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Georgia Jolink is an associate in the Houston office and is a member of the Labor & Employment Practice Group.  Ms. Jolink represents management in all aspects of labor and employment law, including domestic employment litigation and counseling, federal contractor compliance, and multijurisdictional employment-related transactions. Her experience includes defending employers in cases involving employment discrimination, wage and hour issues, restrictive covenants and other employee related claims.

On January 13, 2017, the US Supreme Court agreed to determine whether arbitration agreements that include class action waivers are legally enforceable under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). In doing so, the Court granted the petitions for certiorari, and consolidated, three cases from the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth, Seventh and Ninth Circuits.  While the Fifth Circuit has ruled that class action waivers are enforceable, the Seventh and Ninth Circuits have disagreed and held that class action waivers violate the NLRA.  The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has also continued to hold that class action waivers violate the NLRA and interfere with employees’ rights to engage in concerted activity.  A ruling by the Supreme Court on the issue should resolve the Circuit Court split, provide nationwide guidance, and end the patchwork approach that has been adopted by US employers who utilize arbitration and class waivers.  The Supreme Court’s decision is expected before the end of June 2017.

To read more, click here.

Title VII and the Equal Pay Act expressly ban the unequal treatment and compensation of female employees. Yet pay inequity can creep in to even the most well-intentioned companies.  As a consequence, standards for evaluating pay practices are rapidly evolving in both the public and private sectors, and many companies are pledging to improve wage equality.  What’s more, with the EEOC now targeting equal pay discrimination, we are primed to see a wave of class action lawsuits that could cost companies millions in back pay and damages.  Is your company keeping up? Continue Reading Pay Equity: Everything Employers Need to Know

Texas Bar Today Top TenAt some point, an employer may face the unpleasant task of responding to an EEOC Notice of Charge of Discrimination from an employee or former employee. Until recently, however, a well-drafted position statement often could stop a discrimination charge in its tracks.  A new EEOC policy may change all that. Continue Reading EEOC to Release Employer Position Statements to All Claimants

Texas Bar Today Top Ten It’s a new year, and some of your employees may have resolved to lose weight, eat more healthfully, or even give up smoking in 2016. But employees aren’t the only ones interested in their own health and wellness.  Corporate wellness programs can be an effective way for employers to encourage healthy behavior from their workforce while saving costs on health care premiums.

Continue Reading Corporate Wellness Programs: How Far Can Employers Go to Make Employees Healthy?

Happy 2016, loyal readers! We are barely one week into the new year, and the employment world is bustling with news.

To that end, we would like to present our Annual Employer Update, which includes a wellspring of information on hot topics from 2015, as well as some of the trends we expect to see in 2016.

The Annual Employer Update spans a broad array of issues, from federal contractor compliance to wage and hour issues to international employment law trends. Among others, the Update includes articles on the following trending topics:

  1. Developments in Accommodation Laws for Pregnant Workers
  2. Updates on the ERISA Fiduciary Duty Standard
  3. The State of the EU/US “Safe Harbor” Privacy Principles
  4. The NLRB’s Expansive Definition of “Joint Employer” and New Election Rules
  5. Department of Labor’s Proposed Overtime Rules for “White Collar” Employees

Again, you can find our Annual Employer Update here.  And for those of you with offices and/or employees in California, be sure to check out the California Employer Update, also included in the Update and prepared by our colleagues in California.

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We look forward to keeping you up to date on the latest employment news and information throughout 2016.

Thanks for reading!

 

The dog days of summer are here, but the Department of Labor has shown no signs of slowing down. In June, the DOL rolled out revisions to its official Family and Medical Leave Act forms. While the revisions may seem minor at first glance, they could have a large impact on how medical information is shared between employers, employees and health care providers. Continue Reading FMLA Forms Incorporate GINA Reforms

It’s been more than a year since the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs issued groundbreaking new rules related to Section 503 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act, yet the Agency shows no signs of slowing down.  In the past several months, the OFCCP has issued proposed rules on hot topics such as pay discrimination and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  Continue Reading Four Ways to Prepare for the New OFCCP Rules