U.S. Supreme Court Eases Standard for Employees to Sue Employers Concerning Denied Religious Accommodations in the Workplace

The U.S. Supreme Court recently issued its decision in Groff v. DeJoy, Postmaster General, making it easier for employees to sue employers that fail to offer religious workplace accommodations. In its ruling, the Court revived a Title VII lawsuit that former U.S. Postal Service (USPS) employee and Evangelical Christian Gerald Groff had filed after the USPS would not accommodate his religious practices. When the Read More

U.S. Supreme Court Eliminates Affirmative Action in Higher Education

On June 29, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, in which it struck down affirmative action in higher education. The decision ended 40 years of colleges and universities being able to consider race as a factor in their admissions processes. The case arose from two lawsuits in which Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. Read More

NLRB Ruling Modifies Independent Contractor Test

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently issued a ruling in Atlanta Opera, Inc., which alters the test employers must use to determine whether workers are independent contractors or employees. In its decision, the NLRB ruled that makeup artists, wig artists, and hairstylists working at the Atlanta Opera were employees, not independent contractors. As a result of the ruling, the workers could file an Read More

EEOC Issues Guidance on AI Usage in Employment Practices

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued new guidance on using artificial intelligence (AI) in employment practices under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Specifically, the EEOC advises that employers may not rely on representations by vendors that their AI tool complies with Title VII. Instead, they must ensure that the tool has no adverse discriminatory impact. Otherwise, the Read More

DOL’s Conflicting Versions of Independent Contractor Standard Under FLSA

In January 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) under the Trump administration issued a final rule defining the standard for when a worker is an independent contractor for the purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This standard remains in effect, although the DOL under the Biden administration issued a new proposed rule redefining the standard in October 2022. According to House Republican Read More

New York Starbucks Workers Move to Decertify Union at Buffalo, Rochester Stores

Employees at two New York Starbucks stores – Buffalo and Rochester - filed decertification petitions within two weeks of one another, seeking to dissolve the unions at those stores. The Buffalo store was the original center of the union organization movement in the high-dollar coffee chain. Workers United, the union representing both stores, attributes the decertification petitions to union-busting tactics and Read More

Twitter Drastically Decreases Parental Leave Policy

Twitter has decreased the amount of paid parental leave that it previously offered some U.S. employees by as much as 90%. The San Francisco-based social media company formerly offered employees 20 weeks of paid parental leave. According to an internal memo, Twitter will now provide 12 weeks of paid leave for birthing employees and two weeks of paid leave for non-birthing employees, subject to any requirements under Read More

U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Whistleblower Retaliation Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear Murray v. UBS Securities, LLC, a case concerning the protections against retaliation for employee whistleblowers under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. The legal issue involve whether the whistleblower bears the burden of proving that an employer acted with retaliatory intent or whether the employer bears the burden of proving that it had no intent to retaliate against the Read More

Remote Work May Not Be the Only Cause of Worker Productivity Decrease

According to a recent study based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, American worker productivity has declined for an unprecedented five straight quarters in a row. Remote work critics claim that returning to traditional, in-office work will cure the problem. However, other factors may also contribute to the decline in worker productivity. First, employers are working longer hours than last year but Read More

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA): What Employers Need to Know

A new federal law, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), became effective on June 27, 2023. PWFA adds to existing protections for pregnant workers under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the PWFA, employers with fifteen or more qualified employees in both the public and private sectors must provide reasonable accommodations to employees with known Read More