Louisiana News & Analysis

  • No proof that employer knew of bus driver's HIV-positive status

    In a recent case from the federal district court in New Orleans, the decision makers' lack of knowledge about the employee's disability was fatal to his disability discrimination and failure-to-accommodate claims.

  • Whistleblower claim missing key ingredient: reasonable belief

    From Deep Throat to Linda Tripp to Sherron Watkins, infamous whistleblowers have captured our attention, become fodder for comedy sketches, and sparked best-selling novels and Hollywood movies. More important to employers, these headline-grabbing stories have motivated lawmakers to enact protections for employees who internally report what they believe to be wrongdoing by someone at the company, only to find themselves being shown the door or otherwise retaliated against for "doing the right thing." The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) provides protections for whistleblowers at publicly traded companies who point out to their employers that they have violated the Securities Exchange Act. But those protections are not absolute, as one would-be SOX whistleblower recently found out when the federal appeals court in New Orleans reviewed his claim.

  • Know the legal issues you face when employees work past 65

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), about one-third of Americans between the ages of 65 and 69 are still employed. That number has been steadily rising, and it's expected to reach 36 percent over the next five years.

  • Appeals court says oil-drilling consultants are independent contractors, not employees

    The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all employers in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas) recently vacated (i.e., overturned) a district court's finding that oil-drilling consultants were employees instead of independent contractors. Analyzing the factors used in the 5th Circuit to determine employee or independent contractor status, the court found the consultants had been properly classified as independent contractors. Let's look at the relevant facts and key takeaways from the case.

  • Agency Action

    DOL announces new compliance assistance tool. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in February announced the launch of an enhanced electronic version of the Handy Reference Guide to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The new online version of Wage and Hour Division (WHD) publications aims to assist employers and workers with a resource that provides basic WHD information as well as links to other resources. The WHD established the electronic guide as part of its efforts to modernize compliance assistance materials and provide accessible information to guide compliance. The tool offers a new design ― reformatted for laptops, tablets, and other mobile devices ― and provides additional resources and related information, including plain-language videos.

  • Workplace Trends

    Most professionals negotiate salary offers, survey finds. Research from staffing firm Robert Half finds that 55% of professionals surveyed tried to negotiate a higher salary with their last employment offer, a 16-point jump from a similar survey released in 2018. Among workers in the 28 U.S. cities polled, Miami, San Diego, and San Francisco had the most respondents who asked for more pay, while Minneapolis, Philadelphia, and Cleveland had the fewest. A separate survey showed that 70% of senior managers said they expect some back-and-forth on salary. About six in 10 are more open to negotiating compensation than they were a year ago.

  • Transgender status is not a protected class in 5th Circuit

    When a job offer to a transgender woman was rescinded based on a background check, she sued for discrimination. The federal appeals court ruled that transgender status isn't a protected class under discrimination law and dismissed the case. Read on to learn more.

  • All aboard: railway employee's disability discrimination claim headed to trial

    A recent 5th Circuit opinion reversed a trial court's dismissal of an employee's disability discrimination claim. The ruling determined that a rail company employee provided sufficient evidence to create a triable issue about whether he was qualified to safely perform his essential job functions.

  • A treatment plan for negative online employee reviews

    The Wall Street Journal recently reported on its discovery that, after analyzing millions of online reviews of various companies by their current and former employees, it appeared that more than 400 employers might be gaming the system. Each of the companies experienced unusually large single-month increases in the number of reviews posted by their employees to the jobs website Glassdoor. The surges tended to be disproportionately positive not only for the months in which they occurred but also by comparison to the surrounding months. The clear implication was that someone in a position of authority at the companies had spearheaded a campaign to get employees to post positive reviews to the site in an effort to counteract the overwhelmingly negative ones already posted.

  • OSHA reverses course on electronic reporting requirements

    In what has become a familiar refrain for anyone paying attention, the Trump administration has once again pulled back employment-related regulations that had been established or expanded during the Obama administration. This time, the regulations at issue required establishments that are subject to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) record-keeping requirements to submit information about work-related injuries and illnesses to OSHA electronically. To understand the significance of the change, a quick review of the nature and history of the agency's reporting requirements may be helpful.