Yearly Archives: 2012

EEOC Releases Strategic Enforcement Plan

On December 18, 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission formally released its new Strategic Enforcement Plan, which outlines its priorities and objectives for prospective enforcement and investigation.  The EEOC identifies its priorities as follows: Eliminating Barriers in Recruitment and Hiring. The EEOC will target class-based recruitment and hiring practices that discriminate against racial, ethnic and religious [...]

Read More

Handbook Anti-Retaliation Policy Does Not Create An Enforceable Contract Right Where Handbook Affirms At-Will Employment

In the case of Scott  v. Merck & Co, Incorporated (Fourth Circuit, Nov 2012), an employee made an internal ethics complaint against her supervisor, claiming that he had violated company business standards by issuing unwarranted performance evaluations and improvement plans.  As part of its published code of conduct, Merck had a policy that stated: “[anyone] who [...]

Read More

Right-To-Work-Laws

This week Michigan passes legislation officially making it a “Right-To-Work” state.  Often confused with “at-will” employment, the ambiguous term actually refers to laws that prohibit Employers or Unions from requiring or banning Union membership or dues as a condition of employment.  Practically stated, right-to-work laws essentially limit a Union’s ability to require membership, which potentially [...]

Read More

Non-Compete Update

In November of 2011, the Virginia Supreme Court provided new guidance regarding the enforcement of Non-Compete Agreements.  Reversing prior precedent, the Court held that a restrictive covenant prohibiting employment “in any capacity” with a potential competitor was over-broad. As a result, Employers are advised to draft narrowly tailored provisions that only seek to limit an [...]

Read More

Virginia Extends Wrongful Discharge Liability to Individual Supervisors

In a November 2012 decision, the Virginia Supreme Court holds that supervisors may be individually liable for tort claims of wrongful discharge.  See VanBuren v. Grubb, (Virginia Supreme Court 2012).  The Fourth Circuit originally certified the issue to the Virginia Supreme Court, questioning whether supervisors who participate in firing decisions can be held liable under [...]

Read More

Minimum Wage and Tips in the Restaurant Industry

The DOL has recently affirmed its intention to enforce amended 2011 regulations regarding the use of “Tip Credits” and “Tip Pools in the restaurant industry.  As permitted by the FLSA and state law, Virginia restaurants may pay “tipped” employees an hourly wage of $2.13, provided that they receive at least $5.12 an hour in tips [...]

Read More

Supreme Court to Hear Argument on Supervisor Liability Under Title VII

Although the Supreme Court previously held under Title VII that a company can be vicariously liable for harassment by an employee’s supervisor, Circuits have split on the issue of whether a qualifying supervisor must have the authority to take formal action against the employee.  (Absent vicarious liability, an employee usually must prove that a company [...]

Read More

Pharmaceutical Sales Reps Qualify for “Outside Salesmen” Overtime Exemption.

Although the Pharmaceutical industry has long treated their sales reps as outside sales persons, exempt from the FLSA’s overtime requirements, a recent  shift in the DOL’s interpretation of its regulations raised the question whether such persons actually complete “sales” in a manner necessary to gain the exemption.  Resolving a split in the Circuits, the Supreme [...]

Read More

Discriminatory Denial of Severance Benefit May Serve as Adverse Action Under Title VII

The Fourth Circuit holds that a female employee may pursue a claim for gender discrimination on the basis that she was offered a severance package that was less lucrative than the severance benefits offered to comparable male employees. See Gerner v. County of Chesterfield, Fourth Circuit (2012) dsgordonlaw.com  

Read More