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Pittsburgh Extends Temporary COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave but Confusion Over Employers’ Obligations Persists

 On July 27, 2021, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto signed Section 626B of the City of Pittsburgh Code—also known as the Temporary COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Ordinance.  Under the Ordinance, employers with over 50 employees must provide up to 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave for full-time employees, and a prorated amount of leave for...… Continue Reading
August 13, 2021

Iowa Supreme Court: City’s “Ban the Box” Ordinance Is Preempted by State Law, But Not Entirely

The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled that Iowa state law preempts the City of Waterloo’s restriction on employers’ use of applicants’ criminal record history when making hiring decisions.  Other aspects of the ordinance, however, remain legal and enforceable.  The case is Iowa Ass’n of Bus. & Indus. v. City of Waterloo, Case No. 20-0575, 961...… Continue Reading
August 9, 2021

Parties, Start Your Engines: Snap Removals and Defeating Incomplete Diversity

In what is known as a “snap” removal, a non-resident defendant may be able to remove a state court case to federal court based on diversity jurisdiction, despite resident defendant(s) being named in the suit. To effect a snap removal, the non-resident defendant must file removal papers before the plaintiff can effect service on any...… Continue Reading
July 27, 2021

California Supreme Court Holds Statute of Limitations on Failure to Promote Claims Runs When Employee Knows or Reasonably Should Know They Were Denied Promotion

 When does the statute of limitations period begin to run on a harassment claim?  The California Supreme Court has ruled in Pollock v. Tri-Modal Distribution Services, Inc. that the time to file a cause of action for failure to promote brought under the harassment provision of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) starts to run...… Continue Reading
July 27, 2021

Iowa Supreme Court Reverses $1.5 Million Verdict Against Former Governor in Sexual Orientation Discrimination Suit

After nearly a decade of litigation, in Godrey v. State of Iowa et al, Case No. 19-1954 (June 30, 2021), the Iowa Supreme Court reversed a jury verdict granting $1.5 million in damages and $3.1 million in attorneys’ fees to the former Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner, based on his allegation that the Governor of the...… Continue Reading
July 2, 2021

Supreme Court: Philadelphia Ordinance Unconstitutionally Burdened Religious Exercise

  The U.S. Supreme Court has found that Philadelphia’s ordinance requiring a private foster care agency to certify same-sex couples as foster parents burdened the agency’s religious exercise in violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. Fulton et al. v. City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania et al., No. 19-123 (June 17, 2021). Justice John...… Continue Reading
June 17, 2021

EEOC Hosts Virtual Hearing on Civil Rights Implications of COVID-19 Pandemic in the Workplace

In its first all-virtual/remote video-cast hearing, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) discussed workplace civil rights implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for employees and employers.  (Transcript of the April 28, 2021 hearing is available here.)  During the hearing, Chairwoman Charlotte Burrows acknowledged that the EEOC must help employers navigate the new workplace landscape created by...… Continue Reading
June 7, 2021

Ninth Circuit Upholds Arbitration for Non-Signatory Defendant

California law is not typically seen as amiable to compelling employees to arbitrate their claims. However, in Franklin v. Community Regional Medical Center, ___ F.3d___(9th Cir. 2021), the Ninth Circuit panel upheld a motion to compel arbitration by a non-signatory to an arbitration agreement based on California law. Isabelle Franklin was employed by a staffing...… Continue Reading
June 7, 2021

Seventh Circuit Upholds High Bar for Plaintiffs Filing Retaliation Claims

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently reaffirmed employers’ rights under Title VII to make merit-based hiring decisions, even when it means rejecting a candidate who recently raised a meritorious claim of discrimination. In Robertson v. Wisconsin Department of Health Services, 949 F.3d 371, 374 (7th Cir. 2020), the plaintiff reported discriminatory conduct in the...… Continue Reading
June 7, 2021

Balancing Public Employees’ Religious Rights with the Establishment Clause

When it comes to striking a balance between the religious rights of government employees and the government’s duty to avoid Establishment Clause violations, “context matters.” In Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, 991 F.3d 1004 (9th Cir. 2021), the Ninth Circuit held that the public prayer by Joseph Kennedy, a football coach employed by the Bremerton...… Continue Reading
May 25, 2021

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