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.
The Missouri legislature has approved a proposal that moves the date of a public vote on the state’s right-to-work law to the August 2018 ballot.
The proposal was approved 96-47 in the Missouri House on May 17. The Senate had already passed the measure. The legislative approval moves a statewide vote on whether to prevent the Missouri right-to-work law from taking effect from November to the Aug. 7 primary ballot.
On May 8, 2018, a Missouri Senate committee approved a proposal to have voters decide in August 2018, rather than November 2018, whether to prevent the Missouri right-to-work law from taking effect. If allowed to become effective, the right-to-work law would prohibit employers from requiring employees to join a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment.
As we reported last fall, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals determined that a multi-month continuous leave of absence is beyond the scope of a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. The case was Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc., 872 F.3d 476 (7th Cir. 2017). After exhausting 12 continuous weeks of FMLA leave for a serious back condition, Severson informed his employer that he would need to remain off work for another two to three months. The Seventh Circuit reasoned that the ADA is an antidiscrimination statute, not a medical leave entitlement, and an employee who needs long-term medical leave cannot work and is therefore not a qualified individual under the ADA.
On April 2, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a close 5-4 decision, held that car dealership service advisors are exempt from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In reaching this conclusion, the court rejected the long-held belief that FLSA exemptions should be applied narrowly.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) earlier this year announced that it would create a new division within the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) to enforce certain federal laws to protect religious freedom and the rights of conscience of workers in health and human services. This new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division will provide an avenue for HHS to more aggressively enforce laws protecting the rights of conscience and religious freedom.
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
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) this month issued its revised Fact Sheet #71 on “Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act” outlining that the agency will rely on the court-approved “primary beneficiary test” to determine whether an intern should be considered an employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).