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This week's topics ...

(1) New York Joins California in Battling Gender Bias

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a series of bills aimed at battling gender bias in the workplace and addressing fair pay, pay transparency, sexual harassment, accommodations for pregnancy-related conditions, and more. This follows Governor Jerry Brown's signing of the California Fair Pay Act in early October. We interview Susan Gross Sholinsky, a Member of the Firm at Epstein Becker Green.

(2) Facebook “Likes” Protected by Labor Law

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that Triple Play Sports Bar & Grille violated the National Labor Relations Act when it terminated employees for commenting on and “liking” a post by a former employee that was critical of the employer. Employers should take into account the National Labor Relations Board’s position on social media issues when drafting their policies.

(3) Beauty School Not Liable for Student Wages

A U.S. District Court in California dismissed a suit from three cosmetology and haircutting students who claimed that they should receive wages from B&H Education Inc.’s Marinello Schools of Beauty because they were more workers than pupils. The district court held that the students had not proved that the educational benefit that they received was outweighed by the unpaid work they did.

(4) EEOC Wins in Religious Beliefs Accommodations Case

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which brought the case, said that Star Transport Inc. violated two Muslim truck drivers’ religious rights by refusing to work around their objections to delivering alcoholic beverages. Failure to accommodate the religious beliefs of employees, when this can be done without undue hardship, violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC charged that the company could have avoided assigning the employees beer routes without undue hardship but chose to press the issue. A federal jury in Illinois agreed with the EEOC and awarded damages of $240,000 to the drivers.

(5) In-House Counsel Tip of the Week

Attorney Greg Shih advises in-house counsel to keep abreast of issues outside their purview.