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Managing the Modern Workplace
V&E International Labor & Employment Resources

  • 14
  • June
  • 2018

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Much of OSHA’s New Silica Standard Goes into Effect for Hydraulic Fracking Operations on June 23, 2018

As we discussed in previous posts (found here, here and here), after surviving legal challenges and a 9-month delay, OSHA’s new standard limiting respirable silica exposure goes into effect for all industries on June 23, 2018. As a reminder, the new standard reduces the permissible exposure limit (“PEL”) for respirable crystalline silica from 100 micrograms per cubic meter of air for general industry and 250 micrograms for the construction industry — which has been the standard for more than 40 years — to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air for all industries.

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  • 12
  • June
  • 2018

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Reconsidering Workplace Rules That Your Lawyer Told You to Drop

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, employment lawyers like myself were warning our clients about certain policies and workplace rules that, despite being once considered common-sensical, had become potentially worrisome. Policies such as “Employees are not allowed take pictures or videos at our refinery”; “Do not disclose confidential financial data or other non-public proprietary information”; and “Employees may not make negative or disparaging comments about fellow workers” had suddenly become problematic because an employee might reasonably construe the rule to prohibit activities protected under the National Labor Relations Act.

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  • 07
  • June
  • 2018

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All Arbitration, All the Time: Court Agrees to Hear Case on Whether an Arbitration Clause Allows Class Arbitration When the Clause Is Silent on It

As we discussed in a previous post, the Supreme Court recently ruled that employers may enforce class-waiver arbitration clauses in employment agreements and require an employee to arbitrate his claims in individual, as opposed to collective, arbitration proceedings. Hot on the heels of this recent important decision, the Court agreed to hear a case from the Ninth Circuit which addresses a related issue: whether arbitration clauses that are silent about class arbitration can nevertheless be interpreted to permit class arbitration. This may not seem consequential since many companies moving forward will opt to use class action waivers in employment agreements following the Supreme Court’s recent decision, but standard arbitration clauses are often silent on class arbitration, and many of these clauses may remain in effect for years to come. As such, the Supreme Court’s decision on this issue could have substantial implications for employers that use standard arbitration clauses in employment agreements. 

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Cake Case Should Not Affect Employer Efforts to Eliminate Discrimination Against LGBT Employees

While the Supreme Court has not yet resolved the question of whether Title VII prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, I have previously noted in this blog that there are good legal — not to mention moral, and business, reasons — for employers to take steps to protect gay and lesbian employees and develop a culture that is welcoming to LGBT employees.

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  • 01
  • June
  • 2018

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Can an “Applicant” Be Discriminated Against When She Hasn’t Applied for the Job?

Under the California analogue to Title VII, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), it is unlawful for an employer to refuse to hire someone based on their “sex,” which includes a woman’s pregnancy status. Normally, to be eligible for protections under discrimination statutes like Title VII and FEHA in the hiring context, an individual needs to have at least applied for an open position. However, one California court of appeals indicated that, at least in some situations, FEHA sex discrimination may occur even when the plaintiff never applied for a position.

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Responding to #MeToo Part II: When the Alleged Harasser is in Charge

Continuing our discussion of #MeToo, Grace Ho, Counsel in our Employment, Labor & OSHA practice, addresses some key points companies should consider when there are allegations of harassment involving an executive or other high-level employee. Who should conduct the investigation and how will communications be handled? Grace further discusses the importance of proactively reviewing all employment agreements so that the company has sufficient flexibility in its response to potential harassment allegations.  

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Contributors

Thomas H. Wilson

Thomas H. Wilson Partner

Christopher V. Bacon

Christopher V. Bacon Counsel

Sean Becker

Sean Becker Partner

Stephen M. Jacobson

Stephen M. Jacobson Partner

Martin C. Luff

Martin Luff Counsel

Lawrence S. Elbaum Partner

S. Grace Ho

S. Grace Ho Counsel

Robert Sheppard

Robert Sheppard Associate