New Employment Law Updates to FLSA, ERISA, Retaliatory Discharge and Title VII!

1) Wait time to go through security screenings for workers is not compensable under the FLSA and the Portal to Portal Act, because it is not part of the principal activities the employees were hired to perform. Integrity Staffing Solutions Inc. v. Busk (12/09/2014);

2) Air Marshalls disclosure to the media about a cancellation of overnight shifts and information about a potential hijacking scheme protected under Federal Whistleblower Protection Act, because TSA regulations are not sufficient to prohibit disclosure. Air Marshall’s termination for such disclosure was prohibited.  Department of Homeland Security v. MacLean (01/21/2015);

3) Department of Labor said Mortgage Brokers do not qualify for the Administrative exemption from the requirement to pay overtime wages. This reversed a prior letter opinion issued without notice and comment.  DOL allowed to reverse itself and offer interpretive opinions of rules without having to go through notice and comment process.  Perez v. Mortgage Broker’s Association (o3/09/2015);

4) No presumption in favor of the vesting of retiree benefits in interpreting Collective Bargaining Agreements.  CBA’s should be interpreted like any other contracts based on the plan meaning of the terms in the contract, barring conflict with Federal Labor Laws.  To interpret based on a customary meaning there has to be evidence of such a customary meaning.  Retiree health care benefits are not a form of deferred compensation.  If a contract is silent on the duration of the benefits, then a court cannot infer that the parties meant the duration to be the lifetime of the retiree.   M&G Polymers USA LLC v. Tackett (01/26/2015);

5) The EEOC must engage in legitimate efforts to conciliate prior to filing a law suit on behalf of an employee that it finds was reasonably discriminated against under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The EEOC’s conciliation efforts are subject to judicial review, but not a good faith requirement a bare minimum requirement prior to initiating a lawsuit.  Mach Mining v. EEOC (April 29, 2015);

6) Pregnancy Discrimination prohibited under Title VII, because it is discrimination against an employee based on sex.  Refusing to accommodate a pregnant woman’s request for lifting restrictions may be sufficient to maintain a discrimination claim under Title VII.  Young v. UPS (March 25, 2015); and

7) The six year statute of limitations for ERISA claims for breach of fiduciary duty for imprudently acquiring and retaining an investment begins to run from the date of the act or omission. The date of purchase of the investment or the date when the fiduciary failed to sell or dispose of a bad investment.  This is continuing obligation based on the suitability standard for investments under ERISA.  Tibble v. Edison International (05/18/205).

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