Category Archives: Human Resources/ Employer Matters

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Happy 25th Birthday, FMLA! 25 Years Later – Where Are We Now?

FMLA
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is celebrating its 25th anniversary this month. On February 5, 1993, President Bill Clinton signed the FMLA into law guaranteeing certain employees up to 12 unpaid weeks off of work a year to care for children or ill family members, or to recover from one’s own serious health … Continue reading this entry

An Annual Retirement Plan “Check-Up” May be Just What the Doctor Ordered!

Retirement
February is Heart Health Month, which always reminds me to schedule my annual doctor checkup. This got me thinking that the need for ongoing “checkups” and maintenance applies not just to our health, but to our homes, cars, and even to your company’s retirement plans!  That’s right—if you work with your employer’s tax-qualified retirement plans, … Continue reading this entry

R2-Me2? How Should Employers Respond to Job Loss Caused by Robots?

Robots
There is no question that the use of robots, along with other similar technological changes in the workplace, will continue to eliminate or downgrade jobs. Indeed, it has been estimated that on average, each workplace robot eliminates six jobs. This article will examine (1) the impact such changes will have on women and (2) whether … Continue reading this entry

Even If Sexual Orientation And Gender Identity Are Not Covered By Title VII -- Very Much an Open Question -- LGBTQ Employees May Find a Way to Sue You

LGBTQ
Some pretty horrifying facts about workplace conduct at the Providence, R.I., Fire Department involving co-workers: calling a female lieutenant firefighter “bitch” “c—t,” “lesbian lover,” and “lesbo”; telling her, “I don’t normally like to work with women, but, you know, we like the same thing, so I think we’re going to get along”; spitting on and … Continue reading this entry

Paid Sick Leave Laws are Sweeping the Country: Are You in Compliance?

Sick
Paid sick leave, like paid family leave, is one example of an employment law issue where states are acting without waiting for the federal government.  While former President Obama issued an Executive Order establishing paid sick leave for federal contractors, there is no federal law requiring private sector employers to offer paid sick leave.  Because … Continue reading this entry

Buyer Beware: I-9 Compliance in Mergers and Acquisitions

Mergers
With a new tax law and a booming American economy, mergers and acquisitions will occur at a busy pace in 2018.  In a prior post, we explained some of the employment authorization issues that may arise in such corporate transactions.  Here, we discuss another important issue that arises in mergers and acquisitions:  Form I-9 compliance.  … Continue reading this entry

Non-competes for Existing Employees May Require Additional Consideration

Existing
It is not uncommon for employers to ask existing employees to sign non-compete agreements. For example, new management may want to tighten up a company’s protections. Or, changes in the business may make the need for employee non-competes more important.  But non-compete agreements signed by existing employees are not always enforceable and often require the … Continue reading this entry

Are You Required to Pay Your Interns?

Interns
For-profit employers occasionally bring on unpaid interns to work at the company. The question employers must ask is whether an unpaid intern is actually an employee and, therefore, entitled to be paid minimum wage and overtime pay under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  If an intern is not an employee under the FLSA, … Continue reading this entry

Iceland’s Pay Equity Law: The Start of a New Approach?

Iceland
Iceland has been touting gender pay equity legislation as a short-term goal since early last year. So it is no surprise that the country’s new law  — which mandates pay equity for males and females – went into effect a few weeks ago.  By enacting specific legislation, Iceland is taking a proactive approach to address actual … Continue reading this entry

Tax Reform and Employee Benefits – What You Need to Know Now

Tax
As you have probably heard by now, the recently enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the Tax Reform Act) made significant changes to the Internal Revenue Code. With regard to executive compensation, the Tax Reform Act made widely publicized changes impacting public companies and nonprofit entities.  The new law also made changes affecting employer-provided retirement, … Continue reading this entry

Cybersecurity Risks to Employee Benefit Plans - Are You Prepared?

Cybersecurity
Unless you’ve been living on a remote mountaintop or inside a cave for the past 10 years, chances are good you’ve either been affected by a cybersecurity breach or know someone who has. Among many other businesses, recent cybersecurity breaches have affected large retailers and bankers, internet providers, and even the U.S. government.  The 2017 … Continue reading this entry

Another Joint Employment Development, And Still More Uncertainty

Joint
For the last several years, “joint employment” (whatever that now means legally) has been anything but the gift that keeps on giving for employers. First, joint employment became a tool that the previous Administration locked onto in seeking to expand wage and hour liabilities and to open up potential union organizing opportunities and labor relations … Continue reading this entry

Watch Your Mail: IRS Begins Collection of Employer Mandate Penalties

IRS
It’s official. The IRS has finally begun the process of collecting penalties under the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) employer shared responsibility provisions, better known as the employer mandate.  The IRS has started mailing out letters to employers that potentially owe an employer shared responsibility payment (ESRP) for the 2015 calendar year.  These letters follow the … Continue reading this entry

Reconsidering Limits on Confidentiality Provisions Where Sexual Misconduct is Involved

Mergers
It does not require insightful analysis to conclude that something is broken when it comes to reporting and addressing sexual misconduct in the workplace. One attempt to fix part of the “brokenness” comes from the Pennsylvania legislature – a bill that would place limits on confidentiality restrictions. (New Jersey is considering something similar and other … Continue reading this entry

The Use of Staffing Agencies Is About To Get More Expensive (and Risky) in Illinois

Staffing
As we have reported in the past, utilizing temporary staffing agencies to fill gaps in labor needs can be an efficient and economically beneficial way for companies to meet business demands.  This is particularly true in today’s “gig economy,” where short-term staffing needs are high but small or mid-size companies do not have the resources … Continue reading this entry

Sales Commission Agreements Can Limit Potential Liability

Iceland
A manufacturing company’s sales employee successfully convinces a new customer to purchase a commercial cooler. Under the employee’s sales commission plan, she receives a commission of 2% of the price of the cooler and any repair parts purchased.  The employee also receives a 2% commission on the annual service plan the customer purchases to maintain … Continue reading this entry

Time to Think About Holiday Bonuses

holiday
Halloween has passed and we are now squarely approaching the holiday season. While this time of year brings many good things, it can also bring unwanted headaches for employers wanting to spread some “holiday cheer,” especially those who forget how bonuses may affect payment of overtime. So, while we recently discussed bonuses in general, now … Continue reading this entry

California Federal Court Strikes Down FCRA Claim

EEOC
Earlier this month, in a case pending in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Home Depot avoided a class action suit under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The lawsuit accused the company of improperly obtaining personal information about job applicants by relying on background check authorization forms that did not … Continue reading this entry

Straight Talk About Incentive Compensation

Compensation
Many employers offer compensation packages that include a mix of both base compensation (guaranteed wages or salary) and  incentive compensation (at-risk variable compensation). While base pay tends to be relatively straightforward, incentive compensation presents unique challenges and planning opportunities.… Continue reading this entry

Using Biometric Timekeeping? Be Aware of Potential Compliance Risks

Biometric
Human resources professionals could certainly be excused for feeling frustrated with the fact that every technological advance improving business operations comes with new legal landmines to manage. For example, increased connectivity has greatly enhanced productivity opportunities.  But at the same time, it has created new challenges with data management and integrity, off-the-clock work risks, and … Continue reading this entry

The Time to Comply is Now: The New “I-9 Sheriff” is in Town!

I-9
As we have previously informed our readers, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued yet another update to U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services’ (USCIS) Employment Eligibility Verification Form (commonly referred to as Form I-9).… Continue reading this entry

Monopoly Money or the Real Deal? Exploring the Possibility of Paying Employees in Bitcoin

Bitcoin
Bitcoin, the most popular form of digital or crypto-currency, is gaining traction as an investment vehicle and a way to pay for goods and services. More than 100,000 merchants worldwide now accept Bitcoin, allowing consumers to book a hotel stay, take a taxi, or buy a car.  The buzz around crypto-currency continues to grow as … Continue reading this entry

California Supreme Court Confirms that PAGA Plaintiffs Are Entitled to Broad Discovery of Other Employees’ Contact Information

Contract
California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) allows aggrieved employees to recover civil penalties on behalf of themselves, other employees, and the State of California for Labor Code violations. On July 13, 2017, the California Supreme Court issued its anticipated ruling on the scope of discovery in PAGA cases.  In a blow to employers, the Court … Continue reading this entry