Law360, New York (March 24, 2016) – A hastily enacted North Carolina law that undid a Charlotte anti-discrimination ordinance that in part allowed transgender people to use the restroom of their choice could potentially limit access to state courts for employees trying to pursue a wide range of discrimination claims, including those related to race and gender, plaintiffs attorneys say.
A Ninth Circuit ruling Tuesday requiring a company accused of gender discrimination to give the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission the personal information of employees who took a strength test may embolden the agency to pursue more aggressive investigations and raises privacy concerns, management-side attorneys say.
Hot-button issues like sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace, the treatment of pregnant employees and medical marijuana use aren’t just grabbing headlines, but they’re also raising questions that can puzzle even seasoned attorneys. Law360 asked experts to identify the biggest open questions about employment discrimination law and offer some suggestions to help businesses address them.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s newly proposed rule to expand overtime pay protections won plaudits from worker advocates, but some management-side lawyers warned the final version could contain changes to the duties tests for overtime eligibility.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to review a donning-and-doffing case against Tyson Foods Inc. gives the justices a chance to both make class actions tougher to pursue by curtailing the use of statistical sampling to support certification, and announce if and how the high court’s landmark Dukes ruling applies to Fair Labor Standards Act collective actions.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision reviving a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission religious bias suit against Abercrombie & Fitch Stores Inc. closed what could have been a legal loophole that would have given some employers a green light to plead ignorance in religious accommodation cases.
Josh Van Kampen said he expected that some employers’ ignorance of or willingness to flout the new requirements would set them up as “low- hanging fruit” for future wage-hour plaintiffs. “Notwithstanding our management colleagues’ attempts to train on this, there are going to be scores of employers who are just caught flat-footed and don’t do anything at all,” Van Kampen said.
“Proving employment discrimination in federal court is one of the hardest things you can undertake,” Josh Van Kampen, founder of Charlotte, North Carolina-based plaintiff’s employment firm Van Kampen PC, said of Judge Niemeyer’s “widespread litigation” forecast.
As the number of Fair Labor Standards Act complaints filed in U.S. federal courts continues to climb, attorneys say the more modest growth in new cases over the past few years could be chalked up to aggressive efforts by major employers to improve their payment systems, keep a close eye on managers and never let their guard down.
Law360 is pleased to announce the formation of its 2014 Employment editorial advisory board. The purpose of the editorial advisory board is to get feedback on Law360’s coverage and to gain insight from experts in the field on how best to shape future coverage.