Posts by: Editorial Board

“Pedigree Information” Sought by EEOC In Pre-Litigation Investigation May Be Relevant

Gender inequality on career path business concept, Business lady runs against businessman on career path, but fails because on her side of path there are a lot of obstacles.. “Pedigree Information” Sought by EEOC In Pre-Litigation Investigation May Be Relevant

Following a vacate and remand order by the United States Supreme Court for employing the de novo standard of review rather than the abuse of discretion standard, the Ninth Circuit revisited the standard for relevance in the EEOC subpoena context.  EEOC v. McLane Co., No. 13-15126 (9th Cir. May 24, 2017).

In McLane, the EEOC was investigating a charge of gender discrimination which was based on the employer’s use of a physical capacity strength test. As part of its pre-litigation investigation into that charge, of gender discrimination filed by an ex-McLane Company employee, the EEOC issued a subpoena for “pedigree information” (i.e., name, Social Security number, last known address, and telephone number) for employees or prospective employees who took the physical capability strength test.

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It’s Smooth Sailing for a Shipping Company After Ninth Circuit Arbitration Victory

Last month, the Ninth Circuit issued a notable opinion addressing the enforceability of arbitration agreements in Poublon v. C.H. Robinson Co., 846 F.3d 1251 (9th Cir. 2017), mandate issued (Feb. 24, 2017).  In Poublon, the employee filed a class action even though she signed a dispute resolution agreement that prohibited representative actions and required her to mediate and arbitrate all other claims.  The court evaluated the agreement to determine if it was unconscionable under California law, which looks at both procedural and substantive unconscionability on a sliding scale.  Although the court held that a few provisions were substantively unconscionable, the court severed and reformed the offending provisions and largely upheld the dispute resolution agreement. READ MORE

Equal Pay Day 2016:  Where Are We 20 Years Later?

Today marks the twentieth anniversary of “Equal Pay Day,” which the National Committee on Pay Equity launched as a public awareness event in 1996 to symbolize how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.  In more than 50 years since enactment of the federal Equal Pay Act (“EPA”) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), women have made significant progress in the workplace and now make up roughly half of the American workforce.  However, women working full time still earn, on average, 79 cents for every dollar earned by men, and this number has barely moved in over a decade.  That said, it is still not clear that employer bias is to blame for the gap that remains.  Indeed, the pay gap measures only the difference in average earnings between all men and all women; it is not a proxy for pay bias—i.e., the failure to pay women equal pay for equal work.  Eliminating pay bias is important, but focusing heavily on perceived employer bias obscures a much more complex web of factors contributing to the problem of pay differences between men and women.

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EEOC Ratchets Up Focus On Retaliation: EEOC Publishes First New Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation In Nearly Two Decades

The EEOC seeks public comment on its new Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related Issues, which will supersede the agency’s last-issued guidance on the topic from 1998.  The updated guidance addresses several significant rulings by the Supreme Court and lower courts from the past two decades.  The guidance was also informed by public input on retaliation and best practices that the Commission gathered from its June 17, 2015 meeting on “Retaliation in the Workplace:  Causes, Remedies, and Strategies for Prevention.”  The 30-day input period on the guidance ends on February 24, 2016.

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California State Legislature Gives Employers Prescription(Rx) for New Sick Leave Law

On Monday, July 13, 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a much anticipated “fix it” bill that amends the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014, clarifying the requirements of California’s sick leave law.

The fixes bring welcome clarity and revisions to key provisions that, for most employers, will make the law easier to administer. Yes, it’s two weeks late—the intent was for the bill to pass before the July 1 deadline for employers to implement the bulk of the original law’s requirements. But the delay was due in large part to several revisions that the legislature made in hopes of getting it right this time. And thanks to an urgency provision, the amendments go into effect immediately. The full text of the amendment (AB 304) is available here, but we’ve highlighted a few key provisions below. You should also visit our prior blogs on this subject here to make sure you’re keeping up with the feverish pace of things.

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The Latest from Germany: More holidays for older employees – necessary protection or discrimination?

Since 2006, when the General Equal Treatment Act came into force in Germany, most decisions about discrimination have dealt with alleged discrimination based on age. Is this surprising? Probably not. According to the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency in Germany, every fifth German claims to have already experienced discrimination at work based on age.

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Including PAGA Representative Action Waivers in Arbitration Agreements Post-Iskanian

After the California Supreme Court’s recent decision in Iskanian v. CLS Transportation, which held that PAGA representative action waivers are unenforceable under California law, employers have struggled with whether to retain such waivers in their arbitration agreements.  The answer to whether such waivers should be retained is not as straightforward as one might expect.

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Unpaid Leave (Sabbatical) Triggers Days of Paid Vacation in Germany

3 Minutes to 12:00

Like in other countries, the parties to an employment agreement in Germany are free to agree on a sabbatical – a defined period during which the employment relationship is suspended. The employee is released from his active duties, and the employer is not obliged to pay remuneration and benefits throughout the agreed sabbatical.

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The German Federal Labor Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht – BAG) rejects doubtful discrimination complaints

Even if a potential Employer does not know that an applicant is unsuitable for the offered job from an objective point of view, compensation claims based on discrimination would not be granted.

The first comprehensive anti-discrimination law, regulated in the General Equal Treatment Act (Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz – “AGG”), was introduced in Germany in 2006. In the early years of this Act, many so called “AGG-Hoppers” have abused this situation by applying for discriminatory job offers to assert a compensation claim against inexperienced employers as a second step.

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Appointment of a Data Protection Officer in Germany: You Wanna Avoid Trouble? Then Make Sure You Appoint the Right Person!

Data Privacy

Data protection law is on the rise. Courts as well as local authorities become increasingly sensitive to the misuse of any individual’s personal data that applicable statutory provisions in Germany, such as the Federal Data Protection Act (Bundesdatenschutzgesetz, “BDSG”), intend to prevent. READ MORE