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July 2017 Archives

T-Mobile USA, Incorporated v. NLRB, No. 16-60284 (5th Cir. July 25, 2017)

The Fifth Circuit enforces a National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") order striking down an employer's policy that banned the use of "cameras, camera phones/devices, or recording devices (audio or video) in the workplace."

Alamo v. Bliss, No. 15-2849 (7th Cir. July 20, 2017)

The Seventh Circuit decides a couple of useful things in this Title VII and § 1983 national-origin discrimination, harassment, and retaliation case, set in a City of Chicago firehouse. First, it holds that even petty activity such as lunch-stealing may constitute part of a hostile work environment when the entire pattern of conduct is considered together. Second, even such tedious activities as constantly shifting an employee from site to site, and intensively challenging fitness for duty after medical leave, may constitute materially adverse employment actions.

New ERISA Fiduciary Rule Takes Effect

On June 9, the long-awaited revised "fiduciary rule" from the U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL") went into partial effect and will be in full force as of January 1, 2018. After nearly a decade, and much political wrangling, the updated rule ushers in sweeping changes regarding the duties and responsibilities financial advisors and others owe their clients.

Do Retirees Have Rights Under ERISA When Companies Cut Benefits?

It's no secret that one of the ways companies try to cut costs is through layoffs. Another method, which can be just as disruptive to employees, is by reducing pensions and other benefits earned while working for the employer. From well-known companies to state governments, retirement benefits seem to be a favorite target, and provisions in President Trump's proposed budget are also raising fears that retired federal employees would see their benefits shrink drastically over time.

Castleberry v. STI Group, No. 16-3131 (3d Cir. July 14, 2017)

The Third Circuit holds that a manager's single use of a racial slur, combined with a threat to fire a Black employee, may be enough all by itself to constitute a hostile work environment under Section 1981.

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