On Thursday, October 26, 2023, a Georgia federal judge issued a 516-page opinion that has already prompted the Governor to call a Special Session of the Georgia General Assembly to redraw the maps for Georgia's 14 congressional districts and state House and Senate districts. The opinion may compel realignment of political forces across the northwestern part of the state as a new map will likely create a majority-Black district northwest of Atlanta.
This article was written by Thomas Bundy and Andrew D. Herman and first appeared in Maryland Matters.
Shortly after his inauguration, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D) visited a research institute addressing artificial intelligence, machine learning, and virtual and augmented reality. He touted the project as “a perfect example of how Maryland can become more economically competitive by creating opportunities through innovative partnerships.” As the state embraces the promise of AI, however, it must also address the risks presented by the technology.
The content of this article was originally published in Law360.
2022 marked the end of forced arbitration of sexual harassment
claims: Where are we a year later?
Last year, President Joe Biden signed the Ending Forced Arbitration
of Sexual Assault Act, effective March 3, 2022.
Supreme Court Grants First Amendment Protection to Business Owner Despite Colorado’s Public Accommodation Law
This morning, in a 6-3 decision, the United States Supreme Court issued its ruling in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, finding in favor of the owner of a website design business who sued the state of Colorado because she feared Colorado’s public accommodation law would force her to convey website messages inconsistent with her belief that marriage should be reserved to unions between one man and one woman. The Court held that the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment protected and excepted the owner from complying with Colorado’s law, reasoning Colorado could not require a website designer to create expressive designs that “defy her conscience” or “speak messages with which [she] disagrees.” With concern for the implications of the majority’s holding, the dissent wrote: “Today, the Court, for the first time in its history, grants a business open to the public a constitutional right to refuse to serve members of a protected class.”
Unanimous Supreme Court Tosses the Decades-Old “De Minimis” Standard in Religious Accommodation Cases
Yesterday, in Groff v. DeJoy, a unanimous Supreme Court jettisoned the standard that courts and employers have relied on for decades to determine the existence of an “undue hardship” as a basis to reject religious accommodation requests. After Groff, an employer can reject a religious accommodation request as an undue burden only if granting the accommodation would result in “substantial increased costs” for the employer.
On Wednesday, the United States Supreme Court issued a significant ruling on personal jurisdiction over corporate defendants in Mallory v. Norfolk Southern Railway Co.—specifically, corporations that are authorized to conduct business in Pennsylvania. For those corporations, the simple act of registering with the Pennsylvania Department of State means the corporation has consented to being sued in Pennsylvania—by anyone and for conduct that happened anywhere.
Today, the United States Supreme Court issued an opinion, Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College, deciding two companion cases challenging race-based admissions practices at Harvard College and the University of North Carolina. As many predicted, the Court held that using race as a factor in public college admissions violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and, when carried out by institutions receiving federal funding, violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo has issued a memorandum describing her stance that the proffer, maintenance, or enforcement of most non-competes violate the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). The General Counsel is responsible for prosecuting cases under the NLRA. Thus, while her recent memorandum does not have the force of law, it signals her intention to prosecute more non-compete cases with the hopes of generating new law.
Supreme Court Holds that Employers Could Not Rely on the Highly Compensated Employee Overtime Exemption For an Employee Paid According to a Daily Rate.
The Decision’s Impact on Employers
Last week, in Helix Energy Sols. Grp., Inc. v. Hewitt, the United States Supreme Court held that a purported Highly Compensated Executive (“HCE”) remained overtime-eligible under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) because he was not paid on a salary basis, as required by the regulations. Instead, Helix paid him based on a daily rate using a formulation that did not satisfy the salary basis test under review or the alternative test. This ruling may subject employers using similar compensation approaches to liability for unpaid overtime premiums, liquidated damages, and attorney’s fees. It is a stark reminder of the need to perform a careful, in-depth analysis before applying the white-collar overtime exceptions.
Today, the new Department of Labor (“DOL”) regulations interpreting the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) take effect. The revisions (“Revised Regulations”) to the April 2020 Final Rule (“Final Rule”) interpreting the FFCRA address four parts of the Final Rule struck down last month by a federal district court judge: (1) the work-availability exclusion; (2) the definition of “health care provider”; (3) the provisions relating to intermittent or periodic leave; and (4) some of the documentation requirements. New York v. U.S. Dep’t of Labor, No. 20-cv-3020, 2020 WL 4462260 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 3, 2020).
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