1. Welcome to Employment Law This Week! Subscribe to our channel for new episodes every Monday!

    This week's stories include . . .

    (1) EEOC Calls for Increased Harassment Prevention
    Our top story: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) urges increased harassment prevention measures in the workplace. About one third of charges filed with the agency in 2015 involved claims of some form of harassment. The agency recommends that employers update their worker training to focus on bystander intervention and workplace civility. In addition, employers should increase their own awareness of risk factors. These include physical isolation of workers and significant power disparities. Bill Milani, from Epstein Becker Green, has more:

    "The report suggests employers should take a number of actions concerning harassment in the workplace. First, an audit of organizational risk factors as outlined by EEOC. ... Second, a review of your policies against discrimination and harassment to ensure that they are current, they reference all of the protected classes, not just sexual harassment, but harassment based on race, color, religion, ethnicity. Training. Training is vital. Training for all employees on anti-harassment. ... On top of the training that all employees received, managers trained to understand their heightened responsibilities as the employer, managers trained to understand their role in the complaint procedure. And finally, crucial that leadership embrace and be accountable for issues of workplace conduct."

    (2) SEC Chairman Pushes Board Diversity Disclosure
    The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) calls for board diversity disclosure. SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White is advocating a new regulation requiring companies to disclose information about the racial and gender diversity of their boards. White contends that existing disclosures do not provide investors with enough information and pointed out that female directors comprise just 20 percent of Fortune 500 companies. The timeline for issuing the proposed regulation has not yet been announced.

    (3) Chicago City Council Approves Paid Sick Leave
    Employers in the city of Chicago will soon be required to offer up to 40 hours of paid sick leave a year. The City Council unanimously approved the paid sick leave ordinance, which will apply to all individuals and businesses with at least one employee. Chicago will now join more than two dozen other U.S. cities that require employers to provide paid sick leave. The mayor is expected to sign the ordinance, which is scheduled to go into effect July 1, 2017.

    For more on this story, click here: http://bit.ly/2a2yLzz

    (4) NJ Justices Extend Reach of Law Against Discrimination
    The New Jersey Supreme Court extends the state’s Law Against Discrimination. A medical response services company fired an employee who was going through a marital separation with a coworker. The termination was based on a supervisor’s assumption that it would likely lead to an "ugly divorce." The Court ruled that the marital status protection in the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination applies in this case, effectively expanding the law to include protections for separated, divorced, and widowed employees.

    (5) Tip of the Week
    Diane DiResta, Founder and CEO of DiResta Communications, shares some advice for in-house counsel on how to be more media savvy:

    "Today more than ever before, everybody needs broadcasting skills, even if you’re in-house counsel. Maybe you’re never talking to the national media, but you will be interviewed at a conference, and it may be over telepresence or live stream. So it’s really important that people have media and broadcasting skills. ... The first thing you need to know is, what is your message? Create message points for yourself and always remember the rule of three. Three is that magical number. People remember things in threes. So have three distinct messages. The second thing to be aware of is you need to keep it simple. ... The way you do that is to create sound bites. A sound bite is a quotable quote. It’s a sentence or two that can easily be lifted. ... The third thing is to stay on message. And what I mean by that is that it’s easy to go off in another direction, so use the skill of bridging. What bridging is, is you answer the reporter or interviewer’s question, and then you always bridge back to your message. ...Those messages are your home base. And that’s how you succeed in a media interview."

    Visit EmploymentLawThisWeek.com.

    These materials have been provided for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. The content of these materials is copyrighted to Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.

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  2. Welcome to Employment Law This Week! Subscribe to our channel for new episodes every Monday!

    This week's stories include . . .

    (1) NJ Supreme Court Voids Filing Deadline
    Our top story: The New Jersey Supreme Court voids a time limit on discrimination claims. A furniture store employee filed a discrimination claim nine months after he was fired, alleging he was terminated in retaliation for filing a worker’s comp claim. While the state of New Jersey has a two-year time limit for filing claims under the Law Against Discrimination, the worker had signed a job application with the company that imposed a six-month time limit. In a landmark decision, the New Jersey Supreme Court reversed appellate and trial decisions in this case, ruling that the contract violates public policy. Carmine Iannaccone, from Epstein Becker Green, tells us how this ruling could impact the way that employers use their job applications:

    "Employers really use employment applications for a lot of reasons, in addition to finding out background and experience and making employment decisions. They do use the application to remind the employee about the at-will employment status. They use it to obtain commitments to arbitrate, and if, as the court said, employment applications are, by definition, contracts of adhesion, it may be that employers are going to have to look carefully at their employment applications and maybe separate out arbitration commitments and other agreements that the employee makes in signing the employment application, because the court believes that there isn’t meaningful bargaining and the employee really isn’t in a position to agree to things in the employment application process."

    (2) EEOC Releases Sample Employee Wellness Notice
    As part of its final rule on wellness programs, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) stipulated that employers that ask employees medical questions as part of a wellness program must post a notice to participants. The agency recently issued a sample notice for employers to use as a guide, providing much-needed clarification on the issue. According to the sample, the notice must clearly explain what information will be collected, how it will be used, who will have access to the information, and how it will be kept confidential.

    (3) DOL Clarifies Timeline of “Persuader Rule” Enforcement
    The Department of Labor (DOL) spells out the timeline for its amended “Persuader Rule.” The Office of Labor Management Services indicated that indirect persuader activities do not need to be reported if they arise from agreements entered into before July 1, 2016. Indirect activities occur when a persuader does not directly communicate with employees. Under the amended Persuader Rule, employers and labor relations consultants, including law firms, will be required to report indirect activities. Activities arising from arrangements made by this Thursday will not need to be reported.

    In related news, an injunction against this amended rule was denied last week, though a U.S. district court judge in Minnesota found that the DOL likely exceeded its authority in changing the advice exception. There are two other challenges to this amended rule currently in the courts.

    For more on this story, click here: http://bit.ly/28TNDEc

    Find more on the district court case here: http://bit.ly/28SWK4t

    (4) First Circuit Upholds Reversal of Pin Ban
    A Honda dealer's dress code banning pins violates the rights of employees under the National Labor Relations Act to wear union insignia. That’s according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, which recently upheld a decision by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on the matter. The Honda dealer significantly revised its handbook in 2013 after challenges from employees, but it failed to get rid of its ban on pins. The NLRB rejected the ban, and the company appealed to the First Circuit. In a split decision, the First Circuit backed the NLRB, granting its petition for enforcement. The dissenting judge argued that the majority’s decision makes it difficult for businesses to enforce dress code policies, allowing the NLRB to play “fashion police.”

    (5) Tip of the Week
    Vera Sullivan, Founder and President of Diversityforce LLC, shares some advice on building partnerships to achieve organizational goals.

    Visit EmploymentLawThisWeek.com.

    These materials have been provided for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. The content of these materials is copyrighted to Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.

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  3. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a whistleblower award of more than $17 million. It is the second-largest award in the history of the agency’s whistleblower program. Awards range from 10% to 30% of monetary sanctions that exceed $1 million. This award marks the end of a one-month period—from May 13 through June 9—in which five whistleblowers received more than $26 million. Victoria Sloan Lin, from Epstein Becker Green, goes into further detail.

    This is an extended interview segment from Employment Law This Week (Episode 31: Week of June 20, 2016), an online series by Epstein Becker Green - http://bit.ly/1ZWOkeP

    Visit EmploymentLawThisWeek.com.

    These materials have been provided for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. The content of these materials is copyrighted to Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.

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  4. Welcome to Employment Law This Week! Subscribe to our channel for new episodes every Monday!

    This week's stories include . . .

    (1) SEC Awards $17 Million to Whistleblower - http://bit.ly/1Unz9tD
    Our top story: The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issues a whistleblower award of more than $17 million. The SEC has issued the second-largest award in the history of the agency’s whistleblower program. Awards range from 10% to 30% of monetary sanctions that exceed $1 million. This award marks the end of a one-month period—from May 13 through June 9—in which five whistleblowers received more than $26 million. Victoria Sloan Lin, from Epstein Becker Green, has more:

    "We’ve seen four large awards issued since May 13th of this year. However, we shouldn’t read too much into this. Each investigation is unique and proceeds along its own timeline. . . . These large awards have increased awareness of the whistleblower program and may incentivize individuals to come forward with information to the SEC. But that information still needs to lead to a successful enforcement action by the SEC. . . . However, the publicity should incentivize employers to increase their compliance efforts and thus decrease the number of large awards we see in the future."

    (2) Fifth Circuit Upholds Union Election Rules - http://bit.ly/1rtwtQA
    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upholds the “quickie” union election rules of the National Labor Relation Board (NLRB). Last year, the NLRB implemented new rules that allow for faster union elections. The rules prevent employers from challenging union campaigns until after the elections and also require them to share employee information with unions. Employer groups have filed a number of challenges, arguing that the new rules violate employers’ free speech rights and employees’ privacy rights. In this case, the Fifth Circuit disagreed.

    (3) IRS Clarifies Taxability of Wellness Program Rewards - http://bit.ly/1Qc0lg4
    Cash rewards for wellness programs are taxable. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released a Chief Counsel Advice memorandum addressing rewards for wellness programs. The memorandum states that, other than actual medical care, any award issued by a medical program is taxable. This would include the reimbursement of an employee’s gym membership. However, the memorandum clarifies that a product or service with minimal value (like a t-shirt) can be classified as a “de minimis” fringe benefit, which would not taxable.

    (4) NLRB Scraps Rule on Mixed-Guard Unit Recognition - http://bit.ly/1sJT5hb
    The NLRB reverses its mixed-guard unit recognition rule. If a union represents both security guards and other employee groups, then an employer’s decision to recognize the union is voluntary. Before this decision, employers could also withdraw their recognition if no collective bargaining agreement was reached. Now, employers must continue to recognize the union unless and until the employees vote to decertify it in an NLRB election.

    For more on new barriers to decertifying unions, click here: http://bit.ly/1UdsSOZ

    (5) In-House Tip of the Week - http://bit.ly/1UT2ewY
    Sara Marzitelli, People Manager at Sweaty Betty USA, shares her advice on using social media in recruitment practices:

    "Employers who wish to use social media in their pre-hire recruitment should always make sure that they designate a search person who is not the decision-maker in the hiring process. . . The search person should always make sure that they’re doing the social media searches at the same point in the hiring process each time. For example, if the search is always done before the candidate is interviewed, they should make sure they do that with every applicant. . . The designated search person should make sure that they’re not conveying any protected characteristics or activities to the hiring manager in the process. This will protect the employer from the applicant making claims that they used a protected characteristic or activity for a basis for not hiring the applicant. . . As with all hiring decisions, employers should make sure that they have a legitimate basis for not hiring an employee."

    Visit EmploymentLawThisWeek.com.

    These materials have been provided for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. The content of these materials is copyrighted to Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.

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  5. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the clock for constructive discharge claims starts with resignation, resolving a circuit split on the issue. An employee for the U.S. Postal Service filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charge alleging constructive discharge 41 days after he submitted his resignation but 96 days after the last allegedly discriminatory act. A federal civil servant must contact the EEOC within 45 days of the “matter alleged to be discriminatory.” The lower court dismissed the employee’s claim, but the Supreme Court reversed this decision, ruling that the clock for constructive discharge claims begins when an employee gives notice of resignation, not after the employer's last act of bias. Lauren Malanga Casey, from Epstein Becker Green, has more.

    Visit EmploymentLawThisWeek.com.

    These materials have been provided for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. The content of these materials is copyrighted to Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.

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Employment Law This Week®

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Welcome to Employment Law This Week®, presented by Epstein Becker Green. This online video program – among the first of its kind in the legal industry – will deliver the most significant stories and developments in employment, labor, and workforce management…


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Welcome to Employment Law This Week®, presented by Epstein Becker Green. This online video program – among the first of its kind in the legal industry – will deliver the most significant stories and developments in employment, labor, and workforce management issues in about five minutes, each week.

Tune in each week for developments that may affect your business. Learn more at ebglaw.com/employment-law-this-week/

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