Employer Handbook Policies Violate the National Labor Relations Act

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As we recently noted, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is laser-like focused on scrutinizing employer personnel policies.  In yet another example of this ongoing campaign, a recent administrative law judge (ALJ) decision highlights how some common employer’s handbook policies can be found to be unlawful. Continue reading this entry

Department of Labor Appeals "Persuader Rule" Order

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As employers may be aware, on March 24, 2016, the Office of Labor-Management Services (OLMS), an agency in the federal Department of Labor (DOL), issued a new interpretation of the so-called “Persuader Rule” that would have imposed significantly expanded reporting obligations on employers, consultants, and attorneys during union organizing and similar activities.  OLMS “reinterpreted” its long-standing position (in place for over half a century) that reportable persuader activity only occurred when there was direct contact between the consultant and the target employees.  Now, according to the new Rule, reportable persuader activities would occur in a whole range of activities, the parameters of which were frequently unclear and ill-defined. Continue reading this entry

Do Not Overlook FLSA Duties in Light of New Salary Requirements

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The upcoming change to salary requirements to the so-called “white collar” overtime exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has garnered a lot of attention. However, even with a strong emphasis on the changes to the salary requirement, employers should not lose focus on the duties portion of the test.

The white collar exemptions (executive, administrative, and professional) generally have two components – payment on a qualifying salary basis and satisfaction of a duties-test requirement unique to each exemption. A recent decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (covering Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota) reminds employers that even though most recent focus has been on the salary test component, the duties test inquiry remains as critical as ever. Continue reading this entry

Fired For My Firearm? I’ll Sue!

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As if employers already did not have enough reasons to have to think through termination decisions carefully, here is yet another “trigger” word that should make employers think twice about plans to discipline or fire an employee: guns. Before terminating an employee for bringing one (or more) gun to work, make sure state law does not create rights allowing employees to bring them to their work location that might allow an employee to sue. Continue reading this entry

Getting Past “Not Horrible”: Addressing Office Bullies is Good for the Bottom Line

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A Dallas jury recently awarded a verdict of more than a million dollars to a vocational nurse based upon her claims of sexual harassment and intentional infliction of emotional distress. While it appears that verdict will not ultimately be enforced — following a post-verdict settlement reached between the parties just minutes before the jury’s ruling that was smaller, yet still sizable — it is a warning sign for employers in terms of changing views on workplace bullying. Continue reading this entry