Category Archives: Compliance

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Wage and Hour Compliance – Better Guard Your Own Parking Spot

wage
Many companies at one time or another get overtime compliance wrong, at least to some degree. It’s an expensive topic. Liability under federal law for failing to correctly pay overtime comes at the hefty price of all unpaid overtime for two years (three when its willful, and even longer under some state laws), multiplied by two for … Continue reading this entry

Complying with California’s Consumer Privacy Act of 2018

Data
If you received a wave of “We’ve Updated Our Privacy Policy” emails recently, here’s why: California just passed the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, effective January 1, 2020, affording California residents unprecedented, expansive data privacy rights. While the Act is broadly applicable to qualifying businesses, employers should pay special attention to their duties under … Continue reading this entry

DOL to Issue Opinion Letters

Secretary Acosta announced today, while testifying before a Senate appropriations committee, that the DOL will revive its former practice of issuing opinion letters. Under the Obama administration, the DOL stopped issuing opinion letters which were often used by employers to gain compliance assistance. The DOL received much criticized for that decision. Additionally, Secretary Acosta stated … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—Proposed Delay for New Beryllium Rule Effective Date

On March 1, 2017, the United States Department of Labor proposed another delay to the effective date of Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (“OSHA”) new beryllium rule.  The proposed delay is again in conjunction with the White House’s Regulatory Freeze Pending Review Memorandum (the “Memorandum”).  If implemented, it will make the rule’s new effective date … Continue reading this entry

Top 5 Mistakes Employers Make with Their Employee Handbooks

As 2016 winds down and a new year approaches, now is a great time for employers to think about their employee handbooks and employment policies in general.  As employers go about that thought-process, here are a few common mistakes employers should try to avoid: (1) Self-Regulation:  Employers often include items in handbooks that are not … Continue reading this entry

Legal Considerations for Employers during Election Years—Reminder

With Election Day rapidly approaching next week, employers should be prepared for a host of issues associated with election year politics in the workplace.  We recently wrote about some of the key issues facing employers in election years on the Work Knowledge Blog.  As a reminder about those issues, here are links to the related posts: … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—Proposed Revisions Intended to Modernize Various OSHA Standards

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) recently announced that it is proposing eighteen revisions to its recordkeeping, general industry, maritime, and construction regulations.  With the changes proposed, OSHA intends to modernize certain standards that may be “confusing, outdated or unnecessary.”  These proposed revisions are the fourth part of the Standards Improvements Project, which started … Continue reading this entry

Legal Considerations for Employers during Election Years—Part III

With the Presidential election heating up, employers may see an increasing interest in politics among their employees.  As we have covered recently in the Work Knowledge Blog, private employers are not bound by the First Amendment’s right to free speech.  But employees do have certain limited rights in the workplace relevant in election years, including … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—Delayed Enforcement of Anti-Retaliation Provisions for New Reporting Rule

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has announced that it will delay enforcement of the anti-retaliation provisions in its new workplace injury and illness reporting rule.  Originally, it was scheduled to go into effect on August 10, 2016, but enforcement of the anti-retaliation provisions will now begin on November 1, 2016.  OSHA stated that … Continue reading this entry

Legal Considerations for Employers during Election Years—Part II

With the Republican National Convention wrapping up this week, political conversation is assuredly becoming a more common occurrence in workplaces around the country.  Importantly for employers, political action and speech in the workplace threatens disruption and damage to relationships among coworkers, as the political divisions in this country are exceedingly acute this campaign season.  This … Continue reading this entry

Legal Considerations for Employers during Election Years—Part I

According to the Texas Secretary of State, 73.75% of the voting age population in Texas is registered to vote this year.  Tex. Sec’y of State, Turnout and Voter Registration Figures (1970-current), available here.  Frankly, an even higher percentage probably has an opinion about a candidate or issue, regardless of whether they will cast a vote.  … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—Tips for Surviving OSHA Inspections—Part II

Last week, we outlined that OSHA’s proposed appropriations language revisions for FY 2017 may signal increased inspections, particularly PSM audits, for certain employers in Region 6, which includes Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and New Mexico.  Employers have an opportunity to get and stay prepared now for this possible inspection glut.  To that end, over the … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—Tips for Surviving OSHA Inspections—Part I

With all the changes from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) over the last year or so, employers need to get prepared for increased inspections and safety audits in the near future.  This is especially true with the appropriations language revisions OSHA has proposed for FY 2017.  OSHA’s stated purpose for its proposal is, among … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—RAGAGEP Standard Interpretation

On May 11, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) issued a Standard Interpretation on the topic of Recognized and Generally Accepted Good Engineering Practices (“RAGAGEP”) in Process Safety Management (“PSM”) Enforcement.  This new interpretation replaces an interpretation of the same title dated June 5, 2015.  In replacing it though, OSHA does not make … Continue reading this entry

New Overtime Rules To Be Announced Wednesday

Several news sources are reporting that the Department of Labor will announce its much anticipated overtime rules on Wednesday, May 18, 2016.  The political pundits believe these final regulations will include a new salaried basis test of $47,500 ($913.46 per week).  This amount is more than double the current threshold of $23,660.  Currently, the speculation … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—Final Rule on Workplace Injury and Illness Reporting

On May 11, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) announced that it has finalized a new recordkeeping and reporting rule for certain employers.  At its core, the new rule amounts to what many employers are sure to view as OSHA’s attempt to shame them publically.  That is, the new rule requires covered employers … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—Eye and Face Protection

On March 25, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) announced that employers across various industries will be subject to updated eye and face protection standards.  The final rule became effective on April 25, 2016, and revised related requirements in the general industry, maritime, and construction standards.  Employers subject to these standards should assess … Continue reading this entry

OSHA’s Stronger Enforcement Options in 2016

In recent years, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has faced perceived criticism that its enforcement options have failed to provide effective disincentives for employers to comply with workplace safety regulations.  Specifically, for the last twenty-five years, OSHA’s maximum penalties have remained stagnant, and published data shows that criminal referrals are limited.  But it … Continue reading this entry

How Texas’ New “Open Carry” Law Affects Texas Businesses

On Jan. 1, 2016, Texas’ new open carry law took effect. The law allows anyone with a proper license to openly carry a handgun “in plain view” anywhere in Texas if properly stored in a shoulder or belt holster. Prior to Jan. 1, Texas only permitted individuals to carry a handgun if it was properly … Continue reading this entry

United States Department of Labor Intensifies Focus on Independent Contractor Classifications with New Administrator's Interpretation

Last month, the United States Department of Labor issued Administrator’s Interpretation No. 2015-1, regarding “The Application of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s ‘Suffer or Permit’ Standard in the Identification of Employees Who Are Misclassified as Independent Contractors.”  While the Interpretation does not represent a change in the law, it is certainly an indication that the … Continue reading this entry

Generic, All-Encompassing Employment Releases May Not Actually Release All Employment-Related Claims, Including FLSA Claims

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes federal courts sitting in Texas, recently held that a generic, broad state court settlement release did not bar two former employees’ subsequent unpaid overtime compensation claims against their former employer, even though the parties discussed the topic of unpaid wages during settlement negotiations and the release specifically … Continue reading this entry

DOL Issues Proposed Changes to Threshold of Salary Basis Test - $970/week from $455/week

Today, the U.S. Department of Labor issued proposed revisions to the minimum salary level that an employer must pay for an employee to be considered exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). These long awaited revisions would, according to DOL estimates, increase overtime eligibility for approximately 4.6 million employees who are currently classified as exempt. Under … Continue reading this entry