Showing 22 posts in Employment Litigation & Counseling.

Vaccine Mandates in the Workplace Are Spreading

A recent decision out of the Southern District of Texas in Bridges v. Houston Methodist Hospital has provided employers some assurances that they can require employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment.[1] The decision also serves as a warning to employees who are considering suing their private employer over a policy requiring inoculation.

In Bridges, 117 employees of Houston’s Methodist Hospital System filed suit after Defendants issued a policy in April requiring employees to be vaccinated by June or risk termination. Originally filed in Texas state court in May, Defendants removed the case to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas in June. Shortly thereafter, Judge Lynn Hughes dismissed the suit in its entirety. [2] More »

Considerations That Employers Should be Mindful of as Employees Return to the Office

In light of employees returning to the office, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) provided comprehensive guidance through its Frequently Answered Questions (“FAQs”). These FAQs provide valuable insight on how employers should navigate these uncharted territories, while also leaving employers with questions. This article highlights the major takeaways from the EEOC guidance, yet the overarching theme that employers should consider when implementing a policy for returning to work is that there likely will not be any hard and fast rules that will apply to all employees—this will likely need to be an interactive process in which fact specific inquiries may be necessary to accommodate employees’ circumstances. More »

COVID-19: Coverage Impact for Workers Compensation and Employers Liability Insurers

As the world  responds to the current coronavirus pandemic, also known as COVID-19, insurance companies will now, more than ever, be looked upon to respond to the widespread impact on businesses in all industries, including the impact on employees, their families and customers. It is a virtual certainty that in the coming days and months, employers will face an avalanche of claims relating to exposure to COVID-19. Those employers may look to their Workers Compensation and Employers Liability policies for coverage. Part One of a standard Workers Compensation policy provides coverage for an employer's statutory liabilities under workers compensation law, while Part Two provides coverage for liabilities arising out of employees' job-related injuries that are not otherwise covered under workers compensation law(s). More »

Seventh Circuit Appellate Briefs Filed in Southwest Airlines Biometric Case Involving Collective Bargaining Agreements


 On April 18th, Southwest Airlines Co. filed a response brief with the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in the Jennifer Miller, et al. v. Southwest Airlines Co. matter (Court No. 18-3476).

The suit involves allegations by the Miller Plaintiffs, ramp workers or operations agents for Southwest at Chicago Midway International Airport, that in 2006 Southwest began scanning employees’ fingerprints for the employees to sign in and out of work. The fingerprints were used as part of a time clock system that tracks employees’ attendance. According to the employees, Southwest did not ask their permission to collect their finger prints or publish a policy regarding the fingerprint collection. The workers alleged that the airline never got their permission to transmit the information to the time clock software program and did not tell employees what happened to their fingerprint data upon an employee leaving the company. More »

New Developments for Michigan Employers


Beginning March 29, 2019, Michigan laws are changing in a way that will greatly impact employers. Specifically, pursuant to the Improved Workforce Opportunity Act (MCL 4008.934). Michigan’s minimum wage will increase from $9.25 to $9.45 an hour. (MCL 408.934). More »

New Illinois Workers’ Compensation Legislation: Unconstitutional If Applied Retroactively


With the passage of Senate Bill 1596 and the expected signing of the law by Governor J.B. Pritzker, Illinois lawmakers have again attempted to address perceived injustices associated with long-standing statutes of repose that bar claims of some plaintiffs who have been diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases many years after they were exposed to asbestos during their employment. Specifically, the law indicates that plaintiffs whose workers’ compensation claims against their employers are barred by the statute of repose for workers’ compensation claims may bring civil suits against their employers. This creates an exception to the exclusive remedy provision of the workers’ compensation system, which typically prevents employees from suing their employers for work-related diseases and injuries. More »

TRANSPORTATION LAW CLIENT ALERT: The Supreme Court’s Decision in New Prime v. Oliveira


Transportation companies frequently rely on independent contractor agreements with owner-operators to conduct many essential logistics operations. “Owner-operators” are self-employed and independently contract with large companies to haul goods across the country. This relationship can produce disputes between the owner-operator and transportation company. For example, when a load is not delivered on time or goods are damaged in the delivery process, transportation companies may seek to hold the owner-operator liable. In anticipation of these disputes, owner-operators almost routinely sign arbitration agreements as a part of their independent contractor agreements with transportation companies. However, when the issues between transportation companies and owner-operators pertain to wage and hour claims or other employment concerns, the recent Supreme Court decision in New Prime v Oliveira may have them changing course. More »

EMPLOYMENT LAW CLIENT ALERT: Tenth Circuit Rules Failure to File Discrimination Claim with EEOC No Longer Jurisdictional Bar


In a surprising decision overturning 40 years of precedent, the Tenth Circuit recently ruled that a plaintiff’s failure to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) was not a jurisdictional bar to a federal court adjudicating an employment discrimination claim. Lincoln v BNSF Railway Company, --- F3d --- (10th Cir. August 17, 2018). More »

EMPLOYMENT LAW: Can Employers Really Take a Deep Breath in the Wake of Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis?



Earlier this year, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the enforceability of individualized arbitration agreements as a matter of law in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis. The decision left employers everywhere taking a collective and long-sought sigh of relief. But how protected are employers, really? More »

PA EMPLOYMENT LAW CLIENT ALERT: Is More Money Coming To PA Employees? A Proposal By Governor Wolf Seeks To Expand Overtime Compensation For PA Employees


Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf recently announced a proposal to expand overtime pay to an estimated 460,000 Pennsylvania employees. To that end, Governor Wolf requested the Department of Labor & Industry to prepare a plan to modernize Pennsylvania’s overtime rules, which have not been updated in more than 40 years. The first step in updating the rules is to increase the salary threshold to determine overtime eligibility for employees. Presently, the threshold for eligibility is set at the federal level of $455.00 per week, or $23,660.00 annually.  That level would increase to $610.00 per week ($31,720.00 annually) on January 1, 2020. The level would increase again to $39,832.00 on January 1, 2021 and to $47,892.00 in 2022.  Thereafter, the salary threshold will automatically increase every three years.  More »

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