Category Archives: Labor Relations

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DOL Reverses Course on “80/20” Limitations for Tipped Employees

DOL
On November 8, 2018, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued 4 new opinion letters providing both employers and employees further insight into the agency’s views regarding compliance with federal labor laws.  While the letters touch on a variety of issues, perhaps the most notable change involves the DOL’s about-face regarding the amount of “non-tipped” work … Continue reading this entry

Check Your COBRA Notices in Order to Avoid Potential Lawsuits

COBRA
Have you thought about your COBRA notices recently? Of course not, because COBRA notices don’t warrant your valuable time. They are just another one of those pesky notices that the law requires you to send. If that was your reaction, you may want to rethink it.… Continue reading this entry

Are Independent Contractor Classifications Becoming “Safer”? In a Word – No.

Safer
As we will describe in this and its companion article, if you are an employer viewing such classifications optimistically in light of some recent legal developments, you should do so fully aware of the attendant perils. One might be excused for thinking (from an employer-biased point of view) that the independent contractor minefield might be … Continue reading this entry

Notwithstanding Trump’s Efforts to Narrow Joint Employment Liability, Businesses Need to Remain Vigilant When Using “Independent Contractors”

Independent
As we have focused on in this week’s articles, it is no secret that the current administration is pushing much more pro-business policies compared to the Obama administration. For example, as we previously wrote about, federal agencies under Trump’s administration have taken steps and issued guidance aimed at narrowing the circumstances under which a business … Continue reading this entry

Labor Board Moves to Clear the Confusion on Joint Employment

Independent
On Friday, September 14, 2018, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the latest attempt to address the “joint employer” standard under the National Labor Relations Act. The proposed rule states that a separate entity will be considered a joint employer “only if the two employers share or codetermine … Continue reading this entry

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

You Might Be a Federal Government Contractor — Better Check Now

federal
If your company: sells goods or services to the federal government; or sells goods or services to companies that use those goods or services in the products they sell to the federal government, you need to read this article. If you have human resource management responsibility, and you do not know to whom your company … Continue reading this entry

OFCCP Signals Emphasis on “Religious Liberty” in Federal Contractor Compliance

OFCCP
On August 10, the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued a new policy directive aimed at protecting the religious freedom of employees and ensuring a “level playing field” for religious organizations to compete for federal contracts. While the 2014 Obama administration rule prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender … Continue reading this entry

Online Forum Activity = Protected Concerted Activity

online
Much can be (and has been) made about the newly constituted National Labor Relations Board overturning many precedents of the prior Board, which was largely appointed by President Obama. Nonetheless, even with a more “conservative” (i.e., pro-employer) Board, some employers still cross the line. In one recent case, it all came down to what an … Continue reading this entry

The Heat Is On: Is Your Company in Compliance with State Sun and Heat Worker Protections?

heat
With summer in full swing and heat waves sweeping the country, it is important that employers comply with any state regulations protecting employees who work outdoors from suffering from heat-related illnesses. Just last week, with the National Weather Service issuing excessive heat warnings for California, Cal/OSHA reminded all employers with outdoor workers to be mindful … Continue reading this entry

No Summer Break for New York State’s and New York City’s Anti-Sexual Harassment Protections

New York
With the summer (and many vacations) now in full swing, it would be easy for employers to miss the anti-sexual harassment protections that were added to the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules (NY CPLR) and New York’s General Obligation Law, effective July 11, 2018, as well as the additional training, policy and other … Continue reading this entry

Are Unions Facing the Eve of Destruction? Supreme Court Outlaws Agency Fees in the Public Sector

Since dues are the lifeblood of all labor unions, it wouldn’t be surprising to find the leadership of the American labor movement singing a refrain from a 1960’s protest song: “my friend . . . we’re on the eve of destruction.” As was widely expected, on Wednesday, June 27, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court issued … 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

Supreme Court Ends the Debate and Upholds Class Action Waivers

Independent
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

I Want To Dock My Employee’s Wages Because She Broke Her Laptop – Okay?

wages
The answer to this question depends – is the employee exempt or non-exempt? And, if non-exempt, will the deduction reduce her compensation below the minimum wage or affect her overtime compensation? We live in a time where company-issued computer laptops and tablets are commonplace. It is also fairly certain that, at one time or another, … Continue reading this entry

Trump’s DOL Issues First Opinion Letters

Independent
Back in January, we reported that the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) was reviving the agency’s practice of issuing opinion letters at the request of employers.  The WHD stopped the practice of issuing opinion letters under the Obama administration back in 2010.  After nearly a decade, the WHD finally issued new opinion … Continue reading this entry

Getting PAID – A New Path for Employers to Address Federal Wage and Hour Violations

wage
It is a dilemma that many employers have faced. You discover that your company violated federal law on minimum wage or overtime payments. You want to fix the problem, but you do not know how to do so without prompting employee demand letters, a Department of Labor audit or, perhaps worst, a class action lawsuit. … Continue reading this entry

Liability for Employee Misclassification is on the NLRB’s Chopping Block

Safer
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has recently taken one step forward, two steps back in terms of providing certainty to employers that use independent contractors. On February 16, the NLRB invited briefing on the issue of under “what circumstances, if any, should the Board deem an employer’s act of misclassifying statutory employees as independent … Continue reading this entry

April 1, 2018 is Fast Approaching – Are Your Disability Claims Procedures Ready?

Disability
The Department of Labor issued the final disability claims regulations on December 16, 2016. These regulations are effective for all claims filed on or after April 1, 2018. The Department felt the update was needed to provide claimants a full and fair review, to promote fairness and accuracy, and to better protect participants.  The Department … Continue reading this entry

The Department of Labor Restores Bush Era Opinion Letters

wage
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is turning back the clock in a move that it believes will provide clarity for employers who seek to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). On January 5, 2018, the DOL reinstated 17 opinion letters to employers that were published in January 2009, during the final month … Continue reading this entry

Are You Required to Pay Your Interns?

Salary
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

More on the Trump NLRB and What it Means for Employers

OFCCP
In recent weeks we have commented on the spate of new pro-employer decisions from the National Labor Relations Board (the Board).   These decisions, among others,  have included: Boeing Co., 365 NLRB No. 154 (Dec. 14, 2017)(reasonable employer policies, such as Boeing’s ban on the use of cameras and cell phones, are lawful), Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors, … Continue reading this entry

Trump NLRB Reverses Rule on 'Micro-Units,' Continues Overhaul of Obama-Era Rulings

OFCCP
As we discussed last week, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has been working hard during the holiday season to reverse landmark decisions issued by the Obama-era Board. The Board’s efforts to reshape federal labor law continued last week with its decision overruling Specialty Healthcare and changing the standard for determining when a proposed bargaining … Continue reading this entry

NLRB Reverses Obama-Era Joint Employer Test

Reverses
Over the course of one afternoon, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued two significant decisions that together overturned several of the Obama administration’s most polemic legal positions under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Here we discuss the NLRB’s decision to overturn the 2015 Browning-Ferris Industries case.  In Browning-Ferris, the NLRB adopted an expansive … Continue reading this entry