Congress Renews Its Battles Over Workplace Rights and Obligations

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With Republicans now controlling both houses of Congress, we can expect to see the introduction — or reintroduction — of various pieces of legislation largely designed to advance the agenda of the majority party on issues affecting the American workplace, as well as blunt the ambitions of President Obama and the Democrats in that same arena. With the new Congress in session for less than two months, we have already seen proposed workplace legislation that gives a clear indication of where future battles will be fought. Continue reading this entry

Seek “Recent Graduates” for a Job Opening, Risk a Lawsuit

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Employer job advertisements are, once again, coming under scrutiny. A few weeks ago, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) made headlines when it filed a lawsuit against a restaurant chain over its job posting in which “only females would be considered” for summer positions in a Utah resort town. Last year, Facebook settled a lawsuit with a California agency over an advertisement that allegedly discriminated on the basis of age when it said, “Class of 2007 or 2008 preferred.” These are only a couple recent examples of a stepped-up focus by government agencies in combating perceived discrimination in hiring. Continue reading this entry

I Falsified My Time Records … But I’m Still Suing You for Overtime

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Employers sometimes rely on equitable arguments, such as “unclean hands” (which asserts that it would not be fair to hold an employer liable when the employee’s actions caused or contributed to his own injury or damages). But the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (covering Alabama, Florida and Georgia) recently decided that an employee may still be permitted to pursue an overtime claim under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), even when that employee knowingly violated company policies by underreporting hours worked. Continue reading this entry

Employee Handbook Mistakes Can Come Back to Bite Employers

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Courts often conclude that absent appropriate disclaimer language and statements in employee handbooks are “promises” to employees, binding employers to abide by these promises in their dealings with employees. However, a recent case provides an important reminder to employers that what they say, as well as what they do not say, in their employee handbooks can come back to bite them later. Continue reading this entry

Bumpy Ride: How Rideshare Programs Are Challenging Worker Classification and Raising Questions About a Potential Need to Modernize Classification Standards

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Rideshare services, which typically work by having users arrange rides using mobile apps on their phones with drivers who decide whether they want to provide a ride to a user at their discretion, have grown immensely in popularity over the last several years. This growth has not come without challenges, however, often coming from lobbying and other political efforts by taxi and entrenched transportation companies concerned about eroding market share. Another area of scrutiny affecting rideshare companies concerns their use of independent contractor relationships, as most drivers signing up with rideshare services are engaging with these companies as independent contractors. Continue reading this entry