In the latest sign of an increased emphasis on harassment, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently announced filing seven lawsuits against various employers charging them with harassment. Five of these claims involved alleged sexual harassment, two alleged racial harassment, and one also included a claim of harassment based on national origin.
On August 9, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a lawsuit filed by a group of independent drivers challenging a 2015 ordinance by the City of Seattle that allows ridesharing drivers to organize.
The “right-to-work” movement has been on a roll of late, as an increasing number of states (especially in the Midwest) have adopted laws putting such provisions on the books. Right-to-work laws generally make it unlawful to require a person to be or become a union member, or pay union dues, as a condition of initial or continued employment.
On May 4, 2017, New York City joined the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the City of Philadelphia when the Mayor signed legislation that bans employers from inquiring about the salary history of job applicants. These laws, which have the stated aim of reducing pay inequity along racial and gender lines, could have a wide-ranging influence on the way companies do business. The New York law is set to go into effect on October 31, 2017, although there is a possibility that the law’s implementation will be challenged, as the similar law has been in Philadelphia.
Since the election of President Trump, the California Legislature has been vocal and active in efforts to resist announced or anticipated actions of the Trump administration. This includes efforts to make California a “sanctuary state,” measures to protect California’s environmental standards, legislative resolutions and statements against the travel ban and other Trump proposals, and actions to provide services and support to immigrants in California.
A trio of bills introduced recently in the California Legislature seek to involve the lodging industry in efforts to combat human trafficking.
With the February 17 deadline to introduce bills in the California Legislature having come and gone, now is a good opportunity to take stock of what the coming year portends for labor and employment legislation in California. In short, the message for California employers is: “hang on – it’s going to be an interesting ride.”
Late yesterday, the Trump administration revoked Obama-era federal guidelines that had instructed public schools to permit transgender students to use bathrooms that match their gender identity.
The ink has yet to dry on Philadelphia’s newly-passed Wage Equity Ordinance and the Pennsylvania Senate has already passed a Bill that would preempt Philadelphia’s new law.
On Thursday, October 27th Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney signed into law legislation that expands the scope of the city’s prevailing wage ordinance to encompass service employees at universities, hospitals and other businesses that receive government funds. The legislations, which was unanimously approved by the Philadelphia City Council, goes into effect immediately. Philadelphia’s prevailing wage ordinance was first passed in the 1950s, but in recent years has been expanded to cover more workers in the city. In substance, the ordinance requires employers to pay employees in the city covered by the ordinance a prevailing wage which, as the city explains, “is a rate of pay determined by the U.S. Department of Labor based upon the particular geographic area for a given class of labor and type of project.” A prevailing wage, as defined by the law, is typically higher than the wages that an employer would otherwise pay and, in some instances, is tied to wage rates negotiated by unions. Both before and after the expansion of the ordinance was signed into law, Mayor Kenney and members of City Council issued statements making it clear that the change to the ordinance was intended to raise the wages for thousands of people working in Philadelphia.