The rise of the smartphone has ushered in a new era of information exchange and communication, and employers are wise to stay ahead of the curve and leverage this technology to their advantage. Permitting the use of smartphones and tablets in the workplace can increase employee productivity, help ensure accountability, and improve employee morale, among many other benefits. Recognizing the economic value of a happier and more productive workforce, some employers have even gone so far as to buy or reimburse employees for their own personal smartphones or tablets that are used for both work-related and personal activities. In the information age, these BYOD (“Bring Your Own Device”) policies are popping up everywhere and are a huge boon to the American workforce. Continue reading this entry
A recent Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) claim by a male employee alleging that his employer’s paid time off policy for new parents is discriminatory on the basis of gender is a potential alert to employers that even traditionally “generous” paternity leave policies may run afoul of Title VII. Indeed, although there can be some disparity between what an employer gives to a father and a mother in terms of parental leave policies, the disparity must still comply with Title VII. Continue reading this entry
While many employers are familiar with the phrase “reasonable accommodation” because of the Americans with Disabilities Act and similar state laws, the ADA is not the only employment law that requires employers to make reasonable accommodations. Title VII and similar state laws also obligate employers to reasonably accommodate the “sincerely held religious beliefs” of employees. However, a recent case illustrates that an employer’s accommodation burden for religious practices can be less onerous than its accommodation burdens with respect to disabled individuals. Continue reading this entry
Tom, who worked for a trucking company as a driver salesman, recognized he had a drinking problem and sought leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) to engage in rehabilitation. His employer granted the leave.
As a condition for returning to work at the end of the leave, Tom’s employer required him to sign an agreement affirming that he would never ever again imbibe alcohol — regardless of whether he was at work or off the clock. Unfortunately, the urge overcame Tom and within a month of returning to work, he sought another leave to reenter rehab. Rather than granting him another opportunity for rehabilitation, the trucking company fired Tom because he breached his agreement. Continue reading this entry
Shared or leased employees can create wage and hour obligations even where the sharing or leasing employer believes those employees are being properly paid. Increasingly, courts are looking at whether joint employer status exists under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). As part of this inquiry, courts may find that wage liability can potentially extend to anyone making key decisions regarding the economic realities of an employer-employee relationship – including not just corporate entities, but also potentially company officers or even board of directors members.
The Department of Labor regulations emphasize that a joint employment relationship generally exists where two or more employers appear to share an employee, act in the interests of each other in relation to the employee, or where multiple employers operate under the same common control. Most circuit courts have applied the following four-factor “Economic Reality Test”: Continue reading this entry