Posts from November 2012.
Time 4 Minute Read

In an opinion issued on October 18, 2012, the Federal District Court of Massachusetts provided clarity and relief for private equity firms on the significant, but murky, question of whether a private equity fund can be liable for the ERISA pension obligations (including multiemployer withdrawal liability and defined benefit pension plan underfunding) of its portfolio companies.

Time 4 Minute Read

In September, the Newark Municipal Council passed Ordinance 12-1630, which prohibits any employer with five or more employees from asking job candidates before or during the application process about their criminal history (i.e., the ordinance “bans the box” from an employment application). 

Time 3 Minute Read

The employer shared responsibility rules under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will go into effect in 2014.  Government guidance was issued earlier this year on an important aspect of these rules – the determination of who is a full time employee.

Time 3 Minute Read

The Supreme Court of Virginia recently ruled in VanBuren v. Grubb that supervisors or managers who participate in the termination of an employee may be held liable in claims of wrongful discharge.  This ruling is significant because it places supervisors in the shoes of their employers and threatens them with liability.

Time 4 Minute Read

The National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB”) General Counsel recently released an analysis of contested at-will employment clauses in two employment handbooks and ultimately concluded that neither violated the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”).

Employees had filed charges with the NLRB alleging that the at-will employment clauses contained in the employee handbooks distributed by Rocha Transportation, a California trucking company, and SWH Corporation d/b/a Mimi’s Café, a restaurant in Arizona, defined at-will employment so broadly that employees would reasonably think that they could not engage in activity protected by the NLRA.  The clause contained in Rocha Transportation’s handbook advised its employees that their employment is at-will and may be terminated at any time.  It also stated that “No manager, supervisor, or employee of Rocha Transportation has any authority to enter into an agreement for employment for any specified period of time or to make an agreement for employment other than at-will.  Only the president of the Company has the authority to make any such agreement and then only in writing.”  Mimi’s Café’s description of at-will employment in its handbook included the sentence: “No representative of the Company has authority to enter into any agreement contrary to the foregoing “employment at will” relationship.”  The NLRB’s Division of Advice prepared two memos which found that each of the clauses described above were lawful.

Time 2 Minute Read

A 2-1 California Court of Appeal held on October 17 that drivers for a food service provider did not have to arbitrate their state statutory claims brought under the California Labor Code despite a binding arbitration agreement covering the “application or interpretation” of the driver agreements.  The drivers alleged that their employer, Mike Campbell & Associates, misclassified them as independent contractors, denying them wage law protections under the California Labor Code, and was thus liable for nonpayment of wages, illegal deductions, and recordkeeping violations.  Rather than challenge the trial court’s ruling that they were bound by the arbitration clause, the drivers argued that their statutory claims did not arise out of the arbitration agreement and thus did not require an interpretation of the arbitration clause. 


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