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Volume 5, Issue 9
September 2016
Domestic Violence in the Louisiana Workplace, Part 4: 

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 victims can secure a protective order against the abuser, which will often require the perpetrator to stay away from the victim's place of work and refrain from contacting the victim while he or she is at work. Employers should be familiar with how protective orders function in the workplace and how the employer should respond to a situation involving a protective order. Click here to read the full article by Rachael Coe.
7th Circuit Rules Gay Bias Still Not Covered by Title VII
 A federal appeals court in Chicago ruled that discrimination against a worker based on his or her sexual orientation is not prohibited by federal law. This decision, which rejects the EEOC's position, was the first to be handed down by a federal circuit court since the EEOC took the position in July 2015 that discrimination based on sexual orientation is discrimination based on sex and violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The three-judge panel of the appeals court said a long line of circuit precedent rejecting recognition of sexual-orientation bias claims under Title VII and congressional inaction on efforts to amend federal law to include bias protections for gay workers was a binding factor in their decision. 
NLRB Rules Graduate Assistants Are Employees With Right To Unionize
On August 23, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that graduate students working at private universities are employees and, therefore, have the right to collectively bargain. The decision is in response to a petition by the Graduate Workers of Columbia-GWC and the United Autoworkers Union seeking to represent grad student assistants at Columbia University. While graduate students at some public universities are represented by unions, it is a very small fraction. There is hope among unions that this decision will lead to tens of thousand more union members and millions in union dues. While the NLRB previously held that students who teach or research at private universities were not employees covered under the NLRA, the board decided a case in 2000 in favor of unions. That decision was reversed in 2004, but the ruling is being reversed again with this decision. In the 2004 ruling, the Board reasoned that graduate assistants cannot be employees because they are "primarily students and have a primarily educational, not economic relationship with their university." Columbia University issued a statement, leaving open the possibility of appealing the NLRB's decision in federal court. 
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie Vetoes $15 Minimum Wage Bill

A bill to raise the New Jersey minimum wage to $15 per hour over the next five years was vetoed on August 30 by Governor Chris Christie. The bill would have made New Jersey the third state to adopt a $15 minimum wage bill. In 2013, New Jersey residents voted to raise the minimum wage to $8.25 with annual adjustments based on the Consumer Price Index. 
Show Dancer in Las Vegas Must be Reinstated NLRB Says
Anne Carter, a dancer in "Vegas! The Show," was denied a contract renewal after complaining about working conditions. The NLRB ruled that Carter must be offered reinstatement, and that the show's producer must remove a provision in employee contracts that required workers to acknowledge the production was "non-union."  The show's producer, David Saxe told Carter her contract would not be renewed in an email in December 2012. The email was sent eight days after a meeting between Saxe and Carter in which she expressed concerns about the working conditions at the show.  The Board also found that the following provision was unlawful: "Artist Acknowledges that the Show is not under the jurisdiction of any labor union," and also ordered the removal of a provision prohibiting employees from discussing wages and working conditions among themselves. 
Management Update Briefings

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



Leo C. Hamilton