Category Archives: Compliance

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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

What Employers Should Know About Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Yesterday, the Senate approved the Employment NonDiscrimination Act (“ENDA”).  The ENDA would amend Title VII to include sexual orientation and related issues in the definition of protected classes.  Political pundits do not give the ENDA much chance of passing the House.  This is nothing new.  The ENDA has been proposed periodically in Congress since 1994 and has failed … Continue reading this entry

I-9 Compliance During Mergers and Acquisitions

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) continues to increase its Form I-9 (employment eligibility verification) enforcement activities with more than 100 arrests in the first two weeks of 2013.  In 2012, ICE initiated more I-9 audits, increased its investigations, imposed more fines, and made more arrests than it has in four years.  In the midst … Continue reading this entry

DACA May Increase Workforce by One Million

Approximately one million immigrants between the ages of 15 and 30 are expected to meet the eligibility requirements of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).  An additional 500,000 are expected to meet the requirements in the future.  Texas is estimated to have 152,550 immediate beneficiaries of DACA, many of whom will be legally allowed to … Continue reading this entry

Immigration Creates Hope for DREAMers

  Dustin J. O’Quinn On June 15, 2012 the Department of Homeland Security formally announced that it will offer deferred action and work authorization to “DREAMers,” individuals with unlawful presence in the United States in accordance with provisions in the proposed DREAM Act.  The policy will grant qualified immigrants the opportunity to live free from fear of deportation … Continue reading this entry

UPDATE: DOJ Issues Second Extension for Compliance with ADA Pool Lift Requirements

Responding to concerns from hotel and recreational pool owners and operators, the Department of Justice has extended the deadline for public pools to comply with the new accessibility regulations regarding pool lifts until January 31, 2013.  The DOJ had previously extended the deadline through May 21, 2012 to allow additional time for compliance, as well … Continue reading this entry

ICE is Back With a Brand New Mission

  Dustin J. O’Quinn In January of 2012 two Houston, Texas companies each agreed to pay $2 million to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and to adhere to strict revised Immigration compliance programs set forth by the DHS’ Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency as part of a non-prosecution agreement. These penalties were the … Continue reading this entry

DOL Focuses on Rulemaking Agenda - What does this mean?

On February 13, 2012, Labor Solicitor M. Patricia Smith spoke at a seminar at the Practising Law Institute.  She stated that the DOL was focused on aggressively making rules rather than issuing guidance.  As an example, the DOL proposed new rules which would all but eliminate the “companionship services” exemption.  The proposal would give most … Continue reading this entry

Roundtable Sparks FLSA Discussion

On January 25, 2012, Gardere’s Employment Attorneys hosted a roundtable for its Senior HR Executive and In-House Counsel clients.  The discussion centered around their most significant employment challenges in 2012.  Among the topics discussed were dealing with off the clock work which continues to be an area of significant risk to many employers.  Gardere attorneys … Continue reading this entry

Texas Employees May Now Bring Guns to Work

Texas employees will soon be allowed to bring guns onto company parking lots, parking garages and parking areas as long as the employee has a valid concealed hand gun license and the car is locked. The law allows employers to forbid employees from possessing guns or firearms in company buildings, but seems to allow for … Continue reading this entry

DOL Wage and Hour App

The U.S. Department of Labor announced the launch of its first application for smartphones, a timesheet to help employees independently track the hours they work and determine the wages they are owed. Available in English and Spanish, users conveniently can track regular work hours, break time and any overtime hours for one or more employers. … Continue reading this entry

New DOJ Guidelines for the Americans with Disabilities Act

For the first time in the last twenty years, the U.S. Department of Justice has significantly revised its guidelines to the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The revised regulations went into effect on March 15th of this year, and it is estimated they will impact over seven million private businesses that provide goods and services to … Continue reading this entry

2011 HR Resolutions

As you start making your 2011 HR/Employment Law checklist, here are some items to consider: 1) Independent contractors. Employers remain well advised to closely review their use of independent contractors and ensure that the individuals are truly contractors. This matter remains high on the DOL and IRS watch lists.… Continue reading this entry