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Following the Weinstein Allegations, Improving Workplace Culture

The wave of sexual harassment allegations against high profile media moguls such as Harvey Weinstein, Bill O’Reilly, and Mark Halperin has put sexual harassment issues in the public spotlight.  All employers, even those not in the “biz,” should take this opportunity to review their sexual harassment training and policies and consider ways to improve their workplace culture.

In a recent exclusive interview with Law360, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) acting Chair Victoria Lipnic reiterated the EEOC’s focus on sexual harassment and retaliation across a wide range of industries. See Law360, “We See This Everywhere, EEOC Chair Says of Weinstein,” Braden Campbell (Oct. 24, 2017), available at https://www.law360.com/employment/articles/977719/-we-see-this-everywhere-eeoc-chair-says-of-weinstein?nl_pk=2905a360-50ef-439a-8c8c-a294a6bf3896&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=employment. Lipnic’s interview highlights the importance for employers to review their policies and take affirmative steps to create a positive work environment.

According to Lipnic, “We see this everywhere. This happens to women in workplaces all over the place.  You look at

California Bans the Box: Employers Must Review and Update Background Screening Processes

Recently, on October 14, 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1008 (“AB 1008”), which adds Government Code Section 12952 into state law.  Among other things, this new provision makes it an unlawful employment practice under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) for a private employer with five (5) or more employees to inquire about or consider a job applicant’s conviction history prior to a conditional offer of employment.  This “ban-the-box” legislation is the latest in a series of initiatives nationwide to ban private employers from inquiring about convictions on an application for employment.   California joins five other states, including Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, and Vermont, in banning private employers’ inquiries regarding convictions prior to a conditional offer of employment.  AB 1008 becomes effective January 1, 2018.

Only Post-Offer Consideration of a Conviction or Specified Arrests is Permissible.  Most dramatically, employers may not ask an applicant about any

The Prior-Salary Defense and the Evolving Landscape of Pay Equity Law

The Equal Pay Act (“EPA”) requires payment of equal wages to employees of the opposite sex who perform equal work but recognizes four statutory defenses to a claim for pay discrimination. The last of those defenses is a “catch-all,” which covers pay differences “based on any other factor other than sex.” Breaking with the EEOC’s long-standing interpretation of this defense, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that an employer may rely on an employee’s prior salary to justify a wage differential between men and women performing the same job.

In Rizo v. Yovino, 854 F.3d 1161 (9th Cir. 2017), the defendant employer conceded that it paid the plaintiff less than her male colleagues for the same work but countered that the law permitted its wage practice because it was “based on any other factor other than sex” – namely, each employee’s prior salary. The district court ruled that

Minimum Wage Increases on the Horizon in California

Effective July 1, 2017, employers in San Francisco must raise the minimum wage from $13.00/hour to $14.00/hour.  By July 1, 2018, San Francisco’s minimum wage rate will be $15.00/hour.  Similarly, in the city of Los Angeles and the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, for employers with more than 25 employees, the minimum wage will be increased from $10.50/hour to $12.00/hour.  These minimum wage rates are currently higher than the State of California’s minimum wage rate of $10.50/hour for employers with more than 25 employees.  California will gradually increase minimum wage rates for employers with more than 25 employees, adding $1 to the base rate every January 1st culminating in $15.00/hour by January 1, 2022.

Bryan Cave LLP has a team of knowledgeable lawyers and other professionals prepared to help employers assess their minimum wage obligations. If you or your organization would like more information on wages or any other employment

OSHA Indefinitely Postpones Electronic Submission of Injury and Illness Records

May 26, 2017

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We’d like to share with our readers a recent Client Alert from the Bryan Cave OSHA Industry Team providing notice to clients that an upcoming July 1, 2017 deadline for submission of injury and illness logs to OSHA has been delayed by the Trump Administration.  The alert also contains some additional commentary on related injury/illness recordkeeping requirements.

https://www.bryancave.com/en/thought-leadership/osha-indefinitely-postpones-electronic-submission-of-injury-and.html

Bryan Cave LLP has a team of knowledgeable lawyers and other professionals prepared to help employers assess their obligations. If you or your organization would like more information on this alert or how the new regulations affect your business, please contact an attorney in the Labor and Employment practice group.

House Passes Bill to Reduce Overtime

May 25, 2017

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On May 3, 2017, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1180, Working Families Flexibility Act, a law that would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act, to allow employers to give workers paid time off or comp time instead of time-and-a-half overtime pay.  Under the Act, comp time could only be provided in lieu of overtime if it is part of a collective bargaining agreement that was negotiated with the labor organization.  For non-union employees, the employee must have knowingly and voluntarily agreed to the comp time.  There are other conditions such as the employee working a minimum 1,000 hours in a 12-month period before he or she can agree to comp time, as well as limitations, including a maximum accrual of 160 hours of comp time and a mandatory payout of compensation for any unused and accrued comp time by the end of calendar year.  See H.R. 1180 at

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