Volume 5, Issue 6
June 2016
Domestic Violence in the Louisiana Workplace: What Is Domestic Violence and Why Should Employers Pay Attention?

It is not a matter of if, but when an employer will be confronted with a challenging domestic violence-related issue in the workplace. Domestic violence not only causes lost productivity and increased costs for employers, but also raises a host of potential legal obligations and liabilities that employers cannot afford to overlook. In this monthly series, Labor and Employment attorney Rachael Coe will discuss the various ways that domestic violence impacts the Louisiana workplace and what employers need to know in order to protect their employees, their customers, and themselves. 

Domestic violence is absolutely an employment law issue. Not only is Louisiana one of the states with the highest prevalence of domestic violence in the nation, but this type of violence comes in many forms and cuts across many employment laws. Despite the breadth and prevalence of domestic violence, very few employers are aware of its significant impacts in the workplace, from the Americans with Disabilities Act to workplace violence prevention policies. Even fewer employers have plans in place to reduce legal risk. Click here to read the full article by Rachael Coe. 
Dramatic New Overtime Regulations Effective December 1, 2016
 After two years of anticipation, the Department of Labor has finally published its final rule concerning changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") overtime provisions, which go into effect on December 1, 2016.

Most notably, the minimum salary for overtime exemptions will increase to $47,476 annually (or $913 per week) and the minimum annual compensation for Highly Compensated Employees will increase to $134,004. The duties tests for "white collar" exemptions will not change, and employers may use non-discretionary bonuses, incentive payments and commissions to satisfy up to 10% of the required salary. The Department of Labor estimates that its final rule will automatically extend overtime pay protections to over 4 million employees nationwide. Click here to read the full article by Eve Masinter and Rachael Coe.
A Blockbuster Month for Transgender Rights Raises Considerations for Employers

The legal rights of transgender people continue to materialize at breakneck speed. In a blockbuster month, the EEOC released guidance on facilities access for transgender employees under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Department of Justice and North Carolina filed dueling lawsuits over the state's controversial "bathroom bill", and the White House issued guidance to public schools about their obligations to transgender students under Title IX of the Civil Rights Act. What do all of these developments mean for American employers who are covered by Title VII, the Federal law governing employment discrimination? The writing is on the wall from the perspective of the Federal agencies that enforce this law: employers must take action now to minimize their legal risk. Click here to read the full article by Rachael Coe.
Palm Beach Schools Sued for Demoting Pregnant Administrator
Assistant principal Anne Williams Dorsey was allegedly reassigned to a lower-paying position with fewer work hours after she became pregnant and took maternity leave. The Department of Justice is now suing the School Board of Palm Beach County in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida for sex-based discrimination. The complaint alleges that Turning Points Academy informed Dorsey of her reassignment while she was in the hospital in labor. Dorsey said she trained Randy Burden, the previously inexperienced male assistant, whom Turning Points Academy Principal Darren Edgecomb replaced her with. The lawsuit claims that Turning Points Academy has two assistant principal positions, each with different pay and benefits. The "260 Assistant Principal" is assigned 260 duty days, gets a higher annual salary and accrues vacation days. The "226 Assistant Principal" is assigned 226 duty days, a lower annual salary and no accrual of vacation days. The DOJ charges that Dorsey was reassigned to the 226 position and Burden was moved to the 260 position based on Edgecomb's sex- and pregnancy-based bias. The lawsuit also alleges Dorsey was excluded from meetings and e-mail communications between Edgecomb and Burden after announcing her pregnancy in August 2010. The complaint includes a claim of retaliation based on the DOJ's allegations that Dorsey had reported to Edgecomb that Burden was sexually harassing a female teacher before she was removed from the 260 position. 
Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson, L.L.P. Labor & Employment Attorneys



  Rachael M. Coe

 Leo C. Hamilton