The Employment Practices News Roundup

November 13, 2017

No company wants to be sued by a current or former employee. To avoid being caught off guard with a costly lawsuit, it’s imperative to stay up to date with the latest developments in human resources. To help you keep up, here’s a roundup of some of the most important stories and legal cases impacting human resources.

  • Sexual harassment scandals make headlines. Multiple cases of high-profile allegations of sexual harassment have made the news recently. According to Risk & Insurance, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission receives 15,000 sexual harassment cases each year. These accusations can result in a number of problems for a company, from loss of morale to court settlements. The situation may be especially severe for companies that ignore known incidents of sexual harassment. After a former employee accused Uber of creating a culture that facilitated sexual harassment, the ridesharing company fired more than 20 employees.
  • Google is sued for gender discrimination. Like sexual harassment, gender discrimination can lead to legal woes for a company. In April, the Guardian reported that the Department of Labor had accused Google of discriminating against female employees with systemic compensation disparities. In September, three women and former Google employees filed a class action lawsuit alleging discriminatory practices, as Forbes reported here
  • The fight over the overtime rule continues. The Department of Labor’s final rule regarding overtime would have increased the salary threshold for exemption from overtime pay. The rule was scheduled to go into effect starting December 1, 2016, but it was challenged in a case heard by the U.S. District Court of Eastern District of Texas. On August 31, 2017, the court determined that the rule was invalid. Most recently, on October 30, 2017, the Department of Justice filed an appeal. It was also stated that the Department of Labor intends to undertake “further rulemaking to determine what the salary level should be.”
  • Employers can’t stop employees from talking. Although many companies would prefer their workers did not share salary details or discuss sensitive matters, policies cannot interfere with the right to share employment-related information, which is guaranteed under federal labor law. A recent court case confirmed this. In Banner Health System v. National Labor Relations Board (851 F. 3d 35 – Court of Appeals, Dist. Of Columbia Circuit 2017), the court stated that “Banner’s Confidentiality Agreement was overbroad,” pointing to the prohibition against the discussion of salaries and employee discipline.

As these cases illustrate, employment practices are tricky! Contact us if you’d like to learn more about Employment Practices Liability Insurance.