Technology Employment Law

Technology Employment Law

Legal Insight for Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Employers

Category Archives: Employment Law

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Seventh Circuit: Title VII Does Not Cover Sexual Orientation Bias

Our colleague Linda B. Celauro, Senior Counsel at Epstein Becker Green, has a post on the Financial Services Employment Law blog that will be of interest to many of our readers in the technology industry: “Seventh Circuit Panel Finds That Title VII Does Not Cover Sexual Orientation Bias.

Following is an excerpt:

Bound by precedent, on July 28, 2016, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that sexual orientation discrimination is not sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The panel thereby affirmed the decision of … Continue Reading

Maryland Expands State Equal Pay Act and Broadens Employees’ Right to Discuss Wages

Maryland has now joined New York and several other states that have recently passed legislation expanding state equal pay laws and/or broadening the right of employees to discuss their wages with each other (often called “wage transparency”). The Equal Pay for Equal Work Act of 2016 (“Act”), signed by Governor Hogan on May 19, 2016 and set to take effect October 1, 2016, amends Maryland’s existing Equal Pay law (Md. Code, Labor and Employment, §3-301, et seq.), which applies to employers of any size, in several significant aspects.

First, as to the equal pay provisions, the Act:

  • Extends the
Continue Reading

OSHA’s Electronic Recordkeeping Rule: New Pitfalls for Employers

Our colleague Valerie Butera, a Member of the Firm at Epstein Becker Green, has a post on the OSHA Law Update blog that will be of interest to many of our readers in the technology industry: “OSHA’s New Electronic Recordkeeping Rule Creates a Number of New Pitfalls for Employers.”

Following is an excerpt:

On May 12, 2016, OSHA published significant amendments to its recordkeeping rule, requiring many employers to submit work-related injury and illness information to the agency electronically.  The amendments also include provisions designed to prevent employers from retaliating against employees for reporting injuries and illnesses at work.  … Continue Reading

What Monitoring Technology Allows, the Law May Prohibit

Gregg Settembrino

Gregg Settembrino

Recently I attended the American Bar Association’s (“ABA”) 2016 mid-year National Symposium on Technology in Labor and Employment Law (“Conference”) in Washington, D.C.  The Conference highlighted a number of technology related issues that should be of interest to employers, such as the use artificial intelligence in the workplace, cybersecurity, and new trends in the National Labor Relations Board’s technology-based decisions and rulemaking.

One segment of the Conference that I found particularly interesting was “Technology in the Workplace: What’s Out There, What’s Coming, and Why You (Really) Need to Care,” presented by Kate Bischoff and Heather Bussing. It was … Continue Reading

DOL Releases New Poster and Employer’s Guide to FMLA

Technology employers should note that the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“DOL”) has just released a new Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) poster and The Employer’s Guide to The Family and Medical Leave Act (“Guide”).

New FMLA Poster

The FMLA requires covered employers to display a copy of the General FMLA Notice prominently in a conspicuous place. The new poster is more reader-friendly and better organized than the previous one. The font is larger and the poster contains a QR code that will connect the reader directly to the DOL homepage. According to the DOL, however, the February … Continue Reading

Weak HR Departments May Leave Startups Vulnerable to Lawsuits

We recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Julianne Tveten of Motherboard, for her article “HR Comes Last at Startups, and Women Pay the Price.”

The article raises some important issues for startup founders and investors.  In particular, as we discuss, a delay in establishing HR policies may inadvertently draw claims of harassment in the workplace.

Following is an excerpt of one of our passages:

“Usually, the wakeup call comes by way of litigation, investigation, or when the people strategy is not completely sound and investors or potential acquirers look at the operating model and it impacts their … Continue Reading

Paid Parental Leave in San Francisco: Employer Alert

Our colleagues Steven R. Blackburn and Elizabeth J. Boca, attorneys at Epstein Becker Green, have a post on the Retail Labor and Employment Law blog that will be of interest to many of our readers in the technology industry: “San Francisco Paid Parental Leave.”

Following is an excerpt:

Under the proposed San Francisco ordinance, for up to six weeks employers must bridge the gap between the amount the employee receives in PFL and one-hundred percent of the employee’s gross weekly wages (referred to as “Supplemental Compensation”) for parental bonding purposes.  In other words, the employer must pay … Continue Reading

Non-Compete Claims in the Age of Remote Employees: Determining Jurisdiction

Our colleagues Anthony Laura and Matthew Aibel, attorneys at Epstein Becker Green, have a post on the Trade Secrets & Noncompete Blog that will be of interest to many of our readers in the technology industry: “Jurisdiction to Pursue Non-Compete Claims in the Age of Remote Employees.”

Following is an excerpt:

With remote access technology becoming standard across industries, companies readily engage a multi-state workforce, with many employees residing outside of the employer’s home state.  While an expanded access to talent may be beneficial, one drawback is the ability to enforce restrictive covenants with out of state … Continue Reading

“Get the Facts” – EEOC Publishes New Fact Sheet for Start-Ups and Small Businesses

Nancy L. Gunzenhauser

Nancy L. Gunzenhauser

On March 3, 2016, the EEOC issued a one-page fact sheet aimed at assisting start-ups and small businesses understand their responsibilities under the various federal employment laws. The fact sheet, which is available in over 30 languages, reminds employers that:

  • employment decisions cannot be made on the basis of protected categories
  • employers should establish policies that do not disparately impact employees on the basis of protected categories
  • men and women must be provided equal pay
  • employers should prevent harassment, but if a complaint is raised, employers should promptly address claims of harassment or discrimination
  • employers should
Continue Reading

Philadelphia Employers: New Ban-the-Box Poster Is Required

Our colleague Nancy L. Gunzenhauser, an Associate at Epstein Becker Green, has a post on the Retail Labor and Employment Blog that will be of interest to many of our readers in the technology industry: “Reminder: All Philadelphia Employers Must Post New Ban-the-Box Poster.”

Following is an excerpt:

One of the requirements of the amended Philadelphia ban-the-box law has gone into effect. As of March 14, 2016, Philadelphia employers are required to post a new poster provided by the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations in a conspicuous place on both the employer’s website and on premises, where … Continue Reading

Promoting Diversity Without Reverse Discrimination

Technology media and telecommunications (“TMT”) industry employers should begin taking steps to mitigate a new litigation risk—reverse discrimination claims. This past year there were a number of news stories regarding the lack of diversity in the technology industry (see, for example, articles in Inc., The Cut, Fusion, The New York Times, and Wired). Numerous advocacy groups pressured TMT employers to focus on increasing workplace diversity in order to eliminate this disparity. As TMT employers continue to defend themselves against these allegations, the recently filed Complaint in Anderson v. Yahoo!, 5:16-cv-00527 (N.D. Cal. 2016), alleges that Yahoo!’s robust … Continue Reading

EEOC’s New Program to Disclose Employer Position Statements and Supporting Documents

Our colleague Laura A. Stutz has a Retail Employment Law Blog post that will be of interest to many of our technology industry readers: “EEOC Implements Nationwide Program to Disclose Employer Position Statements and Supporting Documents.”

Following is an excerpt:

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) recently implemented nationwide procedures for the release of employer position statements to Charging Parties upon request. The new procedures raise concerns about disclosure by the EEOC of non-public personnel and commercial or financial information the employer may disclose to support its position with regard to the Charge.

Before releasing the supporting documents … Continue Reading

Getting Control of Hot-Button Labor and Employment Issues in the Digital Age

DSCN0843Employers in the technology, media and telecommunications industry are faced with many workplace management and legal compliance challenges.  Among these are trends in the shared economy and rise of the contingent workforce, data privacy and security, and use of social media in connection with recruitment, employee monitoring and termination.  At the recent  Epstein Becker Green 34th Annual Workforce Management Briefing held at the New York Hilton, members of the firm’s TMT Group including the authors of this post, along with in-house counsel speakers Rebecca Clar of AOL and Blake Reese of Google provided a panel workshop on these hot-button … Continue Reading

The Misclassified Worker and Employee Benefit Plan Considerations

If an employer is found to have misclassified an employee as an independent contractor or other contingent worker, then liability can be substantial under applicable federal and state labor, employment, tax and withholding laws including laws regarding payment of wages, overtime and unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation, discrimination and rights of workers and unions.   It is equally important to understand that compliance of employee benefit plans with requirements under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”) and the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, (the “Code”) can also be at risk.  Employers must be mindful of the effects misclassification of … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Says Complaints to Harassing Supervisor Constitute Protected Activity

Employers in the technology industry should take note of last week’s decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in EEOC v. New Breed Logistics (PDF).  The court declined to reconsider a panel holding that, in the context of a retaliation claim, “a demand that a supervisor cease his/her harassing conduct constitutes protected activity under Title VII.”

Three former employees of New Breed Logistics, a supply-chain logistics company, asserted that they had engaged in protected activity by telling their supervisor to stop making advances and sexual comments.  The district court agreed, holding that protected conduct “can be … Continue Reading

New York City Investigation of Hiring Practices

My colleague Laura A. Stutz  at Epstein Becker Green has a Retail Labor and Employment Law blog post that will be of interest to employers doing business in New York City: “New York City Investigation of Hiring Practices.”

Following is an excerpt:

New York City’s Commission on Human Rights is now authorized to investigate employers in the Big Apple to search for discriminatory practices during the hiring process. This authority stems from a law signed into effect by Mayor de Blasio that established an employment discrimination testing and investigation program.  The program is designed to determine if employers … Continue Reading

Proposed DOL Rule To Make More White Collar Employees Eligible For Overtime Pay

My colleagues Michael S. Kun and Jeffrey H. Ruzal at Epstein Becker Green has a Wage and Hour Defense blog post that will be of interest to all technology, media, and telecommunications employers: “Proposed DOL Rule To Make More White Collar Employees Eligible For Overtime Pay.”Clock

Following is an excerpt:

More than a year after its efforts were first announced, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) has finally announced its proposed new rule pertaining to overtime. And that rule, if implemented, will result in a great many “white collar” employees previously treated as exempt becoming eligible for overtime … Continue Reading

Five EEOC Initiatives to Monitor on the Agency’s Golden Anniversary

My colleague Nathaniel M. Glasser recently authored Epstein Becker Green’s Take 5 newsletter.   In this edition of Take 5, Nathaniel highlights five areas of enforcement that U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) continues to tout publicly and aggressively pursue.

  1. Religious Discrimination and Accommodation—EEOC Is Victorious in New U.S. Supreme Court Ruling
  2. Transgender Protections Under Title VII—EEOC Relies on Expanded Sex Discrimination Theories
  3. Systemic Investigations and Litigation—EEOC Gives Priority to Enforcement Initiative
  4. Narrowing the “Gender Pay Gap”—EEOC Files Suits Under the Equal Pay Act
  5. Background Checks—EEOC Seeks to Eliminate Barriers to Recruitment and Hiring

Read the Full Take 5Continue Reading

Mayor Signs NYC Ban-the-Box Law

On Monday, June 29, 2015, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law the bill passed by the New York City Council “banning-the-box.” The law goes into effect on Tuesday, October 27, 2015. As discussed in our earlier advisory, the ban-the-box movement removes from an employment application the “box” that requests criminal conviction history. New York City’s law also imposes additional requirements upon the employer when making an adverse employment decision on the basis of criminal conviction history.… Continue Reading

Complimentary June 25th Webinar: Hi-Tech Compliance in the Digital Age

Epstein Becker Green will host a complimentary webinar, “Hi-Tech Compliance in the Digital Age” on June 25th from 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. (EDT) presented by Epstein Becker Green attorneys Michelle Capezza, Nathaniel M. Glasser, Adam C. Solander, and Joshua A. Stein.

Below is a description of the webinar:

All employers face unique challenges in having to comply with both overarching and targeted labor and employment, employee benefits, and civil rights laws and regulations that greatly impact their workplace and business model.  As employers — including those operating in the technology, media, and telecommunications industry … Continue Reading

LinkedIn, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the Real-World Implications of Online Activity

With the ever-increasing amount of information available on social media, employers should remember to exercise caution when utilizing social media as a part of their Human Resources/ Recruitment related activities.  As we have discussed in a prior blog post, “Should Employers and Facebook Be Friends?” we live in a digital-age, and how people choose to define themselves is often readily showcased on social networking sites.  Whether – and how – employers choose to interact with the online presence of their workforce will continue to develop as the relevant legal standards try to catch up.

A recent federal Continue Reading

Epstein Becker Green’s Employment Law Desk Reference for Start-up Companies

In the lifecycle of a start-up company, there are many key issues, situations and milestones when it is important to seek legal consultation. Epstein Becker Green has developed an easy to follow guide to highlight common workforce management issues (including employment, benefits and immigration concerns) start-up employers must consider as they grow their business and application of important laws which are triggered by employee count.

The Workforce Guide outlines critical areas such as:

  • Onboarding and compensation;
  • Managing existing workforce;
  • Separation; and
  • Statutory thresholds triggered by employee count.

This is merely a guide but should be helpful in determining when to … Continue Reading

Spate of Gender Discrimination Lawsuits Against Silicon Valley Technology Companies Highlights the Importance of Adopting and Enforcing Anti-Discrimination Policies and Procedures

Recent discrimination lawsuits filed by former employees against Facebook and Twitter, serve as a reminder of the importance of having robust sexual harassment and equal employment opportunity policies in place. In Chia Hong v. Facebook, Inc., et al., which was filed on March 16, 2015 in the Superior Court of California in and for San Mateo County, former Facebook employee Chia Hong, who is Taiwanese, alleges that during her employment at Facebook she was discriminated against and harassed on the basis of her gender, race and nationality in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. Hong, who … Continue Reading

NLRB Issues Critical Guidance On Employer Handbooks, Rules and Policies, Including “Approved” Language

My colleagues Steven M. Swirsky and Adam C. Abrahms published a Management Memo blog post that will be of interest to many of our readers: “NLRB Issues Critical Guidance on Employer Handbooks, Rules and Policies Including “Approved” Language.”

Following is an excerpt:

On March 18, 2015, NLRB General Counsel Richard F. Griffin, Jr. issued General Counsel Memorandum GC 15-04 containing extensive guidance as to the General Counsel’s views as to what types employer polices and rules, in handbooks and otherwise, will be considered by the NLRB investigators and regional offices to be lawful and which are likely to … Continue Reading

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