CA Federal Judge Refuses to Dismiss Amazon Employee’s Work-at-Home Expense Reimbursement Suit

A California federal district court judge denied Amazon's motion to dismiss a unique proposed class action lawsuit over reimbursement for an employee's work-at-home-related expenses. The judge did dismiss a claim based on the Unfair Competition Law, but the aggrieved employee may amend this claim.  David G. Williams, a senior software development engineer, filed his proposed class action and Private Attorneys Read More

DOL Releases Fact Sheet and FAQs on FMLA and Mental Health Conditions

The Department of Labor (DOL) has released Fact Sheet 280 and a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and mental health conditions.  Required Leave Under FMLA FMLA requires covered employers to provide eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period for the following: Care for the serious health conditions of a spouse, child under Read More

DOJ Argues Injunction Exempting Religious Employers from Trans Services Addresses Hypothetical Policy

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently argued to overturn a federal district court’s injunction that exempts religious employers from required coverage of gender transition surgery. According to the DOJ, a recent North Dakota federal court ruling addressing a similar issue is not pertinent because it dealt with hypothetical enforcement actions rather than actual policy. The case is The Religious Sisters of Read More

Delaware Becomes Latest State to Pass Paid Family and Medical Leave Law

Delaware Gov. John Carney has signed the Healthy Delaware Families Act into law, creating a statewide family and medical leave insurance program. Under the new program, which goes into effect in January 2025, workers can access up to 12 weeks of paid parental or medical caregiving leave per year. Workers can take advantage of these benefits beginning in 2026.  Delaware is joining an increasing number of states Read More

Handling Undocumented Workers Who Participate in ERISA Plans

Undocumented workers are increasingly participating in and accruing benefits in ERISA plans, which presents challenges for employers. ERISA does not specifically exclude these employees from participation in ERISA-governed plans. Although the federal government has explicitly stated that other federal laws protect undocumented workers, it also has not stated that ERISA protects undocumented workers. Likewise, court Read More

Workers Claim Walmart Assigns Them to Shifts Without Notice to Fire them After Medical Leave

A former Walmart employee has filed suit in a Michigan federal district court claiming class-wide violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and individual violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The employee claims that Walmart fired her and over one hundred other workers by scheduling them for shifts at the end of their medical leave but not informing them about the shifts, then using Read More

7th Circ. Affirms Grant of Summary Judgment to AT&T in Disability Benefits Lawsuit

A three-panel judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment to AT&T amid claims of ERISA violations by a former employee. The case is In Craig Canter v. AT&T Umbrella Benefit Plan No. 3 et al., case number 21-1514.  Craig Canter worked as a premises technician for Illinois Bell Telephone Co., a subsidiary of AT&T. His job involved Read More

Federal District Court Rules Plan-Imposed Limitations Periods Unenforceable When Not Disclosed in Benefit Denial Notices

A federal district court in Utah has held in two similar cases that plan-imposed deadlines for filing lawsuits in ERISA cases are unenforceable. The court reasoned that the deadlines were inapplicable to the cases at issue because the entity’s final denial letters to the participants did not contain notice of the deadlines. The cases are E.F. v. United HealthCare Ins. Co., 2022 WL 957200 (D. Utah 2022) and Anne A. Read More

The New IRS Proposed Exception to the “Unified-Plan Rule”

The IRS recently withdrew and replaced regulations that it had proposed in 2019 concerning sections 413(c) and 413(e) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), which offer an exception to section 413’s “unified-plan rule” (the Rule). The Rule is more commonly known as the “one-bad-apple rule” for multiple employer (MEP) and pooled employer (PEP) plans.  Under the Rule, a failure by one participating employer in a MEP or Read More

ERISA Plan Arbitration Clauses Likely Headed to U.S. Supreme Court

Various federal appellate courts have considered cases in which employers attempt to prevent ERISA class action lawsuits by including mandatory arbitration requirements into their plan documents. Due to the varying outcomes of these cases, this issue is likely headed to the U.S. Supreme Court for resolution.  In September 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld the order of the U.S. District Read More