Monday, October 13, 2014

That is SO last week

Last Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in an important Fair Labor Standards Act case brought by's temporary workers.  The question before the Court was whether the workers should be paid for time spent going through an end-of-shift security screening.  The screening sometimes took as much as 25 minutes.  The workers argued that the security screening was a critical component of Amazon’s business, benefited Amazon and the contract staffing service that supplied the temporary workers, and that they should be paid for the time involved. Amazon’s contractor, Integrity Staffing Solutions, countered that the time spent going through the screening was minimal, and likened it to the time it takes to walk to a workstation.  Courts have previously held that time spent walking to a workstation need not be paid time.
Unfortunately, there there was no real indication from the Court about how the justices will rule. Expect a decision sometime before July 2015.
In other developments:
  • An MIT economist published a study on how having a gender-diverse workforce can help the bottom line, although it may not result in workers being comfortable.
  • The EEOC said “Do what I say, what I do doesn't matter” in response to a request for the agency’s own background check practices. The request arose in a hotly contested case about BMW’s background check policies and practices.
  • FedEx Ground came under more scrutiny last week as the EEOC filed a nationwide class action alleging disability discrimination against deaf and hearing impaired applicants and employees.
  • The dismissal of the EEOC’s severance agreement case against CVS, while viewed as good news by employers, was largely on procedural grounds.
  • Bloomberg’s Business Week examined whether underpaid employees are a cybersecurity risk.
  • A terminated Reddit employee and Reddit’s CEO publicly disputed the reasons for the employee’s firing in an online “Ask Me Anything” (“AMA”) session.
  • Jason Averbook predicted that HR departments will soon have marketing, user experience, and data experts.
  • As Walmart both cut off employees from its own health insurance and started offering insurance to the masses, The Atlantic pondered the end of employer-paid health insurance.

Posted by: Kate Bischoff

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