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

    (1) Sessions Reverses DOJ Stance on Title VII

    Our top story: Attorney General Sessions has reversed the Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) stance on transgender employees. In a letter to all U.S. Attorneys and the heads of all federal agencies, Sessions said that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII) does not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. This reverses previous guidance under the Obama administration and conflicts with the position of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and some federal court decisions on the matter. Kate Rhodes, from Epstein Becker Green, has more:

    “The reversal of this policy statement has an effect on any pending cases where the issue is whether Title VII encompasses protections for transgender individuals. The Department of Justice is not a party to many of these cases but, based on its prior actions earlier this year, has shown a willingness to file amicus briefs asserting its position on the federal employment laws even if it is in contradiction to the EEOC’s position. So, I think we can anticipate going forward, the Department of Justice will continue to show willingness to intervene in cases which it’s not a party, to really hammer this point home.”

    (2) Trump Administration Narrows ACA Contraception Mandate

    The Trump administration broadened exceptions to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraception mandate. The Health and Human Services Department has issued new interim rules aimed at expanding employers’ ability to exempt themselves from the ACA’s requirement that employer health insurance programs provide coverage for birth control. Effective immediately, employers subject to the ACA’s mandate, both nonprofits and for-profit companies, can exclude birth control from their plans where they have “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions” against contraception. The move immediately prompted two lawsuits, both in a California district court. Other groups have announced plans to take action as well.

    For more, click here: ebglaw.com/eltw91-heal

    (3) High Court Hears Class-Action Waiver Arguments

    It looks like the U.S. Supreme Court is divided on class-action waivers. The High Court kicked off its new session with oral arguments on a key employment issue: class-action waivers in employee arbitration agreements. The justices seemed to focus on whether class-action waivers in arbitration agreements deprive employees of their right under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to act collectively by requiring them to arbitrate their claims on an individualized basis and barring class claims. For the second time this term, government lawyers argued both sides of the case, with National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Richard Griffin, an Obama appointee, arguing that such waivers violate the NLRA and Deputy Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall arguing that the Federal Arbitration Act trumps the NLRA.

    (4) Rhode Island Adopts Paid Sick Leave Policy

    Statewide paid sick leave is coming to Rhode Island. Starting July 2018, Rhode Island employers with 18 or more employees must offer paid sick and family leave to workers. According to a new law, employers will need to provide at least three paid sick days per year in 2018, rising to five days in 2020. Rhode Island is the eighth U.S. state to guarantee paid sick leave for workers. There are now 39 cities, counties, or states that have passed paid sick leave laws.

    (5) Tip of the Week

    Danielle Holley-Walker, Dean of Howard University School of Law, provides some advice on best practices in mentoring for leadership:

    “Offering mentorship programming focused on leadership can help increase the development of diverse employees. Have the mentees in your program identify their strengths and weaknesses, which will help prepare them for the mentorship program. Next, teach mentees to be proactive in communicating and asking for feedback. Help them to understand that the relationship is a two-way street—they have to do their part. Finally, encourage your senior mentors to use their network. Help provide connections for the mentees outside of your organization. This will help younger employees further develop their skills to become future leaders.”

    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 “Tip of the Week” offers one perspective on possible human resource ideas or business practices. It presents the perspective of an individual not affiliated with Epstein Becker Green and should not be considered legal advice. The content of these materials is copyrighted to Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. EMPLOYMENT LAW THIS WEEK® is a registered trademark of Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.

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  2. Extended long-term leave is not covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit says. An employee who had exhausted his Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave requested an additional two months off to recover from back surgery. Instead of granting the additional leave, the employer terminated his employment. The Seventh Circuit found that extending a long-term leave of absence beyond what is covered by the FMLA is not a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. This decision conflicts with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC’s) position, as well as rulings from the majority of other circuit courts. Josh Stein, from Epstein Becker Green, has more.

    This is an extended interview from Employment Law This Week® (Episode 90: Week of October 9, 2017), an online series by Epstein Becker Green. youtube.com/watch?v=k2vakU7suwg&t=1s

    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. EMPLOYMENT LAW THIS WEEK® is a registered trademark of Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.

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

    (1) Seventh Circuit: Extended Leave Not Covered Under ADA

    Our top story: Extended long-term leave is not covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit says. An employee who had exhausted his Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave requested an additional two months off to recover from back surgery. Instead of granting the additional leave, the employer terminated his employment. The Seventh Circuit found that extending a long-term leave of absence beyond what is covered by the FMLA is not a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. This decision conflicts with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC’s) position, as well as rulings from the majority of other circuit courts. Josh Stein, from Epstein Becker Green, has more.

    For more, click here: http://bit.ly/2xkYxsY

    (2) EEOC Issues Status Report on Wellness Program Regulations

    In August, the D.C. Circuit remanded the current wellness program rules back to the EEOC for further consideration, leaving the rules in place. The court was not satisfied with the agency’s explanation as to why limiting the incentive to 30 percent of the cost of coverage rendered a program “voluntary” as opposed to “involuntary.” The EEOC has filed a status report with the court stating that the agency intends to issue a final rule by October 2019, with an effective date of early 2021. In response to this timeline, the AARP, which brought the suit, has urged the court to vacate the 2016 rules.

    (3) Equifax Breach Prompts Cybersecurity Law in New York State

    Calling the hack a "wakeup call," New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced proposed regulations. Every consumer reporting agency that assembles, evaluates, or maintains a credit report on New York consumers will be affected. Under the proposed rules, these agencies will be subject to the same cybersecurity standards as New York banks and other financial institutions. The agencies must have a written cybersecurity program in place by April 4, 2018. Failure to comply would mean that a company could no longer do business in the state.

    For more, click here: http://bit.ly/2wzHXWx

    (4) New Travel Restrictions Announced

    Following the expiration of his revised travel ban, President Trump issued a proclamation imposing new country-specific travel restrictions for foreign nationals. Unlike the previous ban, this proclamation directs the State Department to deny certain types of visas to particular applicants in each country. There are exceptions, including those who have bona fide relationships to a U.S. person or entity, diplomats, dual nationals, and previously admitted refugees.

    (5) Tip of the Week

    Nate Saint-Victor, Executive Director of Legal and Compliance for Morgan Stanley, discusses how important it is for lawyers to focus on diversity:

    “I think it’s very important at the private law firms, but it’s also important in-house, and maybe arguably more important in-house, because the in-house clients, they’ve got a book of business, they have a lot of influence on the broader legal profession. They’re having conversations with and making decisions about where they’re going to allocate capital. And we have the ability to have those conversations with outside counsel to ensure that they’re committing, as we are, to diversity and inclusion. For example, with Morgan Stanley, our outside counsel policy clearly articulates a shared commitment on diversity and inclusion that’s expected with any law firm that’s working on our matters.”

    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 “Tip of the Week” offers one perspective on possible human resource ideas or business practices. It presents the perspective of an individual not affiliated with Epstein Becker Green and should not be considered legal advice. The content of these materials is copyrighted to Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. EMPLOYMENT LAW THIS WEEK® is a registered trademark of Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.

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  4. The Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) 2016 overtime rule has been permanently enjoined and appears to be dead in the water. With the comment period for the DOL’s new Request for Information ending last week, there will probably be a new overtime rule issued in the near future. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta has said that he believes the salary threshold for overtime exemptions should be around $33,000. Paul DeCamp, a former Administrator of the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division, now with Epstein Becker Green, gives us some context.

    For more, click here: http://bit.ly/2fCBIOt

    This is an extended interview from Employment Law This Week® (Episode 89: Week of October 2, 2017), an online series by Epstein Becker Green. youtube.com/watch?v=xdoiQzywxeo

    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. EMPLOYMENT LAW THIS WEEK® is a registered trademark of Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.

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  5. Under the Obama administration, we saw significant attempts to expand the definition of “employee” to workers who previously had been treated as independent contractors. The Wage and Hour Division issued an Administrator’s Interpretation establishing a presumption that almost anyone doing work for an employer was an “employee.” But the White House and Republicans in Congress are working to reverse this trend under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the NLRA. The DOL has withdrawn the Administrator’s Interpretation and Congress is considering several options on the issue. Steve Swirsky, from Epstein Becker Green, tells us what’s on the horizon.

    For more, click here: http://bit.ly/2fCBIOt

    This is an extended interview from Employment Law This Week® (Episode 89: Week of October 2, 2017), an online series by Epstein Becker Green. youtube.com/watch?v=xdoiQzywxeo

    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. EMPLOYMENT LAW THIS WEEK® is a registered trademark of Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.

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Employment Law This Week® tracks the top developments in employment and labor law and workforce management in a matter of minutes every #WorkforceWednesday. Presented by law firm Epstein Becker Green. Learn more at ebglaw.com/employment-law-this-week/

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