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Archive - Legal Issues
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Archive - Legal Issues
 
2009
 
 
The U.S. Supreme Court announced on Monday that it would hear arguments in a case involving sexually explicit text messages sent by employees using their employer-provided pagers. The issue for the court is whether the employer violated its employees' privacy rights by reading the messages.
 
 
 
In a 220-215 vote, House Democrats passed a controversial health care reform bill on November 7, 2009, with only one Republican voting for the legislation. The 2,016-page Affordable Health Care for America Act is a combination of three different health care reform bills approved by House committees last summer. The bill would create an insurance . . . . .
 
 
 
 
The Supporting Military Families Act of 2009 was introduced in both houses of Congress in late July 2009. A mere three months later on October 28 it was signed into law as part of the defense-funding bill for 2010. The legislation expands the circumstances in which employees may take both qualifying exigency and military caregiver leave under the . . . . .
 
 
 
 
Congress has moved with surprising speed in passing legislation to expand the circumstances in which an employee may take military caregiver leave and qualifying exigency leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The Supporting Military Families Act of 2009 was only introduced in the House and Senate in late July. Now it has been . . . . .
 
 
 
 
The U.S. Supreme Court will decide several pending cases in its 2009-2010 term that have implications for employers. Although not all of the cases’ facts directly involve employers, the Court’s decisions are likely to affect you because of the subjects at issue.
 
 
 
A year after the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) was signed into law by former President George W. Bush and more than nine months after it went into effect the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued proposed regulations interpreting the law’s new requirements. The proposed changes are part of a Notice of Proposed Rule . . . . .
  
 
 
In Part 1 of the this series, readers were introduced to the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) proposed regulations interpreting the law’s new requirement. Below are further details as to what the regulations say and how it could affect you.
 
 
 
 
Fifteen years after legislation to prohibit sexual orientation discrimination was first proposed in Congress, all but the smallest employers may finally become subject to a federal law banning such discrimination as well as discrimination against transgendered individuals. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) has been introduced in both . . . . .
 
 
 
 
According to the U.S. Supreme Court, women who took pregnancy leave before 1979 are out of luck if they want the leave to fully count toward their retirement. In a May 18 decision, the Court addressed the issue of whether women who took maternity leave decades ago (before discrimination based on pregnancy became illegal) can sue to have their . . . . .
 
 
 
 
Effective as of July 1, 2009, City and County of Honolulu Ordinance No. 09-6 will ban the use of hand-held cellular phones while operating a motor vehicle on Oahu. The ordinance also covers other mobile electronic devices, including hand-held/laptop computers, pagers, PDAs, and video games. The law only applies to drivers not passengers; and . . . . .
 
 
 
 
There have been a number of “big dollar” lawsuits involving accidents arising from employee cell phone use on the road. Locally, the State of Hawaii was found 20 percent liable for an accident in 2001 involving a State of Hawaii special education teacher who, while allegedly talking on her cell phone, hit a 19 year old tourist crossing a two lane highway . . . . .
 
 
 
 
“Card check” legislation that would allow the employees of some Hawaii businesses to be organized and represented by labor unions without a secret ballot vote was recently passed by the state legislature and is being considered for a veto by Governor Linda Lingle. The card check bill was one of more than two dozen measures related to the human resources profession that were monitored by the Society for Human Resource Management . . . . .
 
 
 
 
On March 2, 2009, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) officially released proposed regulations under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA). GINA protects employees from discrimination by employers, employment agencies, labor unions, and insurers based on genetic information.
 
 
 
 
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ("ARRA") that President Obama signed into law on February 17, 2009 includes provisions to assist involuntarily terminated employees and their families with the continuation of health benefits under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). The ARRA applies to employees who were, or will be, involuntarily terminated from their employment between September 1 . . . . .
 
 
 
 
Despite millions of dollars already spent on both sides of the issue, three-quarters of Americans are completely in the dark over the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), a law touted by labor unions and political supporters as a way to increase unionization and improve the lives of middle-class America. And American workers are sharply divided over its merits, according to the latest national poll by the Employment Law Alliance (ELA), the world's largest . . . . .
 
 
 
 
The new Democratic Congress followed through on its promise to reverse the Supreme Court’s 2007 decision in Ledbetter’s case. Lawmakers passed and President Barack Obama has signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which essentially says that every paycheck tainted by earlier sex discrimination gives employees another 180 days to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
 
 
 
 
The United States Supreme Court continues to expand the rights of employees to sue for retaliation under federal discrimination statutes.
 
 
 
 
2008
 
 
The federal government spends billions of dollars annually to purchase services and goods under contracts with private companies. As a condition of obtaining these federal government contracts and subcontracts, the contracted companies (commonly referred to as "contractors") must strictly comply with many laws and regulations, including employment laws, which do not apply to non-government contractors.
 
 
 
 
Without wasting a moment of time after the fall recess, the Senate has unanimously approved its version of the ADA Amendments Act (S.3406). The legislation will now make a brief stop at the House of Representatives for review and approval of changes between the Senate version of the bill and the initial House version (H.R. 3195), which passed overwhelmingly in June. The final version of the bill will then . . . . .
 
 
 
For the first time ever, a federal appeals court has ruled on whether the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) applies to a woman who missed work to undergo IVF. Trial court ruled in favor of her employer, but the appeals court disagreed. The case is far from over.
 
 
 
 
On November 17, 2008, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published its long-awaited final revisions to the regulations that implement the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The final regulations adopt many of the regulatory changes proposed in February 2008, offering employers greater flexibility in managing employee leave. The regulations, which take effect January 16, 2009, are the first significant . . . . .
 
 
 
 
In the second half of our two-part series, we will be reviewing some of the non-military changes to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on November 17, 2008. The recently published final revisions to the regulations adopt many of the regulatory changes proposed in February 2008, offering employers greater flexibility in managing employee leave. . . . . .
 
 
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