Massachusetts Adopts New Workplace Protections for Pregnant Workers

Yesterday, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (“PWFA”) into law. The PWFA, which will go into effect on April 1, 2018, requires that employers provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees upon their request. The final version of the law combines the bill passed in May 2017 by the Massachusetts House of Representatives with a similar bill approved by the Massachusetts Senate in June 2017.… More

Massachusetts SJC Extends Job Protections to Medical Marijuana Users

In a landmark decision, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) ruled on Monday that an employee who is fired for testing positive for marijuana due to her lawful off-duty use of medical marijuana can pursue a claim of handicap discrimination against her former employer. With the ruling, Massachusetts has become the first state to afford such job protections to workers who lawfully use medical marijuana. Moreover, the ruling essentially precludes Massachusetts employers from adopting blanket drug-free workplace policies.… More

New Massachusetts Employer Assessment Intended to Deter MassHealth Enrollment

Since the beginning of this year’s legislative session, Governor Baker has expressed concern over the growth in enrollment in MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid program. A look at the numbers explains why. Prior to the enactment of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion in 2014, there were 1.3 million people enrolled in MassHealth. By April of this year, that number had increased by 28.4%, to nearly 1.7 million state residents.… More

SJC Rules Wage Act Plaintiffs Are Entitled to Prejudgment Interest, But Not on Treble Damages

Last week, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) resolved a contested issue under the Massachusetts Wage Act, ruling that successful Wage Act plaintiffs are entitled to prejudgment interest on the unpaid wages and other benefits they are awarded. However, the SJC held that employees cannot recover interest on the liquidated damages they are awarded for Wage Act violations.

The SJC’s decision in George, et al.… More

U.S. Department of Labor Signals Coming Changes

On June 27, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) made two announcements that signal a change of direction for the new Administration. First, the DOL announced in a press release that it would return to its decades-long practice of issuing “opinion letters,” which provide employers formal, written guidance on specific labor law issues. Second, the DOL began the process for seeking public notice and comment on the Obama DOL’s rule increasing the salary threshold for overtime exemptions,… More

Supreme Court Narrows, But Declines to Stay, Injunctions Blocking Travel Ban Executive Order

On June 26, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court entered an order that narrowed, but declined to stay, two preliminary injunctions prohibiting enforcement of various provisions of President Trump’s March 6, 2017 Executive Order entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” (the “EO-2”). Nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen can continue to enter the U.S.… More

DOL Withdraws Obama-Era Guidance on Joint Employment and Independent Contractors

On June 7, 2017, the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced that it is withdrawing the prior Administration’s guidance on joint employment and independent contractors. The Obama Administration had issued Administrator’s Interpretations (“AI”) in 2015 and 2016 that demonstrated its expansive view of who was an “employer” and “employee” for purposes of compliance under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). “Joint employment” had been broadly defined to capture certain relationships between associated companies and companies that use third parties for labor.… More

What NYC Employers Need to Know about New Salary History Law

Earlier this month, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a bill prohibiting employers from asking job candidates about their salary history. The new law will go into effect on October 31, 2017.

Beginning on October 31, 2017, questions about a job applicant’s previous compensation, and an employer’s reliance on that information in determining an applicant’s compensation, will constitute unlawful discrimination under the New York City Human Rights Law.… More

Massachusetts House Passes Bill to Expand Protections for Pregnant Workers

Last week, the Massachusetts House of Representatives unanimously passed the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (H.3680). If the bill becomes law, it will expand employment protections for pregnant workers in Massachusetts, most significantly by requiring that Massachusetts employers provide pregnant workers with reasonable accommodations.

Massachusetts already prohibits discrimination against pregnant employees, as Massachusetts courts have recognized that pregnancy discrimination is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Massachusetts’s anti-discrimination statute,… More

Border Searches of Your Electronic Devices — What Rights Do You Have?

The United States government has reported that border searches of electronic devices in the U.S. increased from 4,764 in 2015 to 23,877 in 2016. Because electronic devices have immense data storage capacity and can hold confidential information, trade secrets and data otherwise protected by attorney-client privilege, these searches have raised alarm for individuals, and the companies that employ them, when traveling. Adding social media and cloud storage into the mix,… More