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By T. Christopher Bailey on June 6, 2019 at 2:00 PM

United States Supreme CourtIn a unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that an employee’s failure to exhaust administrative remedies is not a jurisdictional prerequisite to filing a lawsuit, rather it is a procedural requirement that could be waived by the employer’s failure to timely raise the issue.

In Fort Bend County, Texas v. Davis, --- S.Ct. ---- (U.S. June 3, 2019) the plaintiff, Davis, filed a charge of discrimination alleging sex discrimination and retaliation. While that charge was pending, Davis was told to report to work on a Sunday. When Davis refused due to a prior church commitment, her employment was terminated. Intending to amend her earlier charge, Davis submitted an EEOC Intake Questionnaire on which she handwrote “religion” under “Harms or Actions” and checked the boxes for “discharge” and “reasonable accommodation.” However, Davis made no change to her formal charge of discrimination document to allege discrimination on the basis of her religion.

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By Katherine Fechte, Lauren Daming, Lauren Harris on January 18, 2019 at 10:10 AM

"2018" written out with wooden blocks with a person rotating the "8" to a "9"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.

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By Dennis Collins, Lauren Harris on June 29, 2018 at 11:40 AM

U.S. Supreme Court BuildingThe U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion June 27 in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, 585 U.S. ___ (2018), holding that nonunion members working in union positions for public employers are not obligated to pay agency fees, also known as “fair share” fees. This overturns Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, 431 U.S. 209 (1977) which set the precedent that as long as the agency fees represent the percentage of the union’s expenditures for collective bargaining, contract administration, and grievance adjustment purposes, then state governments can legislate that public employees employed in positions represented by unions, even though not union members, can be required to pay service charges or agency fees. In conjunction, unions are required to provide detailed notices of how the agency fees are being spent for “chargeable” activities (contract and bargaining based activities) and “non-chargeable” activities (political and lobbying activities). It should be noted that federal law prohibits unions that bargain for federal workers to charge agency fees to nonunion members, but according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 27 percent of the federal workforce are union members.

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By Lauren Harris, T. Christopher Bailey on June 7, 2018 at 2:50 PM

Person decorating a white wedding cakeOn June 4, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court released its long-awaited decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, 584 U.S. ___ (2018), which examined whether a Colorado bakery violated that state’s Anti-Discrimination Act by refusing to bake a wedding cake celebrating a same-sex marriage ceremony. While a 7-2 majority of the court sided with the bakery, the much-anticipated decision left more questions unanswered than answered. The decision and concurring and dissenting opinions can be read here.

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By Lauren Daming, Heather Mehta on May 21, 2018 at 2:40 PM EDT

Supreme Court buildingIn 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. 

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By Jill Luft on April 12, 2018 at 9:50 AM

Words "Out of Office" written on a piece of paper held up by a businesswomanAs 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.

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By Katherine Fechte on April 4, 2018 at 9:50 AM

Person receiving car keys from a car salesmanOn 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.

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By Katherine Fechte, Lauren Daming, Lauren Harris, Camille Toney, Audrie Howard on February 8, 2018 at 2:50 PM

"2017" and "2018" written on metal wheelsThe 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.

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