The National Labour Relations Board (NLRB) recently issued a new guidance memorandum clarifying the standard that it will apply when interpreting employer workplace policies and handbooks following its recent decision in The Boeing Co. The guidance memorandum clarifies that post-Boeing, many employment policies and procedures that may have been deemed unlawful under the previous NLRB General Counsel memoranda will now be upheld.
A New York intermediate appellate court has handed Postmates a victory in the ongoing battle over employment status in the gig economy. Although this decision is not binding on courts outside of New York's Third Department, it provides useful information to gig economy companies on how to structure their operations in jurisdictions where classification status is largely determined by the employer's level of control.
Previously, there was some uncertainty among California state and federal courts about whether coverage for accidents under general liability insurance policies extended to claims for negligent employment practices. However, a recent California Supreme Court case makes clear that such claims are covered and expresses a strong policy preference in favour of that coverage.
The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently reversed its prior precedent and held that Title VII's prohibition on sex discrimination includes a prohibition on sexual orientation discrimination. For years, states and municipalities have been adding laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, whether Title VII prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation under federal sex discrimination prohibitions has been actively debated in both courts and administrative agencies.
The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has held that a funeral home violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 1964 when it fired a director because she was planning to undergo sex reassignment surgery and had requested to dress in women's clothing at work. Employers – particularly those in the Sixth Circuit – should consider reviewing their employment policies and hiring practices to ensure that they are treating transgender status as a protected category.
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was to issue guidance by December 2017 clarifying when an individual's authorisation for a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act-covered entity to use or disclose their protected health information contains a sufficient description of the purpose for its use or disclosure. Having missed this deadline and presumably feeling pressure to issue some direction, HHS issued interim guidance in early June 2018.
Certain captive insurers that lost or will lose membership in the US Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) system as a result of a 2016 rulemaking by the Federal Housing Finance Agency may get a reprieve under the Housing Opportunity Mortgage Expansion Act. A similar bill was also introduced in the House of Representatives. Significantly, the proposals provide only for the restoration of FHLB membership for captive insurers, not for new membership for those captive insurers that previously had no membership.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners recently adopted the Insurance Data Security Model Law. The model law builds on existing data privacy and consumer breach notification obligations by requiring insurance licensees to comply with detailed requirements regarding maintaining an information security programme and responding to and giving notification of cybersecurity events.