Employee Rights Briefing
December 2019
The Institute Welcomes 2019–2021 Paul H. Tobias Attorney Fellow Christy England
On November 1, The Institute welcomed Christy England as the next Paul H. Tobias Attorney Fellow. Prior to joining The Institute, Christy worked for the Transgender Law Center and the EEOC. She also served as a Judicial Extern for the Honorable Judge Edward Chen. While in law school, she focused primarily on civil rights and conducted original research on the subject, particularly in the context of employment discrimination. She also worked with Professor Noah Zatz for a project entitled “Get to Work or Go to Jail,” which analyzes the labor requirements imposed on parolees and misdemeanants by the criminal justice system, and the fact that this population is uniquely vulnerable to mistreatment by employers. Christy earned her BA from UC Berkeley and her JD from UCLA School of Law.

Christy can be reached at cengland@employeerightsadvocacy.org.
In The News
On November 13, the Department of Homeland Security proposed a regulation that would make it more difficult for asylum applicants to receive work permits. Some of the restrictions include: forcing applicants to wait a full year before they can apply for a permit, requiring that they be fingerprinted, and giving agency officers discretion to determine how long a permit will be valid. 
On November 20, the EEOC held a public hearing regarding whether the agency should continue to require employers to report employee pay and hours worked (Component 2 of EEO-1 Data). Additionally, the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs announced on November 25 that it will no longer accept or use Component 2 data.
On November 22, roughly 200 Google employees and supporters protested the suspension of two employees for what they viewed as retaliation for activism. On November 26, Google fired both employees, as well as two others who participated in the protests.
Over 2,000 DoorDash drivers filed arbitration claims, but were unable to proceed to arbitration because the company refused to pay the required fees. On November 25, a Federal Judge in California ruled on a temporary restraining order to stop DoorDash from forcing a new arbitration agreement on the drivers. Judge Alsup stated: “Your law firm and all your firms have tried for 20 years to keep plaintiffs out of court, and you’ve gotten a lot of success in the courts. Then someone says, ‘OK. We’ll take you to arbitration,’ and suddenly it’s not in your interest anymore. Now you’re wiggling away, trying to find a way to squirm out of your agreement.” DoorDash agreed to allow drivers to opt out of the new agreement within 30 days. The motion to compel arbitration will be heard in January. 
Graduate student workers protested a proposed rule change promulgated by the NLRB to exempt them from the definition of “employee” under the National Labor Relations Act. Under the proposed rule, universities would not be required to engage in collective bargaining with graduate student employees.
The House Judiciary Committee advanced a bipartisan immigration bill that would provide migrant farmworkers the ability to request five year visas for themselves and their family members, as well as a path to legal citizenship.
Workers Rights By The Numbers
The number of applications for unemployment benefits during the week of November 9, an increase of 14,000, according to data from the Department of Labor. This is the highest rate of unemployment claims since June. ( Yahoo Finance )  
486 Million
The dollar amount the EEOC secured for victims of discrimination in the workplace in 2019.
In The Courts
On November 8, the U.S. Supreme Court set the case Babb v. Wilkie for argument on January 15, 2020. The case concerns whether a claimant under the ADEA must demonstrate that age was the but-for cause for the discriminatory conduct. NELA & The Institute joined with other employee rights advocates as amici in support of the plaintiff-employees .
On November 12, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments concerning whether the decision to wind down DACA was lawful. See Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California . NELA & The Institute joined with other employee rights advocates as amici in support of the plaintiff-employees.
On November 13, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding whether a claim of racial discrimination under §1981 must demonstrate that race was the but-for cause of the discriminatory conduct. See   Comcast Corp. v. National Association of African American-Owned Media.
On November 22, the Eleventh Circuit held that an arbitration clause requiring each side to cover their own arbitration fees was unenforceable because it would preclude the claimants from “effectively vindicating their statutory rights” under the Fair Labor Standards Act. See   Trevisan Hudson, et al. v. P.I.P Inc., et al .
The Employee Rights Briefing is a monthly newsletter designed to help keep you up-to-date on breaking news and emerging trends impacting America's workers. From the growth of forced arbitration of employment disputes, to employee misclassification, to stories of wage theft and workplace discrimination, the Employee Rights Briefing reports on employment law and policy developments from the federal government to state legislatures to the courtroom and everywhere in between. Our goal is to provide you with a digestible snapshot of the events shaping employment law and policy, so that you can be kept abreast of the most important issues facing today's workers.
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