Delaware News & Analysis

  • Judge orders retrial in $1.5M KFC breast-pumping case

    U.S. District Court Judge Colm F. Connolly recently ordered a new trial in a case alleging disparate treatment (sex discrimination), a hostile work environment, and the failure to accommodate an employee's need to express breast milk. In February, a jury ruled in the employee's favor on the first two counts (the third count had been dismissed before the trial) and awarded her $25,000 in compensatory damages and $1.5 million in punitive damages. But the judge believed the jury had confused the issues and decided that allowing their findings to stand would have been a "miscarriage of justice."

  • Put the Penn down: 3rd Circuit decision has impact on ERISA class action claims

    A split three-judge panel recently overturned a lower court decision that had favored the employer in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) class action lawsuit. The case was originally filed by a group of University of Pennsylvania employees who felt the school wasn't meeting its fiduciary burden when managing their retirement funds.

  • DOL updates opinion on independent contractors for the gig economy

    Under the Trump administration, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has taken a decidedly industry-friendly approach to the independent contractor analysis. If there was any doubt before, that was made clear by its recent issuance of a whopping 10-page opinion letter examining the nature of the relationship between a virtual marketplace company (think Uber) and the "gig" workers they employ (e.g., Uber drivers).

  • Supreme Court ruling raises stakes in Title VII claims

    If an employee files a timely Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charge, can she later raise new discrimination allegations after the filing deadline has passed? That's the issue addressed in a new decision from the U.S. Supreme Court. Spoiler alert: The answer is no, unless the employer—or more accurately, its attorney—doesn't notice. To understand the Court's ruling, it's helpful to understand the EEOC's role in discrimination claims.

  • What to do when U.S. DOL comes knocking at your door

    The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) performs wage and hour audits of employers by selecting them at random, or because they are in targeted industries (usually low-wage), or as a result of a complaint from an employee or former employee. The investigations have increased significantly over the past few years and can result in orders for back wages and penalties. What steps should you take when the DOL comes knocking (generally with no prior notice)? Read on and you'll learn!

  • Agency Action

    NLRB reveals rulemaking plans. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in May announced its rulemaking priorities, which include proceeding with its rulemaking on a standard for joint employment. The Board's agenda also includes plans for rulemaking in the following areas: representation-case procedures; standards for blocking charges, voluntary recognition, and the formation of bargaining relationships in the construction industry; the standard for determining whether students who perform services at private colleges or universities in connection with their studies should be considered employees; and standards for access to an employer's private property.

  • Workplace Trends

    Think you've made a hire? Maybe not. A survey from staffing firm Robert Half shows that more than a quarter of workers (28%) have backed out of a job offer after accepting the position. Why would a jobseeker do that? The survey says 44% of those changing their minds backed out after receiving a better offer from another company. For 27%, a counteroffer from their current employer led to the change of heart. In 19% of the cases, the jobseeker reported hearing bad things about the company after receiving the offer. The cities where jobseekers are more likely to renege are San Diego, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, Austin, and Miami.

  • FMLA claim fails for worker fired for violating noncompete while on leave

    The U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Delaware employers) denied an individual's attempt to revive her Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) interference claim because her former employer lawfully terminated her employment for her apparent violations of a noncompete agreement.

  • Court finds poor performance, not accommodation request, caused termination

    The 3rd Circuit recently held an employee's request for an accommodation doesn't immunize her from being fired for legitimate reasons.

  • Supreme Court will decide whether LGBT discrimination is unlawful

    The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide the long-unresolved question of whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The issue has been percolating in the lower courts for quite a while. As it frequently does, the Court declined to consider the question until there was a conflict between several appellate courts. Let's take a look at the history of the Court's decisions, the arguments on both sides of the issue, and what we can expect next.