The legal landscape for defining “employers,” “employees,” and “independent contractors” can be quite dynamic, as this past year has illustrated. In January 2021, the Department of Labor issued an employer-friendly independent contractor rule that would have departed from the agency’s typical balancing test, but it formally withdrew this rule in early May with the change in administration. The DOL’s independent contractor rule is intended to provide guidance to employers when determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. For employers, this is an important distinction because the FLSA’s overtime and minimum wage protections apply only to employees, not independent contractors. Because courts and employers sometimes struggle to find this line using the economic realities test and its iterations, the Trump-era independent contractor rule aimed to provide a clearer definition of “employee,” as opposed to “contractor.” The DOL has not yet proposed a new independent contractor test, but employers should be mindful that the Biden administration may potentially announce a new rule on this topic.
Continue Reading Recent Shifts In The Independent Contractor v. Employee Classification Rules

Uber Technologies, Inc. has been sued in a class action lawsuit alleging the company’s use of criminal background checks discriminates against Black and Latinx drivers. The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on April 8, challenges Uber’s “unlawful use of criminal history to discriminate against its drivers in New York City as well as its brazen noncompliance with human rights and fair credit laws.”
Continue Reading Gig Employer Hit with Background Check Class Action

On November 17, 2020 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released proposed updates to its Compliance Manual on Religious Discrimination. The draft revisions are available for public input until December 17, 2020, after which the EEOC will consider the public’s input, make any changes, and publish the finalized Manual.
Continue Reading For the First Time in 12 Years, EEOC Releases Updated Proposals to Compliance Manual on Religious Discrimination

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regularly releases guidance and advice to employers to aid in compliance with applicable workplace discrimination laws. For example, over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the EEOC has frequently issued and updated guidance on how employers can strike the difficult balance between workplace safety and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Continue Reading EEOC Issues Final Rule on Guidance Procedures

While most EEOC enforcement actions are related to individual complaints of discrimination and/or retaliation, so-called “pattern or practice” matters are those in which the EEOC attempts to show that an employer has systematically engaged in discriminatory activities. On September 3, 2020, the EEOC issued an opinion letter clarifying that section 707(a) does not provide a freestanding violation of Title VII, and that claims under section 707(a) are subject to section 706’s pre-suit requirements.
Continue Reading The EEOC Scales Back its Own Enforcement Powers through Clarification of its Interpretation of Pattern or Practice Case Requirements

On April 23, 2020, the EEOC updated its Technical Assistance Questions and Answers, “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws,” to address questions that many employers are struggling with related to employee COVID-19 testing.  The EEOC’s new guidance confirms that employers are authorized to administer COVID-19 tests before allowing employees to enter the workplace, and that doing so does not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Continue Reading EEOC Confirms Employer-Mandated COVID-19 Testing Does Not Violate the ADA

On April 17, 2020 the EEOC updated its’ Technical Assistance Questions and Answers to provide employers with additional guidance interpreting the ADA, Rehabilitation Act, and other EEO Laws in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The EEOC first reminds employers that while these laws continue to apply, employers should still adhere to the ever-changing guidelines and suggestions made by the CDC or state/local health authorities.  With that in mind, the new guidance addresses several topics.
Continue Reading EEOC Updates Guidance Regarding the ADA, Rehabilitation Act, Other EEO Laws and COVID-19

As state unemployment agencies are inundated with new claims, the US DOL recently provided instructions to states for implementing the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program of the CARES Act in its April 10, 2020 guidance.  PEUC allows states to enter into agreements with the Secretary of Labor to pay up to 13 weeks of unemployment benefits to eligible individuals, through December 31, 2020.  We highlight the important takeaways.
Continue Reading DOL Issues Implementation Guidance for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program of CARES Act

On April 10, the Department of Labor published corrections to its regulation on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and fixed an internal inconsistency regarding concurrent use of employer-provided paid time off and paid expanded family medical leave under the Act.
Continue Reading Department of Labor’s Families First Corrections Fix Contradiction on Concurrent Leave