension plans lack standing to sue plan fiduciaries for allegedly imprudent plan investments where the participants continue to receive their full benefits and no imminent risk that they will cease receiving their full benefits appears.
Defined benefit plans—once the staple of employer-sponsored retirement plans but now a diminishing share of that group—guarantee a monthly payment in retirement using a formula based on years of service and ...
As the COVID-19 state of emergency continues, businesses are implementing and considering a variety of employee-related measures to manage the impact of the crisis. While some businesses may avail themselves of payroll protection programs and loans to maintain the status quo, others may be faced with having to implement reductions-in-force (RIFs), furloughs and layoffs. Added to this, employers may be faced with larger numbers of leaves of absence both because of COVID-19-related health and family care reasons, but also when certain workers have been called to duty. The ...
In the new issue of Take 5, our colleagues examine important and evolving issues confronting owners, operators, and employers in the hospitality industry:
- Avoiding “Perfectly Clear” Successor Status When Acquiring a Property with a Union Workforce Now Requires Greater Vigilance
- Restaurant Manager Misclassification Complaints Highlight Important Defense Strategies for Hospitality Owner/Operators
- Buyer Beware: Purchasing Assets from a Unionized Employer May Come with a Nasty Withdrawal Liability Surprise
Our colleague Daniel J. Green, an Associate at Epstein Becker Green, has a post on the Trade Secrets & Noncompete Blog that will be of interest to many of our readers in the technology industry: “Aggressive New Antitrust Guidance for Human Resources Professionals Threatens Criminal Prosecution for Certain Unlawful Wage Fixing and No Poaching Agreements”
Following up on a string of civil enforcement actions and employee antitrust suits, regarding no-poaching agreements in the technology industry, on October 20, 2016 the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and Federal ...
In August 2015, the National Labor Relations Board (“Board”) issued its decision in Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc., 362 NLRB No. 186 (2015), adopting a new standard for determining whether a company is a joint employer and therefore subject to all of an employer’s legal obligations under the NLRA with respect to the employees of another employer that provides it with services, leased or temporary labor, or the like. Since then, there have been many dire predictions as to how this new test would result in finding businesses to be joint employers of the employees ...
Technology media and telecommunications (“TMT”) industry employers should begin taking steps to mitigate a new litigation risk—reverse discrimination claims. This past year there were a number of news stories regarding the lack of diversity in the technology industry (see, for example, articles in Inc., The Cut, Fusion, The New York Times, and Wired). Numerous advocacy groups pressured TMT employers to focus on increasing workplace diversity in order to eliminate this disparity. As TMT employers continue to defend themselves against these allegations, the ...
Several recent National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or the “Board”) decisions are likely to give further momentum to ongoing union organizing efforts targeting employers in the technology, media and telecommunications industry. Organized labor has already demonstrated that it is interested in actively expanding in this area, both among white collar employees and ancillary workers.
- Most significantly, on August 27, the Board discarded the test it had used for determining whether companies are joint employers for the past 30 years and adopted a new standard that will ...
Our colleagues Brandon C. Ge, Steven M. Swirsky, Daniel J. Green, Lori A. Medley, and Valerie N. Butera (with Theresa E. Thompson, a Summer Associate) contributed to Epstein Becker Green’s recent issue of Take 5 newsletter. In this edition, we address important employment, labor, and workforce management issues in the technology, media, and telecommunications industry:
We recently blogged about recent gender discrimination lawsuits filed against technology industry employers. Following in the wake of these lawsuits have been news stories regarding the lack of diversity in the technology industry. The scale of the statistical disparity, (for example, 90% of Twitter’s technical employees are male), creates major litigation risks for companies seeking to remedy this disparity. Technology companies eager to accept social responsibility for correcting these discrepancies must be careful not to inadvertently invite legal liability for ...
Our colleagues Steven M. Swirsky and Daniel J. Green at Epstein Becker Green published an article on Management Memo that will be of interest to our Technology Employment Law subscribers: “Teamsters and Technology: Developing Labor Issues for Technology Industry Employers.”
Following is an excerpt:
Employers in the Technology Media and Telecommunications (“TMT”) industries have generally not thought that union organizing was an issue that affected their businesses and workforces. Recent developments suggest that this is no longer the case.
These industries have ...
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