Posts from June 2020.
Time 3 Minute Read

On June 12, 2020, the D.C. Circuit vacated a component of an NLRB decision that expanded employee rights under NLRB v. J. Weingarten. The D.C. Circuit rejected the NLRB’s determination that a mere statement of fact constituted an employee’s requests for union representation.

In a dispute between Circus Circus Casinos, Inc. (the “Employer”) and an employee, the Employer, pursuant to OSHA regulations and internal policies, required the employee to submit to a medical examination prior to participating in a fitting process for necessary equipment, to ensure the equipment would not jeopardize the employee’s safety. The employee refused to take the medical examination and returned to work. The Employer suspended the employee, pending an investigation into the employee’s refusal to take the mandatory medical examination. At the investigatory interview, the employee stated, “I called the union three times [and] nobody showed up, I’m here without representation.” The Employer proceeded with the interview, which culminated in the employee’s termination.

Time 4 Minute Read

An employer’s obligations under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) are triggered when it obtains a “consumer report” from a “consumer reporting agency” for use in making an employment decision. A federal court in the Middle District of Florida is set to rule on a summary judgment motion clarifying whether a business that transmits public records unaltered to a prospective employer is a “consumer reporting agency”.

Time 7 Minute Read

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed employers to an influx of novel employment law issues.  Many employers already have experienced an uptick in related internal complaints or litigation. Below we identify five particular employment law liabilities employers may be exposed to once the dust settles from the pandemic.

Wage and Hour Claims

The shift to telework during the coronavirus pandemic has forced many employers to set aside traditional tracking mechanisms that are used to determine when employees take breaks and clock off. As a result, employers may be vulnerable to employee claims that employers failed to provide and/or pay for all required meal periods, rest breaks, and overtime for remote and on-site employees. To proactively minimize potential wage and hour related claims, employers should ensure to the extent possible that employees are properly compensated for all hours worked. In addition, employers can minimize minimum wage violations by complying with applicable federal, state and local laws that may require employers to reimburse employees for certain expenses incurred in order to telework, such as cell phone, high-speed internet, or other equipment costs. Moreover, employers should consider encouraging managers to execute best supervisory practices in the telework environment, including setting clear expectations with employees, conducting regular check-ins, promptly addressing issues, and making other efforts to maintain clear communication.

Time 3 Minute Read

A federal district court in Florida recently declined to conditionally certify a nationwide collective action brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) because the plaintiff did not show sufficient evidence that she was similarly situated to other restaurant managers who wanted to join.

Time 1 Minute Read

We are pleased to announce that the Labor and Employment team at Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP has been recognized as practice leaders in Immigration and Labor and Employment Disputes (Including Collective Actions): Defense by The Legal 500. Eleven individual lawyers on HuntonAK’s Labor and Employment and Immigration Team also were acknowledged.

Time 1 Minute Read

Originally published by SHRM, Jayde Brown and Amber Rogers discuss challenges employers may face when vacation scheduling conflicts arise once employees return to work.  Read more here.

Time 2 Minute Read

In a 6-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on an employee’s sexual orientation and/or transgendered status.  Though Title VII does not expressly mention “sexual orientation” or “transgender,” the Court held that “homosexuality and transgender status are inextricably bound up with sex” and that “it is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex”—a protected class under Title VII.

Time 1 Minute Read

An interdisclipinary effort navigating all aspects of workplace hazards, safety and compliance through all phases of the global health pandemic.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP has been advising some of the largest companies in the country regarding COVID-19 in the workplace, including assisting companies in developing workplace policies and procedures, advising on compliance with agency guidance and shutdown orders, assessing future claims risk and developing mitigation strategies to reduce risk. As the inevitable first wave of COVID-19 ...

Time 5 Minute Read

As indicated in our previous blog on this topic, on May 30, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a two page order invalidating five elements of the NLRB’s 2019 election regulation, based on Count One of the plaintiff’s complaint.  On June 7, the court issued its promised memorandum opinion further explaining that order.

The opinion makes three key points.

Time 1 Minute Read

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP partners Deidre DuncanAmber Rogers and Emily Burkhardt Vicente were named among Profiles in Diversity Journal’s 2020 Women Worth Watching®. The honorees, whose profiles will appear in the journal’s summer issue, represent women executives from nonprofit, corporate and government sectors whose accomplishments and contributions have broken new ground.

Based in Washington, DC, Duncan is the Environmental Practice Leader and focuses on environmental, energy and administrative law relating to water and natural resource issues ...

Time 4 Minute Read

Under ERISA, a plaintiff must file a lawsuit within six years of an alleged breach of fiduciary duty, or within three years if the plaintiff had “actual knowledge” of the breach. There has been a longstanding split among the circuits regarding what constitutes “actual knowledge” for purposes of determining whether ERISA’s three-year limitations period should apply. On February 26, 2020, the Supreme Court settled this issue in Intel Corp. Investment Policy Committee v. Sulyma, 140 S. Ct. 768 (2020).  In that decision, the Supreme Court held that a participant must have a genuine subjective awareness of information, and, therefore, the mere availability of plan disclosures will not, in itself, establish “actual knowledge” of a potential breach of fiduciary duty under ERISA.

Time 2 Minute Read

As we have previously reported here, here, and here, Virginia has enacted several new labor and employment laws that are poised to dramatically change the legal landscape for employers in Virginia.  In addition to the laws discussed above, Virginia has also enacted “ban the box” legislation for simple possession of marijuana.

Time 2 Minute Read

On May 14, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a final rule stating that group health plans, including employer-sponsored health plans, are not required to count the value of drug manufacturer coupons toward participant deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums (the “Final Rule”).  The Final Rule, published in HHS's Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2021, allows group health plans to exclude the value of drug manufacturer coupons from participant annual cost-sharing amounts even where no medically appropriate generic drug is available.

Time 3 Minute Read

In mid-May the NLRB established a clear rule regarding stray marks on ballots in union representation elections, eradicating years of convoluted and inconsistent precedent. The decision, which applied retroactively, resulted in a union’s failure to amass a majority of the votes and, consequently, a reversal of the Regional Director’s Decision and Certification of Representation.

In a dispute between Providence Portland Medical Center (the “Employer”) and Service Employees International Union Local 49 (the “Union”), the representation election was decided by the narrowest margin, ultimately resulting in 383 votes for representation, and 382 votes against representation. Included in the mix was a single ballot with a clear “X” in the “Yes” box and a dark diagonal line with a smudge mark in the “No” box. The ALJ and Regional Director applied Board precedent and both concluded that the smudge mark on the diagonal line in the “No” box was an “obvious attempt at erasure,” resulting in the ballot being counted in favor of representation.

Time 3 Minute Read

One day before they were to go into effect, the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. blocked portions of the NLRB’s recently promulgated election rule, but left the agency free to implement the remainder.  American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations v. National Labor Relations Board, Civ. No. 20-cv-0675 (KBJ) (May 30, 2020).

Specifically, the Court granted the AFL-CIO’s motion for summary judgment “with respect to Count One of the Complaint”, but “will not vacate the remainder of the rule,” which was “remanded to the NLRB for reconsideration in light of this Court’s ruling.”


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