Employment Practices Liability

sup ct 4In the flurry of opinions and orders on Monday on the final day of the U.S. Supreme Court’s term, and amid the hubbub over the Court’s action on the Trump administration travel ban order, you might well have overlooked the fact that on Monday the Court also agreed to take up the question of whether or not the Dodd-Frank Act’s anti-retaliation provisions apply to and protect individuals who did not make a whistleblower report to the SEC. The lower courts have struggled with the question of whether or not the anti-retaliation protections extend to individuals who file internal reports within their own companies. A split on the issue has developed and now the U.S. Supreme Court will have the opportunity to address the question in the case of Digital Realty Trust v. Somers. The Court’s June 26, 2017 order granting Digital Realty Trust’s petition for a writ of certiorari can be found here.
Continue Reading Supreme Court to Review Whether Dodd-Frank Anti-Retaliation Provisions Protect Internal Whistleblowers

winn-dixieAs I have previously noted (more recently here), in recent months a small number of plaintiffs’ law firms have launched a host of lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) based on allegations of website inaccessibility. In light of a recent development, these lawsuits may become an even bigger concern. On June 13, 2017, a federal judge in the Southern District of Florida, following a bench trial, entered a verdict that the website of Winn-Dixie Stores was inaccessible to a visually impaired individual in violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The trial was the first in the history of the ADA about an allegedly inaccessible website and the verdict arguably has significant implications for other businesses that have been hit with suits alleging that their websites are in accessible. The verdict and order in the Winn-Dixie case can be found here.
Continue Reading First-of-its-Kind Verdict That Inaccessible Website Violates the ADA

californiaThe typical employment practices liability insurance policy will contain an exclusion precluding coverage for loss arising from claims brought under wage and hour laws. The question that arises from time to time is whether a particular claim was in brought under the laws for which coverage is precluded. A recent federal court case in California examined whether the wage and hour exclusion in an employer’s EPL policy precluded coverage for the claimants’ claims alleging the employer had failed to reimburse reasonable business expenses, in violation of a California statutory provision. In a November 14, 2016 decision, Southern District of California Judge Ted Moskowitz, applying California law, held that the policy’s wage and hour exclusion did not preclude coverage for the claimants’ unreimbursed business expenses claims, even though the exclusion did bar coverage for the claimants’ other claims. A copy of Judge Moskowitz’s exclusion can be found here.
Continue Reading EPL Wage and Hour Exclusion Does Not Bar Coverage for Expense Reimbursement Claim

ada
Americans with Disabilities Act

In a prior post, I noted concerns over lawsuits filed under the American Disabilities Act (ADA) relating to website accessibility. I noted at the time that a court holding that a website violated the ADA’s public accommodation accessibility requirement likely would lead to an increase in litigation involving website accessibility. As I suspected might happen, this increase has now materialized. Indeed, according to a September 29, 2016 post on the ADA Title III News and Insights blog (here), website accessibility lawsuits “have become big business” for a number of plaintiffs’ law firms.
Continue Reading Wave of ADA Website Accessibility Lawsuits Grows, Community Bankers Threatened

adaIn a March 21, 2016 ruling (here), a California state court judge has held that a retailer violated the American s with Disabilities Act because its website was not accessible to a visually-impaired plaintiff. According to a March 29, 2016 post on the Seyfarth Shaw law firm’s ADA Title III blog  (here), with this ruling, the California court became “the first in the nation” to rule that a website violated the ADA’s public accommodation accessibility requirements.  As discussed below, the ruling could herald an increase of ADA litigation involving website accessibility.
Continue Reading California Court Rules Retailer’s Website Violates ADA Accessibility Requirements

time_clock_1One of the most significant areas of litigation in the employment practices liability arena has been the employee lawsuits seeking damages for employer violations of federal and state wage and hour laws. But while these kinds of lawsuits remain important, many of the trends in the settlements have shifted in the most recent years, according to a recent study from NERA Economic Consulting. The July 14, 2015 report, entitled “Trends in Wage and Hour Settlements: 2015 Update,” can be found here. NERA’s July 14, 2015 press release about the report can be found here.
Continue Reading NERA Reports on Latest Wage and Hour Lawsuit Settlement Trends

secondsealIn the latest fiscal year report of the SEC Office of the Whistleblower, the agency reported that as of the end of the 2013 fiscal year it had received  a total of 6,573 whistleblower reports since the the Dodd-Frank whistleblower program’s inception. These figures include not only domestic whistleblower reports but also reports from a

socialmediaIn a very short time period, Internet-based social media have become a pervasive part of our lives and culture. Inevitably, employee use of social media has become a workplace issue. As a result, employers are concerned about employee social media use and employees are concerned about privacy and rights of individual expression. As social media

eeocDuring the 2013 fiscal year (ended September 30, 2013), the number of charges filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was down 5.7% compared with the previous fiscal year, but the EEOC’s FY 2013 monetary recoveries of $372.1 million through administrative processes were the highest ever in any single fiscal year. The EEOC’s February