Health Employment And Labor labor and employment law for the healthcare industry

Category Archives: Employment Litigation

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Third Circuit Holds Medical Residents May Bring Title IX Claims

In a decision with significant implications for private hospitals, on March 7, 2017, the Third Circuit held in Doe v. Mercy Catholic Medical Center that medical residents may bring private causes of action for sex discrimination under Title IX against private teaching hospitals operating residency programs, and are not limited to claims under Title VII.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §1681, et seq., prohibits sex discrimination in any “education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a). A former resident alleged the director of her program repeatedly sexually harassed … Continue Reading

Employment Law This Week: Waiver of Meal Breaks, Transgender Guidance Withdrawal

Two stories on the new episode of Employment Law This Week will be of particular interest to our readers in the health care industry:

California Health Care Workers Can Waive Breaks

California health care workers can still waive some breaks. In February 2015, a California appeals court invalidated an order from the Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) that allowed health care workers to waive certain meal breaks. The court found the order, which allowed the workers to miss one of their two meal periods when working over eight hours, was in direct conflict with the California Labor Code. The state legislature … Continue Reading

EEOC Releases Retaliation Guidance – Employment Law This Week

Featured on Employment Law This Week:  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued new guidance on workplace retaliation.

The EEOC’s final guidance on retaliation includes concrete examples of retaliation issues that the courts have largely agreed upon, as well as expanded definitions of “adverse action” and “causal connection.” The guidance also describes “promising practices” for reducing the possibility of retaliation, including anti-retaliation training and proactive follow-up with potential targets. Retaliation has become the most frequent form of employment claim across business sectors. The percentage of EEOC charges in this area has almost doubled since the last guidance was issued. … Continue Reading

EEOC Issues Final Retaliation Guidance

On August 29, 2016, the EEOC issued its final Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related Issues (Guidance) to replace its 1998 Compliance Manual section on retaliation, including tips on ADA interference. The Guidance reflects the Commission’s consideration of feedback received on the proposal from about 60 organizations and individuals following a 30-day public input period that ended February 24, 2016. The changes in the Guidance are in line with the EEOC’s efforts to broaden the conduct that would be deemed retaliatory as well as the concept of causation.

Along with the Guidance, the EEOC has issued two accompanying documents: a … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Extends the Reach of the Cat’s Paw

In employment litigation, plaintiffs often rely on the “cat’s paw” doctrine to hold their employers liable for discriminatory or retaliatory animus of a supervisory employee who influenced, but did not make, the ultimate employment decision.  On August 29, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in Vasquez v. Empress Ambulance Service, Inc., greatly extended the reach of the “cat’s paw,” holding that the doctrine could be applied to hold an employer liable for an adverse employment decision that was influenced by the discriminatory or retaliatory animus of a low-level, non-supervisory co-worker.

The plaintiff, an emergency … Continue Reading

Retaliation, ADA Charges Rise – Frank C. Morris, Jr. Quoted in SHRM

Our colleague Frank C. Morris, Jr., a Member of the Firm in the Litigation and Employee Benefits practices, in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, was quoted in “Retaliation, ADA Charges Rise” by Allen Smith.  The article discusses the uptick in retaliation charges which have been filed and includes tips for employers on how to reduce the likelihood that they will get hit with those types of charges.

Following is an excerpt:

ADA cases today are more often about what took place in the interactive process for identifying a reasonable accommodation than about whether a disability is covered by the … Continue Reading

Don’t Tell Me You Love Me – Team Building Gone Wrong According to EEOC

John M. O’Connor

John M. O’Connnor

Who knew that “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me,” the iconic rock anthem of 80’s hairband Night Ranger (YouTube video) is actually a rally song protesting religious discrimination??  On January 27, 2016, the EEOC filed a summary judgment motion in EEOC v. United Health Programs of America, No. 14-cv-3673 (E.D.N.Y. filed June 11, 2014), asking the Court to find that certain team building policies and practices implemented by the defendant employer, including a requirement that its employees tell one another “I love you,” amount to unlawful religious discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights … Continue Reading

U.S. District Court Holds that FCA’s Retaliation Provision Requires “But-for” Causation

Daniel and Nathaniel

Nathaniel M. Glasser and Daniel C. Fundakowski

Last month, in United States ex rel. Helfer v. Associated Anesthesiologists of Springfield, Ltd., No. 3:10-cv-03076 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 14, 2016), the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois held that the retaliation provision of the False Claims Act (“FCA”) requires a whistleblower to show that protected activity was the “but-for” cause of the alleged adverse action.

The FCA’s retaliation provision entitles an employee to relief if he is “discharged, demoted, suspended, threatened, harassed, or in any other manner discriminated against . . . because of lawful acts done … Continue Reading

DOL’s Wage Rule for Home Care Workers – Employment Law This Week

Employment Law This Week – a new video program from Epstein Becker Green – has a story this week on how the Supreme Court has cleared the way for the Department of Labor’s home care worker wage rule.

The high court recently denied a stay of the D.C. Circuit’s decision, and the new rule extending Fair Labor Standards Act protections to most home care workers will go into effect November 12, 2015. While the Department will not begin full enforcement until January 1, 2016, the new regulation will be immediately enforceable by private individuals and attorneys.


Click above or watch

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Five EEOC Initiatives to Monitor on the Agency’s Golden Anniversary

My colleague Nathaniel M. Glasser recently authored Epstein Becker Green’s Take 5 newsletter.   In this edition of Take 5, Nathaniel highlights five areas of enforcement that U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) continues to tout publicly and aggressively pursue.

  1. Religious Discrimination and Accommodation—EEOC Is Victorious in New U.S. Supreme Court Ruling
  2. Transgender Protections Under Title VII—EEOC Relies on Expanded Sex Discrimination Theories
  3. Systemic Investigations and Litigation—EEOC Gives Priority to Enforcement Initiative
  4. Narrowing the “Gender Pay Gap”—EEOC Files Suits Under the Equal Pay Act
  5. Background Checks—EEOC Seeks to Eliminate Barriers to Recruitment and Hiring

Read the Full Take 5Continue Reading

Supreme Court Holds That Time Spent in Security Screening Is Not Compensable Time

Regarding the Supreme Court’s Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk opinion, issued today, our colleague Michael Kun at Epstein Becker Green has posted “Supreme Court Holds That Time Spent in Security Screening Is Not Compensable Time” on one of our sister blogs, Wage & Hour Defense.

Following is an excerpt:

In order to prevent employee theft, some employers require their employees to undergo security screenings before leaving the employers’ facilities. That is particularly so with employers involved in manufacturing and retail sales, who must be concerned with valuable merchandise being removed in bags, purses or jacket pockets.

Often in … Continue Reading

Five Labor and Employment Issues Faced by Health Care Employers

Our Epstein Becker Green colleagues have released a new Take 5 newsletter: “Five Labor and Employment Issues Faced by Health Care Employers,” by Michael F. McGahan, D. Martin Stanberry, and Daniel J. Green.  Below is an excerpt:

As the Affordable Care Act and the challenges of reimbursement and funding for health care services drive changes in the health care delivery system and employment in the industry, new issues in labor and employment law are arising.   This month’s Take 5 addresses five of these new and important issues…

  1. NLRB’s Proposed Changes to Its Union Election Rules and Approval of
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Supreme Court Holds That Only Employees Who Have Authority to Take Tangible Employment Actions Constitute Supervisors for the Purpose of Vicarious Liability Under Title VII

Our colleague Julie Saker Schlegel at Epstein Becker Green recently posted “Supreme Court Holds That Only Employees Who Have Authority to Take Tangible Employment Actions Constitute Supervisors for the Purpose of Vicarious Liability Under Title VII” on the Retail Labor and Employment Law blog, and we think health industry employers will be interested.

Following is an excerpt:

In a 5-4 decision the dissent termed “decidedly employer-friendly,” the Supreme Court held on June 24, 2013 that only employees who have been empowered by the employer to take tangible employment actions against a harassment victim constitute “supervisors” for the purpose … Continue Reading

NLRB Attacks At-Will Employment Policies & Confidentiality in HR Investigations

Over the past several weeks the National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) has come down with a series of decisions that attack the very fabric of the employee-employer relationship: at-will employment.  Then, in nothing short of a Las Vegas-style double or nothing gambit, the Board did not stop there, but instead doubled down on their offensive against employers by rendering unlawful the confidentiality requirements (pdf) that many health care employers follow in internal investigations.

Almost all employers have a provision in its employee handbook explaining that employees are employed on an at-will basis, meaning that either the employee or … Continue Reading

Poorly Crafted Wellness Programs Could Make Employers Sick

Kara Maciel, Member of the Epstein Becker Green Labor and Employment, Litigation, and Health Care and Life Sciences  Practices, was recently interviewed by Employment Law360 concerning employer wellness programs. 

According to the article, businesses are turning to wellness programs to curb health care expenses, but programs that aren’t carefully crafted can open employers up to costly privacy and discrimination litigation, attorneys say.  Wellness programs can lead to big savings for employers by targeting behaviors that can cause  conditions that drive up their health care expenditures. But programs that give employers too much  information about their employees can leave employers vulnerable … Continue Reading

2012 HEAL Briefings for Healthcare and Wellness Executive and HR Professionals – EBG Atlanta Office

A monthly breakfast law briefing and networking series specifically  designed for health care and wellness company executives and human resources professionals.  This informative series will address labor and employment issues during these challenging times and offer solutions.

For additional information and to register,  contact Carla Llarena or by tel: (404) 869-5363.

February 8, 2012 
Today’s OSHA: What Healthcare Companies and Practices Need to Know

March 14, 2012
It Can Hurt to Ask: TMI in the Digital Age
(Focusing on Social Media & Background Checks)

April 11, 2012
Best Practices to Avoid Wage and Hour Liability

May 9, 2012
What You Continue Reading

Employee or Independent Contractor? Enforcement Efforts Increase in the Home Health Care Industry

By:  Kara M. Maciel

Identifying and eradicating the misclassification of employees as independent contractors continues to be a key objective for the Obama Administration.  The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) and the IRS have intensified their enforcement efforts regarding worker misclassification, and audits have increased substantially, particularly within the home health industry.  In September 2011, the DOL and IRS announced an effort to coordinate with each other and with several states by, pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding, permitting the sharing of information to combat misclassification.

Legal Tests for Independent Contractor Status

Liability for misclassification can arise under different laws, … Continue Reading