Last week, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) provided clarity regarding issues of remote work and remote learning.

First, the DOL issued guidance regarding employers’ obligation to track the work hours of employees who are working remotely due to COVID-19 or due to an already existing telework or remote work arrangement.

Continue Reading DOL Issues New Guidance Regarding Remote Work and Eligibility for Childcare Leave On a Child’s Remote Learning Days

Three bills currently pending in the California legislature aim to codify presumptions for workers compensation purposes about the work-relatedness of COVID-19. Governor Newsom first addressed this issue in his May 6, 2020 Executive Order No. N-62-20 (“EO 62-20”), which expired on July 5, 2020.  That Executive Order created a rebuttable presumption that any “COVID-19-related illness” arose out of and in the course of the employment for workers compensation purposes, as long as the positive test or diagnosis came within fourteen days of the employee having worked, at an employer’s direction, in a workplace that was not the employee’s home or residence. The “COVID-19-related illness” (which term was undefined) must have been diagnosed by a licensed California physician, and confirmed by testing within thirty days of the diagnosis. EO 62-20 was not limited to first responders, health care workers or other essential workers, but applied broadly to all employees in the state. The broad scope of EO 62-20 may have been justified by its timing; it issued during a “shelter at home” period when it was easier to identify the dates of outside-the-home work.

Continue Reading California Legislature Tackles COVID Workers Compensation Presumptions

This month, the Southern District of Florida declined to certify a nationwide class of Denny’s servers alleging the restaurant chain had violated the minimum wage and tip credit provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) on the basis that the named plaintiff failed to provide enough evidence that the servers were similarly situated.

Plaintiff Lindsay Rafferty worked as a server at a Denny’s restaurant in Akron, Ohio from February 2012 through October 2018.  On November 13, 2019, Rafferty filed a lawsuit against Denny’s alleging that the restaurant paid its employee servers a sub-minimum hour wage under the tip credit provisions of the FLSA and that Denny’s required its servers to perform non-tipped “sidework.”

Continue Reading Proposed Nationwide Class of Denny’s Restaurant Servers Denied Certification in FLSA Action

As most employers are well aware, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex national origin, age, disability or genetic information. After an individual submits a charge of discrimination to the EEOC—and if the parties cannot come to an agreement to settle the charge through the EEOC’s mediation process—the EEOC investigates the allegations to determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe that discrimination has occurred. Generally, the EEOC does not make a finding, and instead issues a “Dismissal and Notice of Rights” (more commonly known as a “right-to-sue” letter) notifying the charging party that they have 90 days to file a discrimination lawsuit, or their right to sue based on the charge will be lost.

Continue Reading As the EEOC Resumes Sending out Right-To-Sue Letters, Employers Should Expect an Increase in Discrimination Lawsuits

On August 3, 2020, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York struck down portions of the DOL’s Final Rule regarding who qualifies for COVID-19 emergency paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“EPSLA”) and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (“EFMLEA”), collectively referred to at the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Of particular importance to employers, the Court invalidated two provisions of the DOL’s Final Rule pertaining to: (1) conditioning leave on the availability of work and (2) the need to obtain employer consent prior to taking leave on an intermittent basis.

Continue Reading Federal Court Strikes Down Portions of Department of Labor’s Final Rule On COVID-19 Leave, Expands Coverage

Hunton Andrews Kurth employment partner, Ryan Glasgow, was named to Benchmark Litigation’s 40 & Under Hot List for the third year in a row.

The publication commemorates the most notable up-and-coming litigation attorneys in the United States. Attorneys named to the 2020 publication were chosen through several phases of research: namely, the review of their recent case work, peer review in which the publication considers how attorneys at peer legal institutions might rank them, and a consideration of client feedback on their performances.

Ryan was listed along with five other Firm partners, Samuel Brown, Joseph Buoni, Courtney Glaser, Leslie Kostyshak and Kerry McGrath, as leading litigation attorneys.

For more information, you can read the Firm Press Release.

On July 27, 2020 the NLRB issued a supplemental decision involving a labor law successor employer, which unilaterally implemented terms and conditions of employment prior to commencing operations. The question presented was whether and to what extent the successor could take further unilateral action, free of the duty to bargain with the union. As discussed below, the Board determined that the applicable standard in such cases is whether the successor’s unilateral action was “reasonably encompassed” by the unilaterally imposed terms.

Continue Reading NLRB Clarifies Successor Employer’s Duty to Bargain Over New Employment Terms

Scott Nelson, a leading labor and employment lawyer with more than two decades of experience handling complex domestic and international employment matters and commercial litigation, has joined Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP as a partner in the firm’s Houston office.  Nelson joins Hunton Andrews Kurth from Seyfarth Shaw LLP, where he was a partner. He also previously served as leader of Baker McKenzie LLP’s domestic U.S. Employment Counseling and Litigation practice.

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The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has joined several sister circuits in holding that courts should consider the amount of “possible” and not “probable” punitive damages in determining the $5 million amount-in-controversy for federal jurisdiction in class action cases.

The case of Greene v. Harley-Davidson, Inc. presented a technical, but unresolved issue for the court – determining the proper burden when the defendant removes a case from state court based on Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”) jurisdiction and relies on punitive damages to establish the $5 million CAFA amount-in-controversy requirement.

Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Says Reasonable Possibility of Punitive Damages Will Suffice for Amount-in-Controversy Under CAFA

The Department of Labor has released a new set of “Questions and Answers” for employers under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”).  The guidance supplements the temporary rule issued by DOL in April; final regulations are still forthcoming.

FFCRA provides (1) paid sick leave and (2) paid family medical leave under certain circumstances created by COVID-19.  We previously posted about these forms of leave in March, April, and June.  See our entries here, here, here, here, and here.

Continue Reading DOL Updates Guidance on Coronavirus Paid Leave Law, Addresses Business Reopenings