June 2013

The Supreme Court’s Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) ruling will impact the “spouse” definition in the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) (among other extensive impacts in the employment law and employment benefits industry). Employers can expect the Department of Labor to issue, relatively soon, some guidance on the definition of spouse in light of the DOMA ruling.

It is anticipated that the definition of spouse will look to the state of celebration – that is, the state where the same-sex union was performed, or what state issued the license, regardless of the state of residence of the couple. But, until the guidance is issued, what should an employer do “in the meantime?” Continue Reading DOMA and the FMLA – What Should Employers Do “In the Meantime”?

A trucking company has a practice of not returning any trucker to a driver position if that trucker has admitted to being an alcoholic, even if the trucker completes a treatment program. The EEOC sued on behalf of a trucker and challenged this practice. In this instance, however, the trucker did not complete a treatment program. He explained that he did not complete a program since it would be futile – he could not get his job back anyway.

In a recent ruling, a District Judge in Arkansas ruled that the trucking company’s practice of automatic disqualification of the alcoholic trucker violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). The Court ruled that a jury will have to decide the merits of the specific driver’s claim, but the Court entered an injunction against the trucking company from further use of its practice. EEOC v. Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc. (W.D. Ark. June 24, 2013) found here. Continue Reading EEOC Continues Attack on Employer Practices that “Automatically” Disqualify

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a class action waiver in an arbitration agreement is enforceable. Although not an employment case, the decision likely signals that an employee’s waiver of the right to bring a class action will be enforceable if included in an employment agreement that requires arbitration to settle any employment-related dispute. American Express Company v. Italian Colors Restaurant, No. 12-133 (June 20, 2013). A copy of the opinion is available here.

What does this decision mean for employers? Continue Reading Supreme Court Says a Class Action Waiver in Arbitration Agreement is Enforceable