By Mike O’Brien bio
Lots of ADA Facility Lawsuits in Utah: Here is an interesting legal news update from my partner Mike Judd: Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires places of “public accommodation” to remove all architectural and structural “barriers to access.” Under the ADA, “public accommodations” include hotels, restaurants, theaters, retail stores, gas stations, many professional offices, museums, parks, private schools, social service centers, and recreational facilities. Unlike the ADA’s regulations regarding “commercial facilities,” which are triggered by new construction or substantial modification of an existing facility, these ADA barrier-removal requirements apply to public accommodations whenever removal is “readily achievable.” These “readily achievable” changes include installing ramps, widening doors, installing ADA-compliant bathroom fixtures, and creating ADA-compliant accessible parking spaces with appropriate signage.
In the ten years prior to 2016, only a handful of ADA-access cases had been filed in Utah. In the past year-and-a-half, Utah ADA plaintiffs have filed more than 300 cases against business owners up and down the Wasatch Front. The epicenter of these complaints is in northern Utah County, primarily in American Fork and Lehi, but cases have been filed against businesses as far south as Spanish Fork and as far north as Davis County. These complaints generally allege ADA violations in parking lots and restrooms, and are often based on nothing more than the height of accessible-parking signs or the absence of a “van accessible” designation on a posted sign. While the ADA does not allow plaintiffs to recover damages for ADA violations, it does permit recovery of attorneys’ fees, and ADA plaintiffs typically request payment of their fees as part of any settlement. We recommend that anyone operating a place of “public accommodation” carefully review their compliance with all applicable ADA regulations.
Inaccessible Websites a Problem under ADA: See that article right above? It applies to websites too. A federal court recently issued a ruling saying that a company (grocery) violated the ADA when its website was not accessible to a blind customer. Businesses need to take this ADA stuff seriously, and get in compliance or get sued.
DOL Still Looking at OT Regulation Salary Increase: The United States Department of Labor (DOL) apparently still is considering increasing the minimum salary an employer must pay to an employee in order for that employee to be exempt from overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The current salary threshold is $455/week, or $23,660/year. Last year, DOL issued regulations that doubled these minimum salaries, but a court put the new regulation on hold. The Trump administration is considering what to do with them now. New DOL Secretary Alexander Acosta suggested in his confirmation hearings that, due to the increase in the cost of living, the salary amount should be increased to somewhere around $33,000/year (which is about $635/week). DOL is expected to soon request information from the public on this issue.
DOL Revokes expansive Employee and Joint Employer Definitions: The Trump DOL also recently revoked some legal interpretations on employment laws that had been issued by the previous Obama administration. One interpretation was a letter issued about FLSA suggesting that workers more likely are employees covered by FLSA than they are independent contractors not covered by FLSA. Another revoked guidance was a memo taking a broad view that businesses doing activities together were joint employers.
By Mike O’Brien bio
Employment Law Woes at Uber: It is a common tale. Someone gets a great idea for a company (“if you build a better mousetrap the world will beat a path to your door”); the business grows very fast and makes a lot of money. Yet, the growing business does not grow its administrative and legal compliance functions as quickly as its employee roster. Soon, the company is besieged with legal compliance issues, many of them involving HR law. Uber seems to be the latest company to deal with this phenomenon. For your summer reading (and learning), here are some interesting news reports about the developing situation:
(3) https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/13/technology/uber-sexual-harassment-huffington-bonderman.html, and
From – National Intelligence Report
From – Laboratory Industry Report
From – G2 Compliance Advisor