Category Archives: Litigation

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New York Federal Judge Strikes Down DOL ‘Joint Employer’ Rule

On Sept. 8, 2020, a New York federal judge struck down substantial portions of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL’s) joint employer final rule, which went into effect March 1, 2020.  As reported in a prior GT L&E blog, the DOL’s final rule announced a four-factor balancing test for determining joint-employer status when one employer … Continue Reading

DOL Issues Guidance on Wage-and-Hour Obligations as Pandemic Increases Telework

Prompted by telework arrangements that arose in response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (DOL) issued a Bulletin addressing important work-from-home wage-and-hour considerations. The DOL’s Bulletin presents useful guidance for employers grappling with the challenges of managing working time and pay of employees forced into … Continue Reading

Impersonators Beware: Claim Preclusion of Copycat PAGA Lawsuits

In August 2020, the California Court of Appeal issued two wins for California employers facing multiple simultaneous representative actions under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (PAGA) (Lab. Code § 2698 et seq.) in Robinson v. Southern Counties Oil Company and Starks v. Vortex Industries, Inc. Read the full GT Alert, “Impersonators … Continue Reading

Department of Health and Human Services’ LGBTQ+ Discrimination Rule Blocked by Eastern District of New York

On August 17, 2020, the Eastern District of New York granted the Plaintiffs’ request for a stay and a preliminary injunction precluding the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from implementing a recently issued final agency rule that would remove anti-discrimination provisions presently provided under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for LGBTQ+ patients. … Continue Reading

Collision: Collateral Effects of California’s Lawsuits Against Lyft and Uber

The California Labor Commissioner’s Office has challenged Uber and Lyft in two new state-backed lawsuits that allege that the companies have engaged in “wage theft” by misclassifying their drivers as independent contractors. Filed in Alameda County, the suits are the most recent effort to enforce A.B. 5, which arguably caused a sea change in the analysis … Continue Reading

Multiemployer Plans Poised For More Assumption Rate Suits

Challenges to the reasonableness of pension plan actuarial assumptions are confronting corporate plan sponsors not only with regard to their own plans but also with respect to the calculation of withdrawal liability when they exit a multiemployer plan. Since the enactment of the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act, withdrawal liability under the Employee Retirement Income … Continue Reading

DOJ and FTC Issue Joint Antitrust Statements for Businesses and Workers in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

In April, the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Competition of the Federal Trade Commission released a Joint Statement, warning they are “on alert” and will scrutinize employers – especially employers of front-line and essential workers such as doctors, nurses, grocery store employees, pharmacists, and warehouse workers – who engage in … Continue Reading

PAGA Plaintiffs: No Injury, No Problem, Says Unanimous California Supreme Court

Yesterday, the California Supreme Court issued its long-awaited opinion in Kim v. Reins International California, Inc. and unanimously reversed the California Court of Appeal. The Court held an employee does not lose standing to pursue claims under the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”), Cal. Lab. Code § 2698 et seq., even when that employee … Continue Reading

Employers: Stop, Drop, and Ensure CCPA Compliance as to Employees Residing in California

Despite being in effect since Jan. 1, 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) continues to generate confusion for employers of California residents. Much attention has been given to the CCPA’s effect on a business’ obligations in collecting, using, and sharing California customers’ data. However, given the CCPA’s broad “consumer” definition includes “employees,” it also imposes … Continue Reading

New York, New Jersey Employers Now Prohibited From Inquiring About Salary History

As noted in our 2019 legislative update, New Jersey and New York have joined a growing number of states in prohibiting employers from asking job applicants about their salary history. Both states’ legislation became effective earlier this month after being signed into law last year. As of January 2020, other states that prohibit all private employers … Continue Reading

First Circuit Concludes That Two Private Equity Funds Were Not Liable for Pension Fund Withdrawal Liability of Portfolio Company

In its recent decision in Sun Capital Partners III, LP v. New England Teamsters & Trucking Indus. Pension Fund, the First Circuit Court of Appeals decided that two investment funds established by a private equity firm to acquire and provide management services to various portfolio companies were not liable for the withdrawal liabilities for unfunded … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Holds Judicial Approval Not Required When Settling FLSA Claim Pursuant to Rule 68(a) Offer of Judgment

On Dec. 6, 2019, the Second Circuit issued a decision in Yu v. Hasaki Restaurant, Inc. that will likely impact settlement of wage and hour actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In a split decision, the court reversed a district court ruling and held that judicial approval is not required when settling an FLSA claim … Continue Reading

We May Not Have Until January to Sort Out AB5: Update on Dynamex Retroactivity

After the California Second District Court of Appeal’s Oct. 8, 2019, decision in Gonzales v. San Gabriel Transit, Inc., brought as a garden variety wage and hour class action claiming various classifications of drivers who agreed to be and were treated as independent contractors were in fact employees, the California Supreme Court will have the final say … Continue Reading

Violating OSHA’s Anti-Retaliation Provision Can Be Costly!

On Aug. 23, 2019, a federal judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania awarded over a million dollars in lost wages and punitive damages to two former employees of Lloyd Industries after a jury found the company and its owner fired them in retaliation for their participation in a … Continue Reading

Top Massachusetts Court Rules in Favor of Employer in Wage Act Case of Calixto v. Coughlin

On Dec. 28, 2018, in Calixto v. Coughlin, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (SJC) issued a unanimous opinion in favor of Greenberg Traurig’s clients, former officers of a defunct company. The SJC upheld the dismissal of Calixto’s claims alleging violation of the Massachusetts Wage Act, G. L. c. 149, § 148 (Wage Act), and … Continue Reading

2018 Year in Review: California L&E

There are myriad special rules for employers operating in California, and even more were signed into law last term. 2018 was Jerry Brown’s last year of his second “two-term” round as governor. Both legislatively and judicially, 2018 was a busy year, with the legislature sending more than 1,000 bills to the governor. This GT Alert … Continue Reading

California Appellate Court’s Expansive Opinion Creates Doubt Over Employee Non-Solicitation Agreements

Although California law generally prohibits non-competition agreements, some courts in a number of unpublished opinions have enforced non-solicitation clauses restricting former employees from pirating their former colleagues. A California appellate court, however, recently invalidated such a provision in a published opinion, calling into question an employer’s ability to rely upon such agreements. In AMN Healthcare Inc. … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Holds That Employer Sponsored Arbitration Programs do not Violate National Labor Relations Act

On May 21, 2018, in a 5-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court issued a long-awaited decision in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, 584 U.S. ____ (2018), holding that mandatory employer-sponsored arbitration agreements do not offend the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). Justice Gorsuch, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito, delivered … Continue Reading

NLRB Overturns 4 Decisions that Adversely Impacted Employers

Just this month, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or the Board) successively overturned four decisions that adversely impacted employers and were made while President Obama was in office. The earlier decisions expanded the definition of “joint employer”; scrutinized neutrally-worded work rules; required employers to notify and provide an opportunity to bargain to unions prior … Continue Reading

Employer’s Honest Belief Sufficient to Defeat FMLA Retaliation Claim

In a welcome decision to employers, the Third Circuit decided last week, for the first time, that an employer’s mere “honest belief” that an employee misused FMLA leave is sufficient to defeat a retaliation claim. As an employee claiming retaliation for using protected FMLA leave must prove that the very exercise of that right was a … Continue Reading

Split California Supreme Court Holds that without Express Agreement, Classwide Arbitrability is not a ‘Gateway Issue’ that must be Decided by the Court

In a 4-3 decision, the California Supreme Court recently determined that the question of “who decides whether [an arbitration] agreement permits or prohibits classwide arbitration” is not subject to a “universal rule [that] allocates this decision in all cases to either arbitrators or the courts.” See Sandquist v. Lebo Automotive, Inc., Case No. S220812, 2016 … Continue Reading

Recent Florida Supreme Court Decisions on Workers’ Compensation Could Lead to Higher Premiums

In two long-awaited decisions, the Florida Supreme Court declared several provisions of the state’s workers’ compensation statutes unconstitutional, weakening legislative reforms approved in 1994 and 2003 intended to curb the system’s growing costs and higher premiums for employers and businesses. The rulings, in Castellanos v. Next Door Company and Westphal v. City of St. Petersburg … Continue Reading

The ARB Potentially Broadens Protected Activity Under Sarbanes-Oxley

Just when employers thought that the anti-retaliation provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX), 15 U.S.C. § 1514A, already covered a broad range of protected conduct, the Department of Labor’s Administrative Review Board (ARB), the appellate body that reviews Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) decisions, potentially broadened the scope of conduct that is protected from … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Holds that Unaccepted Offer to Settle Per Rule 68 Does Not Moot a Case

In a 6-3 opinion, the United States Supreme Court held yesterday that a defendant’s unaccepted Rule 68 offer of judgment for complete relief does not moot a case. See Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, 577 U.S. ___ (2016). Justice Bader Ginsburg, writing for the 6-3 majority, explained that “[u]nder basic principles of contract law,” an offer … Continue Reading
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