Another big courtroom defeat for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: “A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled this week that obesity is not a ‘disability’ within the meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act — even as amended in 2009 — unless the condition was caused by some underlying physiological disorder. …The panel specifically rejected the position taken by the EEOC in its Compliance Manual.” [Employment and Labor Insider, Constangy; Morriss v. BNSF Railway]
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC]: “The proposed rule…would require federal agencies to adopt the goal of achieving a 12% representation rate for individuals with disabilities, and a 2% representation rate for individuals with targeted/severe disabilities.” [Workplace Prof] Comments are open through April 25.
- Immigration-related rules on the one hand, national-origin discrimination rules on the other: “Employers could get sued for following the law” [Sean Higgins, Washington Examiner]
- Should anyone doubt labor relations as an academic field tilts way left, here are numbers [Mitchell Langbert, Econ Journal Watch]
- Connecticut high court opens door to letting kids of dismissed workers sue employers for lost consortium, on top of suits filed by the parents themselves [Daniel Schwartz]
- Obama scheme to yank millions of workers off salaried status is a real economic menace [Trey Kovacs, CEI, earlier]
- Panel discussion marks 80th anniversary of National Labor Relations Act with lawprofs Richard Epstein and John Raudabaugh, Bill Samuel (AFL-CIO) and Mark Schneider (Machinists), moderated by Hon. Joan Larsen of Michigan Supreme Court [Federalist Society video, National Lawyers Conference]
- “Employment-related class action settlements hit high in 2015” [12th annual Seyfarth Shaw Workplace Class Action Litigation Report via Staffing Industry Analysts] EEOC Employee Charge trends, annual report [Hiscox, and note map on p. 4 of employee lawsuit hotspots including Illinois, California, Nevada, and New Mexico]
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission requires that employers state their account of a dispute at an early stage. Combined with a new policy of automatic hand-over of the information to plaintiff’s lawyers, it amounts to you-go-first discovery and an unreciprocated peek at the opposition case [Merrily Archer; Parker Poe]
I’ve got a new post at Cato summarizing four recent cases in which judges have rebuked the Equal Employment Opportunity and Department of Labor, awarding attorneys’ fees against the agencies in two cases (Gate Guard and Freeman Cos.) and rejecting two major EEOC initiatives against wellness programs (Flambeau) and severance package language (CVS). Excerpt:
Why are independent, strong-minded courts so important to a free society? One reason is that they – and often only they – are the ones who can stop government agencies from trampling on the rights of the citizens….
Imagine what these agencies and others would be getting away with were our judiciary someday reduced to a spirit of subservience to the executive branch of government.
- A good labor economics class lets you see through society’s secular religion [Bryan Caplan first, second, and third (“Why labor fallacies have replaced industrial organization fallacies in society’s secular religion”) posts]
- “Meet The Obama Czars Who Decide How Your Workplace Runs” [Connor Wolf/Daily Caller, and thanks for quote]
- Welcome news for employers: Seventh Circuit signals it isn’t buying EEOC’s attack on severance offers in CVS case [Jon Hyman, background]
- Can a unionized Uber or Lyft driver file a grievance over your negative comment as a customer? “It’s not at all clear how union job protection policies can jibe with a community-rating economy.” [Brian Doherty, Reason]
- Riffling through just one day’s BNA Labor Report, Michael Fox finds headlines like Firing After FMLA Request Raises Triable Issues, Recommendation Letter Saves Fired Professor’s Bias Suit, and Commission Seeks Comment on Workplace Murder Case [Employer’s Lawyer]
- Disney exec: here’s our plan to engage in racial discrimination in hiring journalists [Ira Stoll, Future of Capitalism] Have they compared notes with BuzzFeed Canada? [Mediaite]
- On minimum wage, New York Times editors find Hillary Clinton overly tethered to economic reality, urge cutting of final moorings [Charles Hughes, Cato] “The Evidence Is Piling Up That Higher Minimum Wages Kill Jobs” [David Neumark, WSJ]
President Obama wants to compel many companies to begin reporting salary information to the federal government. Thaya Brook Knight comments.
Correction: The proposal would not require companies to provide the information as part of their own tax filings, but would require them to use the information from employees’ Forms W-2 to compile the required disclosure, which would be made to the EEOC.
Earlier on the pay-gap mythos here (Hanna Rosin, Slate: “You Know That ‘Women Make 77 Cents to Every Man’s Dollar’ Line? It’s Not True.”) as well as past links to articles such as this, this, and this.
“Under a new rule proposed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, all companies with more than 100 employees would be required to submit summary pay data each year. Since 1966, large companies have reported to the EEOC the number of their employees by sex, race, ethnicity and job group. The new proposal would add to that list pay data in 12 salary ranges, [with individual salaries] grouped together to protect privacy.” [USA Today, EEOC press release] “The data will be used to identify employers that may be engaging in pay discrimination so that the agency can target its enforcement resources where problems may be likeliest to exist. The proposal would cover more than 63 million U.S. workers, according to the White House. The plan… won’t require legislative approval.” [WSJ]
Aside from driving a high volume of litigation by the EEOC itself, the scheme will also greatly benefit private lawyers who sue employers, including class action lawyers. An employer might then weather the resulting litigation siege by showing that its numbers were good enough, or not. Would today’s Labor Department and EEOC policies look much different if the Obama administration frankly acknowledged that it was devising them with an eye toward maximum liability and payouts?
- Supreme Court agrees to review CRST Vans Expedited v. EEOC (Eighth Circuit) on standard for prevailing-party fee awards in EEOC cases, could mean help for defendants against overzealous government lawyering (and thanks for quote) [Sean Higgins, Washington Examiner, earlier here and here]
- 6-3 win for arbitration and freedom of contract in DirecTV case [Deborah LaFetra/PLF, Daniel Fisher, ABA Journal] WSJ editorial: Bravo to Justice Breyer for upholding as precedent what he’d earlier dissented from on substance [Texans for Lawsuit Reform reprint]
- OK to choke off legal defense by freezing all assets before trial, even if not criminally obtained? [Radley Balko]
- South Carolina $124 million penalty against Risperdal maker should be recognized as violating Excessive Fines clause [Ilya Shapiro and Randal John Meyer, Cato]
- “Supreme Court will review state laws making it a crime to refuse blood-alcohol tests” [ABA Journal, Reason]
- Helpless against the administrative state: revisiting SCOTUS’s awful 1944 Yakus case [James Conde and Michael Greve, SSRN via Michael Greve, Law and Liberty]
- New Akron Law Review symposium on class action jurisprudence of Roberts Court [Paul Karlsgodt]
No warrant needed: “administrative subpoenas” or “civil enforcement demands” allow the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and other federal agencies to demand “everything from Social Security numbers to medical records without a judge’s prior approval, so long as the information is “relevant” to the agency’s work.” Courts have allowed the maneuver although it bypasses the protections of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. [Kathryn Watson, Daily Caller]