EEOC vs. Company Wellness Programs

November 3, 2014

By Felicity Hanks, Esq. (fhanks@hillwallack.com)

With its third lawsuit in as many months, the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has made known its condemnation for certain aspects of company wellness programs. Its focus, in part, appears to be on the voluntariness of participation in such programs, and the agency claims that incentive plans which result in penalties or discipline for those individuals that choose not to participate in the wellness programs make the programs compulsory and thus violative of federal law. (more…)

Minimum Wage Increases for Federal Contract Workers Moves Forward

October 20, 2014

By Felicity Hanks, Esq. fhanks@hillwallack.com

In February 2014, President Obama issued Executive Order 13658 which established an hourly minimum wage of $10.10 for federal contract workers. The President’s directive was grounded on increasing efficiency, recognizing that: “[r]aising the pay of low-wage workers increases their morale and the productivity and quality of their work, lowers turnover and its accompanying costs, and reduces supervisory costs. These savings and quality improvements will lead to improved economy and efficiency in Government procurement.” The minimum wage increase to $10.10 becomes effective for new and replacement contracts solicited or awarded on or after January 1, 2015. Commencing on January 1, 2016, and annually thereafter, the U.S. Secretary of Labor will set the minimum wage amount. (more…)

CNN Deemed Joint-Employer of Contracted Workers

September 29, 2014

By Felicity S. Hanks, Esq. (fhanks@hillwallack.com

On September 15, 2014 CNN became yet another company that has come out on the losing end of the employer-employee worker classification dispute.  The National Labor Relations Board held that CNN unlawfully engaged in anti-union animus when it terminated its contract with unionized subcontractor Team Video Service (TVS), which provided electrical equipment operators for the network.  In cancelling the TVS contract, CNN would not bargain with the TVS labor union, insourced the electrical technician work, and hired only non-union workers to fill those positions.

Medical Marijuana Use or Employer Rights – Which Comes First?

September 26, 2014

By: Susan L. Swatski, Esq. (sswatski@hillwallack.com)

On September 30, 2014, the Colorado Supreme Court is set to hear argument in Coats v. Dish Network, L.L.C., about an employee’s right to use medical marijuana during non-work hours, and the employer’s right to test for the drug and discipline users. At issue is the right of an employee to use medically prescribed marijuana to help with painful spasms when he/she is not at work. Dish Network contends that it should not have to retain employees whose marijuana use violates federal law and whose performance as a result of their marijuana use could be an issue. (more…)

California Court Finds Teacher Employment Statutes Unconstitutional

July 11, 2014

By Felicity S. Hanks, Esq. (fhanks@hillwallack.com)

In a decision that has sparked interest from the beaches of Malibu to the beaches of Sea Isle, a Los Angeles County, California Superior Court ruled that three teacher employment laws – California’s Permanent Employment, Dismissal, and LIFO (last in, first out) Statutes – were unconstitutional.*[1]

Decided on June 10, 2014, the case, Vergara v. California, was brought by nine California public school students claiming that the statutes resulted in “grossly ineffective teachers” attaining tenured positions which disproportionately affected low income and minority students. The Court agreed, ruling that the three statutes violated the children’s fundamental right to equality of education. (more…)

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