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By Katherine Fechte on June 19, 2017 at 1:35 PM

Image of the Department of Justice (DOJ) buildingIn what is considered an “unprecedented action,” the Department of Justice (DOJ) has switched sides to argue on behalf of employers, and against the position of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), in the U.S. Supreme Court battle over employment agreements mandating arbitration. The DOJ said Friday that it no longer supports workers in the case NLRB v. Murphy Oil, which addresses whether an employment contract that requires the employee to waive his or her right to bring a class-action lawsuit against the employer violates the National Labor Relations Act.

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By Audrie Howard on June 8, 2017 at 9:45 AM

Blocks showing employeesOn June 7, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced the withdrawal of two Obama-era guidance letters that provided guidance on joint employer and independent contractor classifications. The withdrawal of these two guidance documents marks a step toward more flexibility for employers.

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By Camille Toney on May 31, 2017 at 12:10 PM

Someone cutting money in half with scissorsOn May 12, 2017, the Missouri legislature passed a bill banning cities from adopting minimum wage rates higher than the state’s current rate of $7.70/hour. By pushing this bill through the House right before the end of the legislative session, Republican lawmakers sought to reverse St. Louis city’s new $10/hour minimum wage increase, which has been in effect since May 5.

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By Katherine Fechte on May 19, 2017 at 10:30 AM

Image of timesheet showing someone working more than eight hoursThis month, the House of Representatives passed by a vote of 229-197 the Republican-backed overtime bill titled the Working Families Flexibility Act. The act would enable employees to choose taking “comp time” or paid time off work instead of receiving overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours in a week. Proponents of the bill say this will provide increased flexibility for workers who want to spend more time with their families, but critics believe it will weaken federal overtime protections and make it easier for employers to delay paying earned overtime wages.

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By Lauren Harris on May 5, 2017 at 12:15 PM

Image of American ten dollar billSt. Louis city’s new minimum wage law increasing the minimum wage to $10 per hour takes effect May 5, 2017. This comes after a circuit court lifted its injunction that previously blocked the ordinance from taking effect.

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By Lauren Daming on April 13, 2017 at 1:30 PM

Hands protecting group of cardboard cut-out figuresIn late March, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit revived a lawsuit brought against Home Depot by the mother of a pregnant employee who was killed by her supervisor at a non-work event. Reversing the district court’s decision to dismiss the lawsuit as not stating a viable claim under Illinois law, the Court of Appeals found that Home Depot had a duty to protect its employees from the criminal acts of the supervisor, a known sexual harasser.

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By Camille Toney on April 5, 2017 at 12:53 PM

Two arrows facing the left and one arrow facing the left.In a landmark decision released April 4, 2017, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Title VII protection extends to sexual orientation. The Seventh Circuit has become the first appeals court to rule in such a manner, directly contradicting the recent decisions of the Eleventh and Second Circuits.

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By Audrie Howard on March 16, 2017 at 3:15 PM

Sexual orientation discrimination representation, choosing one person out of a crowdThe 11th Circuit Court of Appeals created a likely split in federal courts of appeals this week when it upheld a district court’s dismissal of a complaint alleging harassment on the basis of sexual orientation.

The 11th Circuit’s decision in Jameka Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital rested on the ground that discrimination on the basis of an employee’s sexual orientation is not prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Case No. 15-15234). The plaintiff in this case, a former hospital security guard, alleged that she was harassed because she is a lesbian and because she did not conform to gender norms. As precedent for its decision, the 11th Circuit cited to a 1979 case out of the 5th Circuit (Blum v. Gulf Oil Corp., 597 F.2d 926).

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By Katherine Fechte on March 3, 2017 at 3:52 PM

"Minimum Wage Increase Ahead" on street signThe Missouri Supreme Court on Feb. 28, 2017, upheld St. Louis’ minimum wage ordinance, over the arguments of business groups who claimed the ordinance was preempted by Missouri state law. The decision means the minimum wage in St. Louis will increase to $10 per hour this year and $11 in 2018.

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By Lauren Harris on February 24, 2017 at 3:22 PM

Male and female bathroom sign. With a new year and a new presidential administration, the restroom access debate is a hot topic again.

On Feb. 22, 2017, the Trump administration withdrew the Obama-era directive to public schools that instructed schools to permit transgender students access to restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their expressed gender identity or risk violating Title IX’s prohibition on sex discrimination. The Trump administration clarified that its action in rescinding President Obama’s guidance was not an attack on the LGBTQ community, but an action taken on the premise that this is a state’s rights issue. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos explained in a statement: “We have a responsibility to protect every student in America and ensure that they have the freedom to learn and thrive in a safe and trusted environment…This is an issue best solved at the state and local level. Schools, communities, and families can find — and in many cases have found — solutions that protect all students.”

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