Title VII Prohibits Employment Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation – So Says the 7th Circuit

On Tuesday, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals became the first federal circuit court of appeals to decide that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits workplace discrimination based on an employee’s “sexual orientation.”  In Hively v. Ivy Technical Community College of Indiana, the Court ruled 8 to 3 that Title VII’s prohibition of employment discrimination based on “sex” includes a person’s “sexual orientation.”  The Seventh Circuit’s ruling, while consistent with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s position, is in conflict with every other federal circuit court of appeal which has addressed the issue.  Continue reading

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On Second Thought, DOL Proposes 60-Day Delay to Fiduciary Rule Applicability Date

On March 1, 2017, the Department of Labor’s (DOL) issued a proposed rule to extend the Fiduciary Rule applicability date by 60 days. The current applicability dates for the Fiduciary Duty Rule and prohibited transaction exemptions are set for April 10, 2017.  The extension would move the applicability dates to June 9, 2017. Continue reading

Supreme Court Upholds Decision to Vacate NLRB Order Due to Improper Appointment of NLRB General Counsel

On March 21, 2017, the Supreme Court upheld an August 2015 opinion by the D.C. Circuit under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act holding that former acting National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Lafe Solomon improperly served as acting general counsel while awaiting confirmation from the U.S. Senate to a permanent appointment. NLRB v. SW General, Inc., Slip Op. 15-1251 (Mar. 21, 2017). Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion for the majority, which was joined by Justices Kennedy, Thomas, Breyer, Alito, and Kagan. Continue reading

Ohio GOP Bill Would Give Counties, Cities Option on Paying Prevailing Wages

Ohio’s counties and cities would have the ability to decide whether they want to pay state-mandated prevailing wages on taxpayer-funded projects, or allow contractors to bid on projects without such requirements, under a bill expected to be introduced in the General Assembly this week.

State Sen. Matt Huffman (R-Lima), who is sponsoring the bill, said that local governments could save money by paying market-rate wages rather than the prevailing wage, which is set by the Ohio Commerce Director and establishes the minimum hourly wage as well as benefits that workers may be paid, based on their trade and the location of the job. Continue reading

“Right-to-Work” Momentum Building in 2017

In the early months of 2017, right-to-work legislation continues to garner significant attention as a number of states explore legislation. In early January, Kentucky passed legislation prohibiting employers from entering agreements that make union membership and the payment of union dues a condition of keeping or maintaining employment. Missouri followed suit one month later on February 6 by passing its own similar legislation, thereby becoming the 28th “right-to-work” state. In addition to making it illegal to condition employment on the payment of dues to a union, both laws included a grandfather clause protecting existing contracts negotiated before the laws become effective. Additionally, right-to-work legislation has passed the Senate in New Hampshire and is set for a vote in the state’s House of Representatives. On February 9, the House Labor Committee recommended voting against passage of the bill, which will see a vote of the full chamber next week. Governor Chris Sununu supports right-to-work legislation. The proposed legislation would make New Hampshire the first right-to-work state in the Northeast. Continue reading

Trump Administration Freeze on Regulations

On January 20, 2017, President Trump took a step to fulfill his campaign promise to reduce regulations on businesses when his Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, directed federal agencies to freeze all pending regulations. Although similar moves are common for incoming administrations, the amount of contentious employment-related regulations pending either before federal courts or awaiting effective dates makes this freeze an important consideration for employers. Continue reading

New Final Claims Regulations Regarding Disability-Related Claims Has Been Issued by DOL

On December 16, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published a final rule altering the claims procedure regulations for ERISA plans providing disability benefits (the “Final Rule”).  The regulations, which finalize proposed regulations issued in November 2015, amend the existing DOL claims procedure regulations related to any ERISA disability benefit claim, whether the claim arises under a welfare plan (e.g., a long-term or short-term disability plan), or a qualified retirement plan. Continue reading

Governor Kasich Signs Bill Prohibiting Ohio Employers From Banning Employees From Bringing Firearms On Company Property

On Monday, December 19, 2016, Governor John Kasich signed Ohio Senate Bill 199 into law, which allows concealed carry permit holders to store their firearms in their vehicles while parked in their employers’ parking lots while at work.  Additionally, the new law incorporates key pieces of House Bill 48, which expands the types of locations where permit holders can carry their weapons, including daycare centers and college and university campuses, but only if the permit holders have been authorized to do so by the applicable organization. Continue reading

President Obama’s Latest Executive Order: Required Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors

By President Obama’s September 7, 2016 Executive Order, federal contractors and subcontractors will now be required to provide paid sick leave to their employees beginning on January 1, 2017.  The Department of Labor (DOL) published its Final Rule necessary to implement the Executive Order on September 30, 2016. Continue reading