The Fifth Circuit Rules that the EEOC’s Guidance Limiting the Use of Criminal History is Unenforceable — What Does this Mean for Private Employers?

On August 6, 2019, in State of Texas v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) exceeded its authority in issuing its Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions under Title VII of the …read more »

Supreme Court Cautions Employers Not to Delay Asserting Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies Defense in Title VII Cases

Most federal laws prohibiting discrimination and retaliation, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), require plaintiffs to first file an administrative charge alleging discrimination or retaliation with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) or the state-agency equivalent before they may file a lawsuit alleging such discrimination or retaliation.  If …read more »

State Medical Marijuana Laws Provide Increasing Protections for Applicants and Employees

As more states approve marijuana’s medical use, employers must understand the significant legal developments and how they affect the workplace. New Mexico and Oklahoma have recently passed medical marijuana laws with provisions that provide employment protections for applicants and employees. Below is a discussion of those protections, several of which are the types of protections …read more »

Workplace Rumors that a Female Employee “Slept With” a Male Supervisor to Obtain a Promotion Can Lead to a Sex Discrimination Claim

Can a false rumor that a female employee slept with her male boss to obtain a promotion ever give rise to her employer’s liability for sex discrimination? The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit answered this question in the affirmative. In Parker v. Reema Consulting Services, Inc., No. 18-1206 (4th Cir. Feb. 8, …read more »

When the Government Shuts Down, So Does E-Verify

Government shutdowns seem to be occurring all too frequently.  Although President Trump recently signed a bill to end the most recent government shutdown on January 25, 2019, it is only a short-term bill, which means another shutdown could be looming in the coming weeks. Government shutdowns cause numerous issues, but one that employers should be …read more »

Jury in the Southern District of Texas Finds that Mud Engineers are Exempt from Overtime under the FLSA

On October 25, 2018, a jury in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas decided that drilling fluid specialists, also known as “mud engineers,” were exempt from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) under the white collar, administrative exemption.  This case is one of the very few FLSA cases …read more »

Do Employees Have to Return Severance Pay Before Filing Suit Under Title VII and the EPA?

Many employers have had employees sign separation agreements releasing all claims in exchange for severance pay.  But what happens when an employee signs a separation agreement and receives severance pay, but then changes her mind, alleging that she was pressured into signing the agreement and that the release is invalid, and decides to pursue her …read more »

FMLA vs. FLSA: The DOL Weighs in on Whether Employers Need to Compensate FMLA-Protected Rest Breaks

After a nine year hiatus, the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor (“DOL”) recently resumed its longstanding practice of issuing opinion letters to help employers in interpreting laws like the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). In an April 12, 2018 press release issued by …read more »

EEOC Releases Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2018-2022

On February 12, 2018, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) unanimously approved its Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2018 through 2022.  Congress requires federal government agencies like the EEOC to formulate strategic plans every four years and publish their plans on their website.  According to the EEOC, the Strategic Plan serves as the framework for …read more »