Polsinelli at Work |  Labor & Employment Blog

Employers, whether large or small, face an ever-growing web of workplace regulations and potential entanglements with employees. With employment litigation and advocacy experience as our strength, preventing legal problems from arising is our goal. Our Labor & Employment attorneys advise management on complex employee relations and workplace issues. 20 offices; 800+ attorneys. 


California Teachers Renew Challenge to Union “Fair Share” Fees

California Teachers Renew Challenge to Union “Fair Share” Fees

By Garrett C. Parks

On February 6, 2017, The Center for Individual Rights (“CIR”)—a Washington, D.C. non-profit, public interest law firm—filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a group of California public school teachers against the State and California Teachers Association to challenge California’s “agency shop” law, which requires teachers to pay certain union fees even when they are not union members.

In the Complaint, the non-union, teacher plaintiffs allege that requiring them to pay union fees violates the First Amendment because, among other things, the teachers have political, moral, and/or religious objections to activities and efforts on which unions spend money and allocate resources.

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Four Changes to Make Now if Your Company is Covered by the Federal Contractor Sick Leave Order

Four Changes to Make Now if Your Company is Covered by the Federal Contractor Sick Leave Order

By Erin D. Schilling

The Department of Labor’s (DOL) final rule establishing paid sick leave for employees of federal contractors is effective as of January 1, 2017. The final rule follows President Obama’s September 7, 2015 Executive Order 13706 (the “Executive Order”) on this subject, which we wrote about here.

Is Your Organization Covered?

The Executive Order and the DOL’s final rule apply to “new” contracts awarded on or after January 1, 2017. Contracts entered into before that date will be considered “new” contracts if the contract is renewed through bilateral negotiation on or after January 1, 2017, or in some cases if the contract is amended or extended.  

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ADA Obligations: We’re Not Just Talking Employee Accommodations Anymore

ADA Obligations: We’re Not Just Talking Employee Accommodations Anymore

By Elizabeth T. Gross and Graham L. Day

By now, most employers are familiar with their obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) to not discriminate against, and possibly provide accommodations for, qualified individuals with disabilities. However, these same employers may not be aware of the newest frontier of plaintiffs’ lawsuits — claims that company websites do not comply with the ADA.

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Four Policy Reviews in Your Next Employee Handbook Update

Four Policy Reviews in Your Next Employee Handbook Update

By Anne E. Baggott

The start of the year is prime time for employers to review employee handbooks. Many policies remain the same year after year. Employers may wish to pay attention to certain policies due to recent changes in the law, including, but not limited to: Defense of Trade Secrets Act notice, protected classes, nursing mother policies, and drug and alcohol-free workplace policies.

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Eighth Circuit Holds that ADA Compensatory Damages Claims Survive Employee’s Death

Eighth Circuit Holds that ADA Compensatory Damages Claims Survive Employee’s Death

By Andrew M. McKinley

On January 19, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit determined that a claim for compensatory damages under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) survives the death of the aggrieved party. In Guenther ex rel. Guenther v. Griffin Construction Co., an employee learned that cancer had spread throughout his body and informed his employer that he would need three weeks’ leave to undergo radiation therapy. Rather than accommodate this request, the employer terminated him and immediately cancelled his insurance policies. The employee then filed a timely charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”).

While the EEOC charge was still pending, the employee passed away. The special administrator of the employee’s estate subsequently received a right-to-sue letter from the EEOC and filed suit on the employee’s behalf. The district court dismissed the suit, adopting the state tort survival statute as the federal rule of decision and holding that the employee’s ADA claim abated at his death. The Eighth Circuit reversed. 

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