Management Update
Volume 4, Issue 8
August 2015
The Department of Labor Narrows the Independent Contractor Exception to Wage & Hour Law
A recent DOL Interpretation will probably entitle more workers to benefits and overtime compensation as employees. David Weil, the Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued an Interpretation last week regarding the proper analysis to be used in determining whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee. See Administrator's Interpretation 2015-1:The Application of the Fair Labor Standards Act's "Suffer or Permit" Standard in the Identification of Employees Who Are Misclassified as Independent Contractors. More information can be found here. 

Court Rules That Employer May Be Liable For Actions Of An Anonymous Harasser
On July 1, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in the case of Pryor v. United Air Lines, Inc.,[1] that a jury will be allowed to decide whether or not United Airlines should be held liable for failing to investigate an anonymous, racially-oriented note left in an employee's company mailbox. More information can be found here. 
EEOC Prohibits Sexual Orientation Discrimination
On July 16 EEOC ruled that a male air traffic controller, who alleged the Department of Transportation denied him a promotion because he was gay, can pursue a claim under Title VII's prohibition against sex discrimination. The 3-2 vote marks the first time the EEOC has formally ruled that Title VII prohibits bias based on sexual orientation. In the published ruling, the EEOC said "[s]exual orientation discrimination is sex discrimination because it necessarily entails treating an employee less favorably because of the employee's sex." The EEOC has been accepting charges of sexual orientation discrimination from private sector and public sector for many moths, so this decision was not a surprise. Courts, on the other hand, have avoided extending the definition of "sex" to include "sexual orientation." 
EEOC Issues Revised Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues
Recent Guidance issued June 25, which can be found at 
revises the Guidance previously issued by the EEOC in 2014 on this subject and sets out a framework for determining how far employers must go to accommodate a pregnant employee. To learn more about this new guidance, see here. 
Wal-Mart Faced With Gender Discrimination Lawsuit For Denying Benefits to Same-Sex Spouses
Jackie Cote, an employee with Wal-Mart Stores in Boston, filed suit against the retail giant for denying health insurance to spouses of employees in same-sex marriages. The lawsuit seeks nationwide class-action status. Cote said in the lawsuit that her spouse, Diana Smithson, was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 and the denial of insurance led to $150,000 in medical debt. Cote requested Smithson be added to her insurance policy after Smithson left Wal-Mart in 2008 to care for Cote's mother and was repeatedly denied. In 2014, Cote filed a complaint with the EEOC, who said in January that Wal-Mart violated gender discrimination laws by denying benefits to Smithson. Wal-Mart argued to the commission that it was not obligated to provide benefits to gay employees' spouses because federal anti-discrimination laws did not apply to gay employees. The company's primary defense, however, was that it is self-insured which preempts any discrimination claims. The lawsuit seeks certification of current and former gay Wal-Mart employees married before January 1, 2014, and various damages for employees, including various benefits denied to employees and any out-of-pocket medical expenses. 
Management Update Briefings

Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson, L.L.P. presents Management Update Briefings, a labor and employment law seminar at convenient locations across the state of Louisiana.


Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson, L.L.P. Labor & Employment Attorneys 


  Rachael M. Coe

 Leo C. Hamilton



This electronic newsletter is provided to clients and friends of Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson, L.L.P. The information described is general in nature, and may not apply to your specific situation. Legal advice should be sought before taking action based on the information discussed. Applicable State Bar or Attorney Regulations May Require This Be Labeled as "Advertising."