2018 was a relatively quiet year in federal employment law developments, but the stage is set for a much more active 2019. Below is a summary of major federal employment law headlines and a look at what employers can expect in 2019.
For Missouri and Illinois employers, a review of 2018 state updates and a look forward at 2019 can be found here.
Employers in Missouri and Illinois saw the passage of several new employment-related laws in 2018. Below is a look at some legislative highlights of 2018 and how they might affect your business in 2019.
In a 5-4 decision written by newcomer Justice Gorsuch, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld employment agreements that require employees to individually arbitrate disputes with their employers.
The May 21, 2018, opinion in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis resolves a trio of cases before the Supreme Court in which employees brought suits against their employers alleging state and federal wage and hour violations. In each situation, the employees had signed contracts agreeing to resolve any employment-related disputes in individualized arbitration. Nevertheless, they sought to litigate their claims in class or collective actions.
A National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge in February struck down two provisions in a severance agreement relating to confidentiality and participation in third-party claims. In Baylor University Medical Center, the administrative law judge (ALJ) concluded that these provisions violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) because they had the effect of restricting protected conduct and were not justified by any countervailing concerns. The ALJ relied on the board’s recent Boeing Company decision that outlined a new framework for reviewing employer policies.
The federal employment law landscape saw some interesting developments in 2017, as well as some anticipated changes that were ultimately halted or delayed. Below is a summary of major federal employment law headlines and a look at what employers can expect in 2018.
For Missouri and Illinois employers specifically, a review of 2017 updates and a look forward at 2018 can be found here.
Employers in Missouri and Illinois saw the passage of several new employment-related laws in 2017. Below is a look at some legislative highlights of 2017 and how they might affect your business in 2018.
Missouri employment laws
A wave of class action lawsuits has been filed alleging violations of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), a statute aimed at regulating how companies use information based on “biometric identifiers” such as fingerprints and retina scans. Violating BIPA can be costly, so employers operating within Illinois should review their business practices to determine whether they are using “biometric information” and plan accordingly.
Over the summer, the Missouri legislature took action to invalidate or cut back two ordinances passed by the city of St. Louis, causing the city’s minimum wage to revert to the statewide minimum of $7.70 per hour and making it unlawful for cities to adopt laws that would interfere with the free-speech rights of any “alternative to abortion agency” (e.g., a pregnancy resource center) or employees with objections to abortion.
A Texas district court judge struck down the Obama administration’s overtime rule on Aug. 31, 2017, finding that the Department of Labor (DOL) had exceeded its authority in adopting a new salary threshold that would have entitled an estimated 4.2 million workers to overtime compensation.
In 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.