Category Archives: Employment and Labour Law

EEOC Task Force Reconvenes to Discuss How to Transform #MeToo into Harassment-Free Workplaces

More than a year before #MeToo, a Select Task Force was created by President Obama to examine the problem of sexual harassment at the workplace. The Select Task Force consisted of a select group of outside experts who analyzed the causes and effects of workplace harassment and made recommendations what should be done to prevent it. The Select Task Force’s Report of the Co-Chairs of the Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace was published in 2016 before the #MeToo movement. The mission of the Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace was to determine the extent to which harassment impacts employees of various industries nationwide, as well as how best to mediate this behavior. The Task Force operated in conjunction with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and its eighteen (18) members include academics, lawyers, EEOC representatives, and other experts from all across the country.  The….. To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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Massachusetts “Red Flag” Law Permits Swift Action to Confiscate Weapons Based on a Risk of Injury

On July 3, 2018, Governor Baker signed a law permitting a court to order firearms and other weapons to be taken away from a licensed individual who “poses a risk of causing bodily injury to self or others” for any reason. This so-called “red flag” bill is similar to laws that have been increasingly passed in other states in the wake of mass shootings such as the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. The new law is designed to make it easier to remove guns from the equation where there is an indication that someone is in crisis or may engage in violence. In Parkland, police had been alerted to concerns about Nikolas Cruz’s violent propensities, but they had no legal authority to remove the guns he already owned. Although police chiefs in Massachusetts have broader discretion to suspend or revoke firearm licenses than authorities in many states (since here only someone whom a police chief determines to be a ”suitable person” according to….. To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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In the era of electronic enforcement, fidelity bond issues easily revealed on Form 5500

The July 31 due date (unless extended) to file Form 5500 for 2017 calendar year ERISA plans is creeping up on us. And if history be our guide, there will be many plan sponsors who don’t have a fidelity bond or one that is insufficient. It’s one of those check the boxes that can easily become a red flag for the Department of Labor (“DOL”) to take a closer look at the plan. It’s one of those line items that are highlighted in most 5500 databases that are in the public domain. In fact, some of the databases can indicate the number of years in which there has been no fidelity bond or one that is insufficient. The fidelity bond requirement is high up on the DOL’s compliance priorities, and it’s not a great leap in logic to assume that the they monitor this on Form 5500. After all, it’s the DOL who publishes the database. It could be a red flag for the DOL to take a closer look at the plan. One more caveat. A plan’s fiduciaries….. To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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State Attorneys General Investigating Use of Non-Competes by Fast Food Franchisors

On Monday, attorneys general in eleven states, including New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, California, and Illinois, revealed that they are investigating several prominent fast food franchisors for their potential use of no-poaching or non-compete agreements restricting the ability of low wage workers to obtain a better-paying job with another franchise. To that end, these attorneys general have propounded document and information requests to these restaurants, returnable August 6, 2018. In the Illinois AG’s press release, Attorney General Madigan stated that “No-poach agreements trap workers in low-wage jobs and limit their ability to seek promotion into higher-paying positions within the same chain of restaurants.” Madigan claims that at least 58 percent of major franchisors have no-poach provisions in their franchise agreements. This is not the first time that the Illinois AG has taken aim at non-compete agreements. Over two years ago, Madigan’s….. To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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Kavanaugh, the N-word, and Hostile Work Environment

To state a hostile work environment claim, an employee must allege that (s)he was subjected to discriminatory harassment that was "severe or pervasive." What about one incident? Obviously, that's not pervasive; but, when is one incident severe enough to create a hostile work environment?New SCOTUS nominee, Judge Kavanaugh, addressed this issue in a concurring opinion in Ayissi-Etoh v. Fannie Mae. A Fannie Mae vice president allegedly yelled at an African-American employee to "get out of my office ni**er." So, how about it? Was that one verbal incident enough? Judge Kavanaugh says yes:It may be difficult to fully catalogue the various verbal insults and epithets that by themselves could create a hostile work environment. And there may be close cases at the margins. But, in my view, being called the n-word by a supervisor—as Ayissi–Etoh alleges happened to him—suffices by itself to establish a racially hostile work environment . . . No….. To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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