PayslipOn May 12, 2017, the Missouri Legislature passed a bill prohibiting any political subdivision from enforcing or enacting a local minimum wage ordinance.  The bill, unless vetoed, will take effect August 28, 2017, and will pre-empt the current minimum wage ordinances in St. Louis and Kansas City.

Employers in St. Louis and Kansas City should continue to comply with the local minimum wage ordinances, and should stay apprised of the upcoming changes to Missouri’s Minimum Wage Laws.

For more information on this topic, please contact Loren Foy or Terry Potter.

Product Liability Monitor

April 10, 2017
New Developments
I Like It, But Do I Trust It? Drivers Weigh In on Autonomous Vehicle Technology
By Shannon Peters

The American Automobile Association (AAA) recently released the results of a survey of American drivers which yielded an interesting conclusion:  Americans want autonomous vehicle (AV) technologies in their next vehicle, but they are not sold on fully self-driving cars.The AAA survey indicates that 75 percent of Americans would be afraid to ride in a self-driving vehicle, and more than half would feel less safe sharing the roads with a self-driving car. Not surprisingly, younger generations are slightly less afraid of this developing technology than their older counterparts. [Continue Reading]

Walking the Lone Pine Trail
By Alan Hoffman

Lone Pine orders take their name from Lore v. Lone Pine Corp. They are most often entered in toxic tort litigation, requiring plaintiffs to provide some prima facie evidence to support causation or other claims based on expert opinion. Typically, such orders call for expert affidavits or other evidence supporting a claimed connection between the plaintiff’s condition and defendants’ products. [Continue Reading]

Due Process Limits on Personal Jurisdiction
By Dan Jaffe

In recent years the United States Supreme Court has strengthened the due process protections for defendants against suits in states with which they have no meaningful contacts. In J. McIntyre Machinery, Ltd. v. NiCastro, the plaintiff sued the British manufacturer of a metal-shearing machine in New Jersey, where he was injured. The defendant neither marketed nor sold its products in that State. It sold its machines nationwide through an independent U.S. distributor, but defendant’s representatives were never present in New Jersey. In any event, no more than four of its machines ended up in New Jersey. The Court held that exercise of judicial power over a defendant is unlawful unless the defendant purposefully avails itself of the privilege of conducting activities within the forum State. [Continue Reading]

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Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation
Product Liability Practice

Manufacturers work hard to develop material goods and product designs that are high-quality, safe and durable. We understand your commitment to excellence and commit ourselves to defending you against product liability allegations. Husch Blackwell’s Product Liability team has insight into your industry-specific challenges. [More information]

Product Liability Monitor Archive
March 2017

brockhoert_leslie cockerham_stephenMore and more it seems disputes are occurring over what information the EEOC may subpoena from employers. On April 3, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in McLane Co. v. EEOC, weighing in on the standard of review on appeal when district courts either enforce or quash an EEOC subpoena.

Before discussing the case, let’s first address how we get to an appeal of such an issue:

Continue Reading EEOC Subpoenas—The Supreme Court Weighs In on the Standard of Review

retirementOn December 29, 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued Interpretive Bulletin 2016-01 (the “Bulletin”) relating to the exercise of shareholder rights by fiduciaries of employee benefit plans, including the voting of mutual fund proxies under 401(k) and similar retirement savings plans.

What is the Obligation?

Generally, the Bulletin provides that fiduciaries that manage employee benefit plan assets have a fiduciary obligation to exercise shareholder rights for securities (including mutual funds) held by such plans. Thus, plan fiduciaries may not simply ignore their voting rights.

Continue Reading Proxy Voting and Interpretive Bulletin 2016-01

work incidentToday, OSHA published a new final rule on slip, trip and fall hazardsin general industry. The rule, which runs a stunning 518 pages in the Federal Register, is titled “Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment (Fall Protection Systems).” The final rule takes effect January 17, 2017, ending a long-running rulemaking that last involved a proposed rule in 2010 and comments and hearing through 2011. By OSHA’s estimate, the rule will cover “112 million workers at seven million worksites.” Continue Reading New Slip, Trip and Fall OSHA Rule

work incidentLast week, OSHA published its new “Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs,” which advises employers to establish comprehensive internal safety and health programs and provides extensive guidelines and resources for doing so. In releasing the updated recommendations, OSHA argues that employers adopting such programs could reduce injuries and illnesses and promote sustainability.

Continue Reading OSHA Issues Recommendations For Employer Safety and Health Programs

booksIn counseling employers on how to implement the Illinois Pregnancy Accommodation Act, we have noticed many employers have overlooked two important requirements—one of which easily can be audited without the employer even knowing.

Notice Posting

First, Illinois employers must post the English version of this notice in a conspicuous location on their premises, along with the Spanish version if they employ Spanish-speaking employees.

Handbook Language

Second, and importantly, the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) has made clear that under this new law, Illinois employers who maintain an employee handbook must include information regarding employees’ pregnancy rights in their employee handbook. While neither the Act nor the IDHR specifies what language must be included in employee handbooks, we recommend including the following language:

Pregnancy Rights

Employees who are pregnant, recovering from childbirth, or have a medical or common condition related to pregnancy have the right to:

  • Request a reasonable accommodation for their pregnancy, such as more frequent bathroom breaks, assistance with heavy work, a private space for expressing milk, or time off to recover from their pregnancy;
  • Reject an accommodation offered by the Company for their pregnancy that they do not desire; and
  • Continue working during their pregnancy if a reasonable accommodation is available that would allow them to continue performing their job.

The Company will not discriminate against employees because of their pregnancy and will not retaliate against employees because they requested a reasonable accommodation. The Company will not fire, refuse to hire, or refuse to provide employees with reasonable accommodations because of their pregnancy.

For more information on pregnancy-related rights, visit www.illinois.gov/dhr.

Contact us

For more information on how this Illinois law affects your organization, contact Sonni Nolan or Kayt Kopen or another member of Husch Blackwell’s Labor & Employment group.

 

healthcareIn an April 2016 Interpretation Letter recently made publically available, OSHA responded to an inquiry about whether an employee’s self-treatment of wrist pain constituted medical treatment beyond first aid for recordkeeping purposes. The scenario at issue involved an employee who bought and used a rigid wrist brace due to experiencing wrist pain after working at a computer for a number of hours.  Later, when the employee saw a doctor at the occupational health clinic, the doctor determined that the brace was not necessary, but recommended that the employee continue to wear the brace if the employee felt it was relieving his pain.

Continue Reading OSHA Determines Doctor Recommendations Are Medical Treatment

Labor OfficeOn June 14, 2016, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) published its final rule substantially revising the sex discrimination guidelines for federal contractors and subcontractors. The new rule brings the sex discrimination guidelines implemented in 1970 “from the ‘Mad Men’ era to the modern era.”

The final rule applies to any business or organization that (1) holds a single federal contract, subcontract or federally assisted construction contract in excess of $10,000; (2) has federal contracts or subcontracts that, combined, total in excess of $10,000 in any 12-month period; or (3) holds government bills of lading, serves as a depository of federal funds, or is an issuing and paying agency for U.S. savings bonds and notes in any amount.

Continue Reading Sex Discrimination Guidelines for Contractors Are Updated

Anthony GriceAnthony Grice, a Labor & Employment associate in the firm’s Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation group, was honored by the National Bar Association (NBA) with the “40 Under 40 Best Advocate” award at a gala July 18, 2016 in St. Louis.

The NBA 40 Under 40 awards recognize lawyers under age 40 who exemplify a broad range of high achievement and community involvement. Grice devotes his practice to employment and human resources issues and is a member of the firm’s Cortex team that assists technology and manufacturing start-ups with various employment needs. He was honored with other “40 Under 40” recipients during the NBA’s 91st Annual Convention in St. Louis.