California’s New E-Verify Law – Get It Right or Pay the Price

Under a new California law that took effect on January 1, 2016, California employers may face civil penalties of up to $10,000 for misusing E-Verify, the federal electronic employment verification system some employers use to verify employment eligibility of newly hired employees.

The new E-Verify law makes it more difficult for some California employers to comply with both federal and state laws relating to workers’ employment eligibility.

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DOL Says Joint Employment Under FLSA and MSPA Should Be “As Broad As Possible”

On January 20, 2016, the administrator of the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), David Weil, issued an “Administrator’s Interpretation” (AI) regarding the agency’s interpretation of joint employment under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA). The new AI purports to clarify the WHD’s position that joint employment under these statutes “should be defined expansively.” When considered alongside the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB or the Board) controversial decision in Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc., 362 NLRB No. 186 (2015), in which the Board dramatically expanded the definition of “joint employer” under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the AI may be another step in a coordinated federal agency push to expand joint-employer liability under a variety of labor and employment statutes.

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The EEOC Plans To Gather Pay Data

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced on January 29, 2016 its proposed revision to the Employer Information Report (EEO-1) that would obligate businesses with 100 or more employees to annually turn over pay data by gender, race and ethnicity. Although employers will not have to divulge specific pay rate information for individual employees, they would have to report pay bands across 10 different job categories.

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District Court Finds In Mach Mining That The EEOC Did Not Fail To Conciliate

We previously reported on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Mach Mining, LLC v. EEOC, 135 S.Ct. 1645 (2015), wherein the Court held that a court may review the EEOC’s conciliation efforts.

On remand, the EEOC renewed its motion for partial summary judgment on Mach Mining’s failure to conciliate affirmative defense. On January 19, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois granted the motion, finding that the Supreme Court had expressly rejected Mach Mining’s position that it is entitled to receive demand calculations and additional information during the conciliation process. EEOC v. Mach Mining, LLC, No. 11-cv-00879, 2016 BL 13454 (Jan. 19, 2016).

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U.S. Supreme Court Rules That A Settlement Offer To The Individual Plaintiff Cannot Moot A Putative Class Action

On January 20, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, affirming the Ninth Circuit’s decision that a defendant cannot moot a putative class action by offering full relief to the individual plaintiff.

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NLRB Continues To Stand Firm On Its Position That Class Action Waivers Are Unenforceable

In the second half of December 2015, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) issued 16 rulings on the illegality of mandatory arbitration agreements containing class and collective action waivers, even in situations where the agreements allow employees to opt out of, or into, the waiver. The NLRB continues to hold firm that these types of waivers violate the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) because they infringe upon the employees’ protected right to engage in concerted activity—despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s continued favoring of class action waivers, see, e.g., DirecTV, Inc. v. Imburgia, 577 U.S. __, 135 S. Ct. 1547 (2015), and the Fifth Circuit’s express rejection of the NLRB’s position in D.R. Horton, Inc. v. NLRB, 737 F.3d 344 (5th Cir. 2013), and in Murphy Oil USA, Inc. v. NLRB, No. 14-60800, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 18673 (5th Cir. Oct. 26, 2015).

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Business Groups Support VW’s Challenge To NLRB’s Specialty Healthcare Standard

As many in the employer community are aware, late last month the United Auto Workers won the right to represent a group of maintenance employees working at Volkswagen’s auto manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The union, which lost handily in an earlier bid to represent the entire plant, had asked the NLRB to sanction another election, but in a “micro-unit” of only the maintenance employees. To the surprise of many, the Board Regional Director handling the case granted the union’s request. In his view, the micro-unit was allowable under the Board’s controversial Specialty Healthcare standard.

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What New York Employers Need To Know About The Women’s Equality Act

On January 19, 2016, a series of bills in New York commonly known as the Women’s Equality Act will take effect. These laws are intended to help achieve pay equity, strengthen human trafficking laws and protections for domestic violence victims, and end pregnancy discrimination in all workplaces, by, among other things:

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Complying With California’s New Fair Pay Act

Please join us via webinar for a dynamic roundtable discussion with our distinguished panel of experts who will share their thoughts on changes in the law, what steps a company should take to comply with the new law and issues employers should consider as they evaluate their employee compensation.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. PT
(2:00 p.m. ET – 3:00 p.m. ET)

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Narrowing the Definition of a “Supervisor” under the National Labor Relations Act

In 2015 the National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) issued two opinions, Cook Inlet Tug & Barge, Inc. and Buchanan Marine, L.P., each finding that tugboat captains did not qualify as “supervisors” for the purposes of the National Labor Relations Act (the “Act”). These decisions demonstrate a trend in recent Board decisions narrowing the definition of a supervisor.

Under Section 2(11) of the Act, a supervisor must have the authority to perform one of several enumerated functions, including “assigning” or “responsibly directing” employees, using “independent judgment” in the interest of the employer. In 2006, the Board issued three decisions defining these terms. Oakwood Healthcare, 348 NLRB No. 37 (2006); Croft Metals, Inc., 348 NLRB No. 38 (2006); Golden Crest Healthcare Center, 348 NLRB No. 39 (2006).

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