Diana Uhimov, April 20, 2015. After an initial denial, a New York federal judge for the Southern District of New York granted permission last week to a group of former Gawker Media LLC interns’ to notify potential class members of a proposed action through social media, namely Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  The judge limited the approval by finding that “friending” class members on Facebook is too extreme.  The interns brought the proposed collective action, Mark et al. v. Gawker Media LLC et al., in 2013 under the Fair…

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By Diana Uhimov, March 18, 2015. The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard argument in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission brought suit against Abercrombie over its refusal to hire a Muslim teen, Samantha Elauf. Although she scored highly in her interview for a sales associate position with the retailer, she was not hired because she wore a black hijab—a Muslim headscarf she has worn since the age of 13. When the interviewer consulted with a manager about the headscarf, she gave Elauf a low score in…

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By: Megan J. Muoio, March 9, 2015 The first quarter of 2015 has already seen a great deal of activity in the area of class action lawsuits brought by plaintiffs suing their employers under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Three recent cases demonstrate the difficulties plaintiffs have faced under the collective action certification standard of the FLSA, which requires plaintiffs who opt in to the collective action to demonstrate they are similarly situated. Although there is no statutory test in the FLSA for determining whether plaintiffs are…

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Paula Lopez, February 20, 2015. It is important for employers to always implement proper policies as a tool for staving off litigation.  While doing so employers should understand that the statements contained in their policies are binding on them in the same manner that they would be on their employees.  Therefore, they should take the proper steps to ensure that their policies accurately reflect the state of the law so as to not expose themselves to legal liability that otherwise could be avoided. A Michigan employer learned this…

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Diana Uhimov, February 13, 2015. Workplace relationships may be initiated at any time of the year, but the romantic theme of Valentine’s Day can lead to inappropriate behavior that employees might not otherwise engage in.  That makes February an opportune time for companies to reevaluate their policies on office romance and harassment, and to remind employees of the rules. A recent survey by Career Builder found that 37% of workers have dated a coworker.  But when intraoffice relationships sour, employers can be subjected to legal claims of discrimination…

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By: Megan J. Muoio, February 6, 2015 As ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft expand across the United States, many employment law scholars are carefully watching two cases in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Both cases, O’Connor v. Uber Technologies Inc. and Cotter v. Lyft Inc., are wage-and-hour class action lawsuits in which drivers have challenged the companies’ classification of them as independent contractors rather than employees. Although the class action plaintiffs have sought to represent all Uber and Lyft drivers…

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Diana Uhimov, January 14, 2015. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied review of the Sixth Circuit’s holding in Kalamazoo County Road Commission v. Deleon, permitting employees to bring an action for workplace discrimination after being given a position that the employee had actually pursued. The suit was brought by Robert Deleon, a 53-year-old Mexican-American man who had worked for the Kalamazoo County Road Commission for 25 years. Deleon applied for a vacant position that involved working in an office located in a garage with diesel fumes, but the job…

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Nicholas Fortuna, December 23, 2014 On December 10, 2014, in the matter of Purple Communications, Inc. a divided National Labor Relations Board held that workers have a statutory right to use an employer’s email system to engage in discussions about the terms and conditions of their employment (National Labor Relations Act, Section 7 rights) while on nonworking time. Section 7 of the NLRA grants employees the right to communicate about the terms and conditions of employment for the purpose of “collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.”…

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Diana Uhimov, November 5, 2014. On Oct. 9, the Second Circuit sided with Fujifilm Medical Systems USA Inc. in Weber v. Fujifilm Medical Systems USA Inc., et al., an employee discrimination case brought by John J. Weber, former executive vice president. Weber alleged he was fired because he was not Japanese, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act’s prohibition on discrimination in employment based on race and national origin. The court ruled that Fujifilm could use “after-acquired” evidence, or evidence of the employee’s misconduct during the period…

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By: Megan J. Muoio, October 8, 2014 The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) continued its recent aggressive advocacy on behalf of employees by filing suit against two employers, claiming that the employers terminated employees because they were transgender. The suits are the first lawsuits ever filed by the EEOC alleging sex discrimination against transgender individuals under Title VII of the Civil Rights Action of 1964. These lawsuits comport with the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan for 2012, which expressly seeks to expand lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender coverage under…

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