Tag Archives: Program

DOL Withdraws Guidance Letters Leaving Employers to Pick up the Pieces

On June 7, 2017, the U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announced the withdrawal of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) guidance on independent contractors and joint employment issued during the Obama administration, without issuing replacement guidance. Although the DOL offered no explanation for its decision, the move signaled that, under the Trump administration, the DOL may take a more employer-friendly approach when investigating these issues. At the moment this is simply an expectation and will not serve as a defense before the DOL or in litigation. So how do employers protect themselves? Unfortunately, there is no foolproof answer. The best defense is knowledge. Employers should understand the DOL’s position in the withdrawn guidance, the DOL’s position pre-guidance (likely the DOL’s current position) and how the absence of the guidance may impact judicial decisions.

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In Matal V. Tam, Scotus Rules Prohibition On Disparaging Trademarks Unconstitutional

The Asian American members of the band the Slants adopted that name to “reclaim” and “take ownership” of the derogatory term. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) refused to register a trademark application for THE SLANTS filed by Simon Shiao Tam, the band’s lead singer, because the mark violated the Lanham Act’s disparagement clause. Tam appealed and finally prevailed before the Supreme Court of the United States in Matal v. Tam, 582 U.S. ___ (2017), which was announced on June 19, 2017. In pushing to secure a trademark registration for “The Slants,” however, Tam opened the flood gates for hate speech in trademark registrations issued by the USPTO.

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Fate Of Enjoined White Collar Overtime Rule Still Undecided: Unlikely To Defend Obama Administration Rule, The Trump Administration Stalls

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), minimum wage and overtime requirements do not apply to any employee covered by the “white collar” exemption. To be considered a white collar worker under that exemption, the FLSA requires the employee to be employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity. Although the FLSA does not set a minimum white collar salary level, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) previously issued regulations requiring, among other things, that an employee meet a minimum salary threshold to qualify for the exemption.

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An Overview of Ban the Box Laws in California

Individuals with criminal records unquestionably have a more difficult time obtaining gainful employment than individuals without criminal records. In fact, in a 2007 study, only approximately 40 percent of employers in four major metropolitan areas reported that they would “definitely” or “probably” hire applicants with a criminal history.1 In the same study, which also looked at the rates of “call backs” or job offers for applicants with different demographics, job offers for whites with criminal records fall by about half, and are reduced by that much or more for black ex-convicts.2

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What’s in a name? A battle for a transgender immigrant’s rights

While the United States continues to grapple with transgender rights—including the right to restroom access—transgender individuals across the globe often face severe persecution and torture on account of their gender identity. One difficulty transgender people encounter both domestically and abroad concerns the ability to ensure that their official documents bear the chosen names that match their gender. When trans immigrants seek to have their cases heard in U.S. immigration courts, it is important—but not always easy—to ensure that orders affecting their rights include both the name they were given at birth and the name that corresponds with their gender.

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The LCLD Fellows Program: Building Relationships and Leadership Skills

I finished my term as Cozen O’Connor’s Fellow in the Leadership Counsel on Legal Diversity in March of 2017. The mission of this prestige program is to unite attorneys who work in firms and in corporate counsel offices for the purposes of networking, personal and career development, and the promotion of diversity within our profession.

Firms and corporations that are members of LCLD select one fellow per year to represent them in the program, and the selection process within those organizations is often very competitive.

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California & the Federal Government Expand Laws to Eliminate Wage Disparity

California state legislature amended the Fair Pay Act to prohibit race and ethnicity-based wage differentials and to preclude employers from relying on salary history to justify the wage gaps. In addition, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) finalized Regulations to require employers to collect and include wage data in EEO-1 Reports.

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