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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued new guidance on the consideration of arrest and conviction records in employment decisions. Although the guidance is not legally binding, it is intended to be a resource for employers, applicants, employees and EEOC enforcement staff in assessing whether an employer's use of criminal history may violate Title VII.
The National Labour Relations Board (NLRB) has staked out new positions that are contrary to the common business practices of both large and small employers. While it is prudent for employers to keep abreast of developments in the NLRB, there are virtually no court decisions addressing the NLRB's recent expansive interpretation of the National Labour Relations Act.
The US District Court for the Eastern District of New York has issued an opinion that may frustrate employers' efforts to minimise unfavourable media attention caused by lawsuits brought against them. In D'Annuzio the court held that the plaintiffs' comments at a press conference on alleged sexual harassment to which they claimed to have been subjected at their former employer were protected by the New York Civil Rights Law.
Given the state of the economy, companies are finding it easier to attract unpaid interns with impressive credentials. However, the recent filing of several class action lawsuits claiming that businesses misclassified workers as unpaid interns in order to minimise labour costs makes it clear that employers sponsoring internship programmes must be diligent in order to ensure compliance with federal and state laws.
In recent years, Congress and state legislatures have expanded the reach of disability laws. However, the courts have resisted attempts by employees seeking to broaden these laws further. Decisions issued by the courts underscore the importance of drafting and implementing sound attendance policies and job descriptions, and not excusing misconduct simply because it may have resulted from a disability.
The New York Court of Appeals has again reaffirmed the strength of New York's at-will employment doctrine in rejecting a wrongful discharge claim. The decision represents a positive development for employers, who can rest assured that New York courts continue to be reluctant to expand the narrow Wieder exception to the robust employment at-will doctrine.