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

On the heels of the United States Supreme Court’s decision limiting affirmative action in college admissions, we have seen an increase in workers who do not belong to historically underrepresented demographic groups filing lawsuits challenging their employers’ diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs.[1] As a result, some businesses may wonder: Are our DEI efforts worth the legal risk? For most businesses, the consensus answer appears to be “yes.”Continue Reading Still “Business as Usual”: Recent Challenges to Company DEI Efforts

What is caste and caste discrimination?

“Caste” or a “caste system” is a social hierarchy passed down through families and can dictate an individual’s permissible professions as well as aspects of their social life, including whom they can marry.[1] It exists in a variety of ways, but for purposes of defining a legally protected class, it most directly relates to persons of South Asian descent. Importantly, however, an individual’s race or religion is not a caste, and caste and race/religion should not be equated or conflated.[2]Continue Reading An Emerging Protected Class: Caste Discrimination in the United States

As of September 13th, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (DOL-WHD) is partnering with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to focus on “enhanced law enforcement”

Continue Reading Memorandum of Understanding Between Governmental Labor and Employment Agencies Creates Increased Exposure for Businesses

When “Gymtimidation” Turns Into Discrimination

The issues of acceptance and comfort in fitness centers can pose serious challenges for owners. A healthy gym environment can empower all individuals, regardless of age, gender, ability, and race. However, if managed by inadequately trained staff or run without oversight, a gym can become a divisive place that breeds anxiety and fear. The phenomenon of “gymtimidation” is a popular topic among fitness center owners and gym enthusiasts alike. A 2022 study of roughly 3,000 individuals revealed that 90% of gym-goers are concerned about others’ opinions and 42% of gym-goers experience appearance-based anxiety while at the gym. Notably, Gen-Z gym-goers are the most affected by “gymtimidation,” with 38% of that demographic identifying “fear of judgment” as a reason for disliking gyms.Continue Reading Employment Discrimination in Fitness Centers: How Employers Can Combat Harassment and Create an Inclusive Environment for Employees and Patrons

The Supreme Court’s recent decision on affirmative action in the SFFA v. Harvard/UNC cases has raised lots of questions for private employers. Specifically, private employers want to know what impact – if any – does the Court’s decision have on DEI programs? The short answer is not much, if any.Continue Reading Understanding the Supreme Court’s Affirmative Action Decision: What it Means for Private Employers’ DEI Programs