Worldwide: Web Exclusive: April 2018: The Top 13 Labor And Employment Law Stories

It's hard to keep up with all the recent changes to labor and employment law. While the law always seems to evolve at a rapid pace, there were an unprecedented number of changes all through 2017. And if the first three months of 2018 are any indication, things won't be slowing down anytime soon. In fact, there were so many significant developments taking place during the past month that we were forced to expand our monthly summary beyond the typical "Top 10" list. In order to make sure that you stay on top of the latest changes, here is a quick review of the Top 13 stories from last month that all employers need to know about:

  1. Another Landmark Ruling: Court Says Transgender Discrimination Violates Federal Anti-Bias Law – In what appears to be the first time a federal appeals court has extended the nation's main federal employment discrimination statute to cover transgender and transitioning employees, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on March 7 that employers cannot discriminate against such employees without violating Title VII. The appeals court also rejected the employer's attempt to claim that its religious beliefs should shield it from such discrimination claims, opening the door for other applicants, employees, and former employees to avail themselves of statutory anti-bias law. Here are three things employers need to know about the milestone ruling in Stephens v. R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. (read more here).
  2. FLSA Amendment Bans Employers From "Keeping" Tips – In the budget reconciliation bill passed on March 23, Congress included a rider amending the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to state: "An employer may not keep tips received by its employees for any purposes, including allowing managers or supervisors to keep any portion of employees' tips, regardless of whether or not the employer takes a tip credit." Furthermore, it provides that the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) regulations from 2011 "shall have no further force or effect" to the extent that portions do not address this section as it existed at the time. But the amendment leaves many questions unanswered: Will the USDOL issue a final rule explicitly acknowledging the validity of mandatory tip pooling arrangements that involve non-customarily tipped employees if no tip credit is taken? Or will the agency simply view that issue as settled with Congress striking down parts of the 2011 regulation that started the problem in the first place? Congress has now said that "managers" and "supervisors" may not keep any portion of an employee's tips, but those terms are not defined in the FLSA – will the USDOL issue guidance about which employees fit within those terms? (read more here and here).
  3. Washington Employers Face Trio Of New Workplace Laws – Governor Jay Inslee signed three major pieces of legislation in March that will affect all employers in the state of Washington:

    • Equal Pay For Equal Work: Washington Updates Equal Pay Act For The First Time In Over 70 Years – With heightened attention on gender-based workplace discrimination, Washington recently passed new legislation that creates additional pay equity requirements for Washington employers. Signed into law on March 21, HB 1506 will update and expand the state's Equal Pay Act (EPA) for the first time since it was enacted in 1943. Although the old version of the EPA was not a prominent source of legal claims, the new law is likely to lead to a surge of claims given that it creates new requirements and enforcement mechanisms. Because the new law will take effect on June 7, 2018, you should carefully analyze your existing policies and practices to ensure compliance (read more here).
    • Washington Bars Sexual Harassment Nondisclosure Agreements – In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the #MeToo movement, Washington employers will soon need to comply with two new laws aimed at preventing sexual harassment and assault in the workplace while encouraging open discussion about such problems. The new laws—which most notably restrict your ability to require nondisclosure agreements covering sexual harassment—were unanimously passed by the state legislature on February 28, and signed them into law on March 21 (read more here).
    • Washington State "Bans the Box" – Washington has joined a growing list of states and cities to restrict criminal history inquiries in the hiring process with adoption of the Washington Fair Chance Act (2SHB 1298), signed into law on March 13. Beginning June 7, 2018, state law will prohibit public and private employers from asking about arrests or convictions until after an applicant is determined otherwise qualified for a position (read more here).
  4. Department Of Labor Unveils Self-Report Program – The USDOL announced its Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) pilot program to mixed reactions on March 6. The PAID program is meant to provide a framework for employers to proactively resolve potential FLSA wage and hour claims. In a nutshell, an employer will be able to self-report potential violations to USDOL and attempt to resolve the issues efficiently and under the agency's "supervision," as outlined on its website. While one can speculate as to what the full terms of the forthcoming pilot program will be—and most likely employers will find them preferable to litigation—thus far the benefits as outlined by the agency, and the risks that accompany them, are not particularly distinguishable from an investigation (read more here).
  5. The Plot Thickens: Trump Administration Sues California Over New Immigration Laws, Including AB 450 – The ever-escalating dispute between the Trump Administration and the State of California over immigration policy is starting to resemble a Shakespearean drama. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, speaking at an appearance before law enforcement groups in Sacramento on March 7, announced the filing of a lawsuit against the state of California seeking to invalidate three recent pieces of immigration-related legislation enacted by the California Legislature and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. SB 54 enacted a statewide version of a so-called "sanctuary" law, which limits the ability of local law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. AB 103 enacted provisions that require the state Attorney General to inspect the activities of federal immigration agents. For employers, the most significant legislation at issue is AB 450, which, among other things, prohibits California employers from granting voluntary access to immigration authorities without a warrant, and requires employers to provide certain notices to employees before and after immigration enforcement activity at the workplace. The federal lawsuit seeks to invalidate these new laws, and asks the federal court to grant an injunction preventing their enforcement while the litigation is pending (read more here).
  6. Multi-Million Dollar Settlement Leaves Unanswered Questions About Equal Pay Claims – The parties to a high-profile Equal Pay Act lawsuit reached a multi-million dollar settlement on March 14 that will be sure to capture the attention of employers across the country. Former partners of the law firm Chadbourne & Parke LLP (now part of Norton Rose Fulbright) resolved a pay equity lawsuit against their former law firm, but the settlement left unanswered the question about who is considered an "employee" under the Act (read more here).
  7. E.U. Data Protection Regulations Collide With U.S. Law At Supreme Court – The EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been a popular topic of late. As if to highlight the seriousness with which the EU is pursuing this directive, the GDPR even made a recent appearance in Supreme Court arguments. On March 6, the case of United States v. Microsoft, raised the issue of whether the United States may issue a search warrant to a U.S.-based electronic communications service for data held on a server outside of the country (in this case, Ireland). At the heart of the case is a 2016 ruling in favor of Microsoft and other tech companies by the 2nd Circuit limiting the geographic reach of the Stored Communications Act to data stored in the United States (read more here).
  8. California Supreme Court Embraces Employee-Friendly Formula For Calculating OT Pay – In a unanimous decision, the California Supreme Court issued a ruling on March 5 that will have far-reaching effects for employers who pay employees a flat rate bonus and overtime. Specifically, the court ruled that when calculating overtime in pay periods in which an employee earns a flat rate bonus, employers must divide the total compensation earned in a pay period by only the non-overtime hours worked by an employee. The decision in Alvarado v. Dart Container Corporation of California formally breaks from the federal manner of calculating overtime which allows for dividing total compensation by total hours worked to compute overtime pay. All California employers who pay such bonuses must now review their policies and pay practices to ensure compliance with this decision (read more here).
  9. Massachusetts Employers Receive Guidance On Equal Pay Law – Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey issued much-anticipated and long-awaited guidance regarding the amended Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (MEPA), which is scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2018. As most know by now, the law will prohibit employers from paying employees of a different gender at different rates provided they are doing "comparable work," and will also bar inquiries about salary history. The guidance, issued on March 1, is intended to help employers to comply with the new law. Unfortunately, employers are likely to find that the guidance raises as many questions as it answers. In particular, the guidance does not provide significant illumination on the critical issue of what constitutes "comparable work." In short, with just four months to go before the law becomes effective, Massachusetts employers are now under pressure to conduct complicated audits if they want to avoid the prospect of costly pay equity litigation (read more here).
  10. Appeal Filed In Grubhub Misclassification Case – We knew we hadn't heard the end of this case, but it became official on March 8: the worker who lost what is believed to be the nation's first-ever gig economy misclassification trial last month has filed an appeal with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. This case involves a former GrubHub driver named Raef Lawson who claimed that he should have been classified as an employee for the online food-delivery service instead of an independent contractor. The case went to a bench trial in September, and a California federal judge decided in February that Grubhub lacked necessary control over the driver's work to be considered an employee. The plaintiff's attorneys vowed then to appeal the decision, and made good on that promise earlier this month. Interestingly, besides appealing the finding that Lawson was an independent contractor, the attorneys are also appealing the order from July 2016 that blocked him from proceeding with his claim as a class action lawsuit (read more here).
  11. Cal/OSHA Adopts Final Hotel Housekeeping Injury Standard – After nearly six years of discussion and debate, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board approved a standard on "Hotel Housekeeping Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention" on March 9 that will impact "lodging establishments" throughout the state of California. The final regulation, effective July 1, 2018, will require each covered employer is required to establish and maintain a written musculoskeletal injury prevention program (MIPP) that addresses hazards specific to housekeeping. The standard specifies that the MIPP may be incorporated into an existing injury and illness prevention program (IIPP) or maintained as a separate program, and must be readily accessible each work shift to employees (including electronic access) (read more here).
  12. New York State Moves One Step Closer to Changes to Sexual Harassment Laws -- On March 12, the New York State Senate passed a bill aimed at strengthening and reforming the state sexual harassment laws. The legislation comes on the heels of the #MeToo movement and mirrors much of what Governor Cuomo proposed in his January State of the State Address, including a ban on confidential settlements and mandatory arbitration clauses. If ultimately enacted into law, the legislation will significantly impact both public and private employers in New York. The Senate's bill effortlessly passed its first hurdle, with a vote in the Republican-controlled Senate of 56-2. Next up, the bill will be delivered to the Democratic-controlled Assembly. Should the bill pass muster at the Assembly, it will move to Governor Cuomo, who will either sign it into law or veto it. Given Governor Cuomo's previously announced multi-pronged agenda aimed at combatting sexual harassment in the workplace, it is likely he will be in strong favor of the legislation (read more here).
  13. UK Law Firms Report Pay Disparities as Part of "Name and Shame" Regulations – As we recently reported, businesses in the UK with 250 or more employees now are required publicly to report differences in pay between men and women on their own websites and also to upload such information to a government-sponsored website. With the March 31, 2018 deadline for doing so rapidly approaching, some business—including some law firms—already have begun posting such data. After two major law firms released data earlier in the year, another London-based firm, Allen & Overy, posted its report in March. That report showed female employees, on average, earned 19.8% less than male employees. It also showed that a slightly lower percentage of females received bonuses (53.2% as compared to 55.5% of males), and that male employees' bonuses were, on average, 42.1% higher than those of female employees (read more here).

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions