The National Law Forum

The Blog of the The National Law Review

Employment Law This Week – Episode 5 – Week of November 16, 2015 [VIDEO]

We look at the latest trends, important court decisions, and new developments that could impact your work.  This week’s topics …

(1) OSHA Fines Rise

OSHA fines are set to increase for the first time in 25 years. Under the new bipartisan budget bill, OSHA civil penalties will rise next year to reflect the difference between the Consumer Price Index in 1990 and in 2015—an increase of as much as 82%. After this “catch up” adjustment, the fines will keep pace with inflation moving forward.

(2) Supreme Court to Review ACA’s Contraception Opt-Out

The Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) birth control provisions are heading back to the U.S. Supreme Court. At issue is whether the ACA’s opt-out process violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Under the opt-out, religious organizations do not have to pay for contraception, but other accommodations are made so that employees will still receive coverage. The high court will review a consolidation of seven cases to decide whether the opt-out “substantially burdens” religious freedom. Like last year’s landmark Hobby Lobby decision, this case addresses the extent to which corporations have the same rights as natural persons and how those rights affect a company’s legal obligations towards its employees. This is the latest case, but undoubtedly not the last one, on this topic.

(3) NLRB Finds That Chipotle Illegally Fired Worker for Discussing Wages

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that Chipotle illegally fired an employee for participating in minimum wage protests. The NLRB ruled that the firing by the chain was a violation of the National Labor Relations Act. Though the employee’s supervisor claimed he was fired for poor performance, the NLRB found that the firing was motivated by the employee’s participation in the protests and his discussion of pay with other employees. Other restaurants are facing similar charges from the NLRB arising from the “Show Me 15” protests.

(4) Wages for Off-the-Clock Security Screenings

Two federal class actions challenging off-the-clock security screenings reach different outcomes. Bath & Body Works recently agreed to settle a suit in California over unpaid overtime and off-the-clock security inspections. But a federal judge in the same state dismissed a similar class action against Apple in which retail workers claimed that they should be compensated for time spent having their bags checked. The judge concluded that the employees were not performing job duties and could avoid the screenings by not bringing a bag or cell phone to work.

(5) In-House Counsel Tip of the Week

Eugene Schlanger, a regulatory and compliance attorney, gives some advice on how to prepare for employment issues before they arise.

©2015 Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. All rights reserved.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: