Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard, there has been in increase in litigation challenging employers’ Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policies and practices. In one recent example, however, a conversative panel of judges in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected an argument that a mandatory diversity training constituted unlawful discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.Continue Reading 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Affirms that Mandatory Diversity Training does not Constitute Unlawful Discrimination

In the complex tapestry of workplace dynamics, there exists an often unspoken advantage known as the beauty premium or “pretty privilege.” This phenomenon refers to the societal bias toward individuals who are perceived as conventionally attractive. Over twenty years of scholarly articles show an unconscious preference to interact with people we may find attractive, even in the employment context during the hiring process and throughout employment. While it may seem superficial, pretty privilege can significantly impact one’s career trajectory, opportunities, and overall experience in the professional world.Continue Reading Pretty-Privilege: The Ugly Truth About Appearance Discrimination

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers must provide overtime pay to employees at one and one-half times an employee’s regular pay rate for every hour the employee works beyond 40 hours in a workweek, unless the employee falls within a specified exemption. Under current U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) regulations, exempt employees include executive, administrative, professional, and computer employees who perform certain duties, and earn at least $684 per week ($35,568 annually). Highly compensated employees who perform office or nonmanual work and are paid a total annual compensation of $107,432 are also exempt.Continue Reading The DOL’s New Proposed Rule Increasing Salary Basis: What it Means for Employers

In 2021, there was a mass shooting at a high school in Michigan in which four students were killed. As a result of this shooting, not only was the shooter prosecuted, but the parents of the shooter were charged with criminal liability by their failure to take ordinary care to act appropriately, and are, therefore, being tried for four counts of involuntary manslaughter. The mother was recently convicted.

Other parents in the last few months have pled guilty to charges of reckless conduct or neglect in these situations. Given this pattern, it is reasonably foreseeable that employers—if such shootings take place in the workplace—may also be prosecuted or subject to stiff personal injury claims due to shootings in the workplace, if they do not follow at least the minimum standards as set out in state law regarding restrictions on weapons in the workplace.Continue Reading Employers Beware: The Scope of Responsibility for Workplace Shootings Is Widening

Democrats and Republicans within the House Committee on Education and the Workforce have recently expressed bipartisan interest in raising or eliminating the statutory caps on damages for claims brought under Title VII and the ADA. While the plan is still in its very early stages, any revisions to statutory damages caps would have significant implications for employers.Continue Reading Congress Considers Raising or Eliminating the Statutory Caps on Damages for Claims Brought Under Title VII and the ADA

In our ever-evolving world, fostering cultural sensitivity is paramount for minimizing legal risks and creating inclusive, respectful work environments. Language plays a crucial role in shaping our perceptions, and unfortunately, some words used in everyday conversation may perpetuate stereotypes and contribute to cultural insensitivity. As employers gear up for the new year, they should consider abandoning the following words and phrases. Encouraging their employees to do the same will help create more inclusive work environments and mitigate the risk of discrimination claims brought by members of their workforce.Continue Reading Cultivating Cultural Sensitivity in the Workplace: Words to Leave Behind in 2024

For the past year, businesses and attorneys alike have been impatiently awaiting the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on whether a “tester” plaintiff – a person with a disability who examines compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) – has standing to bring a lawsuit when a place of public accommodation is allegedly out of compliance with the ADA. Unfortunately, the unanimous opinion issued by the Court on December 5, 2023 kicked the can down the road on this critical issue, leaving us longing for more.Continue Reading SCOTUS Punts on Standing: ADA “Tester” Case Dismissed for Mootness

On October 23, 2023, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to amend the H-1B regulations. These proposed rules are seen as a significant step to modernize the H-1B requirements and address issues of fraud that occurred in the previous H-1B lottery cycle. Comments for these proposed rules will be accepted through December 22, 2023.Continue Reading New Proposed H-1B Rules Seek to Modernize Requirements and Reduce Fraud

A new California law requires employers to notify all current and former employees if any signed employment agreement (e.g., offer letter, non-disclosure agreement, employment contract), contains an invalid post-employment covenant not to compete (a “non-compete provision”). Assembly Bill 1076, signed last month by Gov. Newsom, requires employers to give written notice to all affected current and former employees that the non-compete provision is void by February 14, 2024.Continue Reading A Valentine’s Day Treat for California Employees — Employers Must Notify Employees that Non-Compete Provisions Are Void by February 14, 2024