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Employment Archives

Second Circuit Decides Title VII Prohibits Sexual Orientation Discrimination - Is a Supreme Court Showdown Next?

On February 26, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York issued its en banc decision in Zarda v. Altitude Express, 883 F.3d 100 (2nd Cir. 2018), holding that Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sexual orientation. Altitude Express terminated Donald Zarda, a Long Island sky-diving instructor, in 2010. As Mr. Zarda prepared for a tandem sky-dive with a female student, he told her that he was "100 percent gay," and the student's boyfriend later complained to Altitude Express, which then terminated Mr. Zarda's employment. Mr. Zarda commenced a lawsuit in the federal U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, asserting that his firing violated Title VII.

Sex Harassment in the News and Employer's Obligations

Sex harassment has filled the news media for several weeks with accounts of misdeeds of Hollywood producers, actors, congressmen, senate candidates, media personalities and, close to our home, the resignations of legislative members and the apologies of Senator Franken.

Are Professional Football Players Protests Protected by Minnesota State or Federal Law?

With President Trump's announcement to fire the "SOBs" who kneel in disrespect to the flag and national anthem, the whole NFL protest has been the subject of discussion in our office. This brought up the question of whether firing the "SOBs" would be permissible, or retaliation under some law.

EMPLOYERS BEWARE: 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Finds Workplace Recording Policy is Unlawful

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently became the second federal appeals court to hold an employer's policy prohibiting photographing and recording in the workplace violates the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA"). The Court held unlawful the employer's policy that prohibited all "photography and audio or video recording in the workplace" without prior permission from a manager, human resources, or the employer's legal department. (T-Mobile USA, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board).1

Friedlander clarifies Minnesota Whistleblower Law

The Minnesota Supreme Court, on August 9, 2017, answered a question that has plagued Minnesota employment lawyers for four years. Prior to August 9, 2017, an employee seeking to "blow the whistle" on the employer's practices arguably had to demonstrate, as part of the employee's "good faith" report, that the employee made the report for the "purpose of exposing an illegality." I say arguably, because in 2013, the Minnesota Legislature had ostensibly removed this obligation when it codified a definition of "good faith" in the Minnesota Whistleblower Act. Despite this 2013 amendment, which most practitioners recognized significantly broadened the law in favor of whistleblowers, some courts stubbornly continued to apply the former court-created definition of "good faith." In Friedlander v. Edwards Life Sciences, LLC, the Minnesota Supreme Court finally put that issue to rest by officially holding that the "purpose of exposing an illegality" is no longer a part of an employee's burden of proof.

MINNEAPOLIS AND ST. PAUL EMPLOYERS: ARE YOU READY TO IMPLEMENT THE SICK AND SAFE TIME ORDINANCES EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2017?

The Minnesota legislature did not pass a bill to preempt the Minneapolis and St. Paul ordinances resulting in the respective paid sick and safe time ordinances becoming effective on July 1, 2017. Employers should be planning to implement paid sick and safe leave policies and practices.

Lessons To Be Learned For Employees And Employers Alike In Viral Blog Post On Sexual Harassment At Uber

A couple of weeks ago, a blog post by a former female engineer at Uber went viral, caught the company a whole lot of negative press and precipitated an investigation involving former Attorney General Eric Holder.

Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order 13673 Limps Into 2017

On July 31, 2014, President Obama signed the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order 13673 ("EO"). EO 13673 requires federal contractors and subcontractors bidding on contracts and subcontracts in excess of $500,000 to disclose any violations they have incurred under 14 different federal workplace laws (and their state-law equivalents) in the three years preceding their bid. EO 13673, which has also been referred to as the "Blacklisting" EO, also prohibits arbitration agreements relating to claims of Title VII violations or sexual assault, and requires that certain pay information be given to employees and independent contractors. On August 25, 2016, the Rules implementing the EO were published. Prime contractors had a deadline of October 26, 2016 to comply with those requirements, while subcontractors are to comply starting on October 25, 2017.

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