Category Archives: Human Resources/ Employer Matters

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Pay Equity Law Update

Pay
New Connecticut Pay Equity Law On May 22, 2018, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed Public Act No. 18-8, “An Act Concerning Pay Equity,” into law. The new Connecticut law follows a recent trend by states to enact laws prohibiting employers from seeking salary history from prospective employees. Connecticut now joins California, Delaware, Massachusetts (see below), … Continue reading this entry

It’s a Topsy-Turvy Workplace – Right Now, Common Sense is on Top

Common
Breaking news – sometimes agency guidance, or even enforcement positions, change! A recent example comes from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) with its June 6, 2018, memorandum regarding “Guidance on Handbook Rules Post-Boeing.” While the lack of consistency can be frustrating for employers, there is good news this time: Common sense seems to have … Continue reading this entry

Details Matter: Medical Plan Anti-Assignment Clauses Protect Employers

Details
Yes, details matter. This is true on many fronts, including whether the documents governing the medical plan offered to employees prohibit employees and their dependents from assigning their plan benefit rights to a health care provider.… Continue reading this entry

Complying with Hardship Withdrawal Rules Makes Retirement Plan Administration Easy (Well, Easier, Anyway)

Retirement
In a February 2018 article, my colleague Kathleen Dreyfus Bardunias encouraged retirement plan sponsors to implement annual “operational checkups” in order to ensure their plans were administered in compliance with the plan’s terms and applicable law. That article described various retirement plan administration errors that review might uncover, including: failing to timely deposit employee contributions, … Continue reading this entry

Summer (and with it, summer vacations) is coming!

Summer
As we head into the start of summer and employees begin to request more time off for vacation, this is a great time to review your vacation policies to ensure they are legally compliant and meet business needs. With the exception of certain state or local paid sick leave laws, employees generally do not have … Continue reading this entry

You Have a Creative Genius in the Workplace. Who Owns the Creative Works?

Creative
The cardinal principle of copyright law is deceptively simple. It protects a creative work as it passes from the fevered brow of its creator to something more tangible – a writing pad, an electronic manuscript, a sound recording, a stone tablet, etc., and, at that moment, ownership vests in the creator. But, of course, deceptively … Continue reading this entry

“High” Stakes for Employers Dealing With Evolving Cannabis Laws

Marijuana
The evolving legalization of marijuana for both medical and recreational uses continues to cause workplace issues for employers. Nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana, and 32 states have legalized medical marijuana under varying circumstances. In addition, three more states have 2018 ballot initiatives considering either recreational or medical marijuana uses.  … Continue reading this entry

Supreme Court Ends the Debate and Upholds Class Action Waivers

Waivers
Welcome news for many employers rolled out of Washington, D.C. earlier this morning. The Supreme Court has ended a long-running debate over the enforceability of arbitration agreements with class action waivers in the employment context, particularly as applied to the wage and hour class action litigation. In short, such waivers are enforceable and do not … Continue reading this entry

Intermittent FMLA Leave is So Easy to Administer. Yeah, Right!

FMLA
Block FMLA leave has its own challenges. But intermittent FMLA leave can be downright painful – including the fact that intermittent leave claims are the most common type of lawsuit under the FMLA. When employees need to take scheduled time off for an entire day, week, or even month, an employer has more notice and … Continue reading this entry

“Smoking Guns” and Unofficial Rules: A Reminder for Employers

Marijuana
If you work in human resources, or are an executive or employment lawyer, at some point you probably have thought, heard or said words to the effect of “Juries are very unpredictable and can do some crazy things.” I admit that I often scratch my head reading about the conclusions juries have reached in some … Continue reading this entry

The Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Is Now In Effect: What Employers Need To Know

Massachusetts
On April 1, 2018, the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (the Act) went into effect, creating several rights and protections for pregnant workers, as well as for workers who have conditions related to pregnancy.  The Act – which applies to employers with six or more employees – affirmatively establishes pregnancy as a protected class under … Continue reading this entry

Big Data Breaches Shine Spotlight on Laws Impacting Employee Data Protection

Data
It seems like almost every week we learn of a massive new data breach, risking the loss of thousands of individuals’ personal and confidential information to a faceless hacker halfway around the world. A quick internet search for the latest news about data breaches reveals the sheer volume of information hacked or leaked on a … Continue reading this entry

What Now for Wellness?

Wellness
If you’re an employer trying to sponsor a wellness program for 2019, then the recent kerfuffle between the AARP and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) affects you. The AARP has challenged the EEOC’s wellness program regulations on the grounds that the EEOC’s permissible wellness incentive of up to 30 percent of the cost of … Continue reading this entry

The Jig Is Up: California Supreme Court Asserts New Independent Contractor Test Impacting The “Gig Economy” and Companies Engaging Independent Contractors

California
Yesterday (April 30, 2018) the California Supreme Court issued an opinion on the appropriate test to employ when assessing “independent contractor” classification under state law. The Court’s unanimous decision throws out the prior multi-factor test for determining independent contractor versus employee status for claims based on the California Industrial Welfare Commission’s Wage Orders. This new … Continue reading this entry

Ninth Circuit Reverses Course on Whether Salary History Justifies Pay Differences

Salary
Employers take note: At least within the area covered by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (including Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington), prior salary history can no longer justify a pay difference between male and female employees.  In a move that reversed the court’s own previous ruling, an 11-judge panel … Continue reading this entry

New York City Mandates Cooperative Dialogue for Accommodation Requests

New York
New York City maintains some of the most expansive and comprehensive human rights laws in the nation. Two new amendments to the city’s laws, which address the process that employers (and other covered entities, such as public and housing accommodations) must use to evaluate reasonable accommodation requests from individuals with disabilities, add to the city’s … Continue reading this entry

Paid Sick Leave Requirements Beginning to Resemble a Crazy Quilt of Legislation

Sick
The proliferation of paid sick leave (PSL) laws at state and local levels, with differing and sometimes conflicting provisions, presents compliance challenges for multistate employers.  Last week’s article presented a number of items often addressed in a PSL statute or ordinance.  This week, we offer some general policy considerations to assist employers who are confronted … Continue reading this entry

How To Mitigate Inappropriate Watercooler Talk In The Current Sexually Salacious News Environment

Sexually
Regardless of your political leaning, it is fair to say that national headlines over the past few weeks have been dominated by sexually charged topics. For instance, a porn star known as Stormy Daniels recently gave an extensive interview on the TV newsmagazine show “60 Minutes,” detailing an alleged extramarital affair with President Trump (Yes, … Continue reading this entry

Paid Sick Leave Requirements Driving you Crazy? You Are Not Alone.

Sick
As we have previously reported, the trend of states and jurisdictions enacting paid sick leave (PSL) requirements continues, posing compliance challenges for multistate employers and employers with employees in a both a city and a state with different PSL requirements.… Continue reading this entry

So What’s it Going to Cost Me?

cost
When faced with an employment discrimination, harassment or retaliation claim, often the immediate response is, “We are going to defend ourselves and prove we are right,” followed by, “So what will it cost us if we lose?” This article describes the damages available to a prevailing party under the primary federal employment statutes.… Continue reading this entry

Term Limits? Stock Options are Not as Flexible as You May Think…

Stock
Even though stock options are a commonly used compensation tool, certain issues, such as whether you must/should limit their terms and, if you do, whether you can make changes to their terms after they have been granted, still catch some employers by surprise.… Continue reading this entry

Can Hiring Away a Competitor’s Employees Be an Antitrust Problem?

Antitrust
A senior sales executive for your biggest competitor is looking to jump ship, and wants to join your company. Your management is thrilled.  Not only will your company gain a talented salesperson with industry knowledge and contacts, but you will also be hurting your competitor at the same time.  What a coup! However, the question … Continue reading this entry

You Signed A Consent Decree. So Now What?

Consent
Any employer who has been on the receiving end of a lawsuit filed by the EEOC or a similar state agency is aware that a standard requirement of settling this type of case is entering into a “consent decree.” A consent decree is a public record (which the agency will publicize on its website) that … Continue reading this entry

The Sliding Scale of Reasonable Accommodations

Consent
We have previously discussed how to protect against religious discrimination claims and best practices when addressing requests for religious accommodations. A recent decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit (covering Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah) reminds employers that the offered religious accommodation truly has to be “reasonable,” and … Continue reading this entry