Employee Handbook Mistakes Can Come Back to Bite Employers


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


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

Blocking the Finish Line: Does the FLSA Exemption for Amusement and Recreational Establishments Apply to Marathons?


Several years ago, at one of the numerous race events that have become immensely popular in the last handful of years, a race “volunteer” provided a bike escort, so that the elite runners at a half-marathon race in St. Louis could safely proceed to the finish line. The woman, as well as the other 1,000+ volunteers that day, were not compensated for their efforts by the for-profit race organizer that runs numerous similar events across the country. Nearly two years later, the volunteer filed a proposed class action against the race organizer, alleging violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) — among other claims — for failure to pay minimum wage. Continue reading this entry

Employers Beware: Increased Attention to Workplace Harassment and Wellness Programs by the EEOC Coming in the New Year


Newly appointed U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Chair Jenny Yang recently offered some insight into the EEOC’s areas of focus for 2015, providing employers with a preview of some of the key regulatory and enforcement actions on the horizon. Two primary issues have emerged: workplace harassment and wellness programs. Continue reading this entry

What Could Go Wrong? It’s a Point System


Managers have difficult jobs, and changes in the legal landscape are generally making things harder. So, it is easy to think that a points-based attendance system is one way to help. It’s objective and sets clear expectations and consequences. However, while it may do all of those things, it can also be an illustration of the principle that nothing is as easy as it looks. Apart from the obvious, i.e., some absences will need to be excused, often based on meeting leave requirements such as with the Family and Medical Leave (FMLA), here are some other potential pitfalls: Continue reading this entry