Category Archives: Labor Relations

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Trump’s DOL Issues First Opinion Letters

DOL
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

PAID
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

Liability
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

PAID
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?

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

More on the Trump NLRB and What it Means for Employers

Trump
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

Trump
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

NLRB Delivers Holiday Gift to Employers in the Form of New Standard for Workplace Civility Rules

NLRB
As explained in this companion article, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) gave employers an early holiday gift with its reversal of the Obama-era joint employer test. But the Board had even more holiday cheer to spread to employers.  On December 14, it overruled its 2003 decision in Lutheran Heritage Village – Livonia.… Continue reading this entry

New NLRB General Counsel Sets New Tone For The "Trump Board"

Trump
We are now almost a year into the Trump presidency, but we are still grappling with how the administration will address many issues throughout the country. To a certain extent we can never be sure of a clear path, as President Trump has not always taken consistent positions on policy issues. However, from time to … Continue reading this entry

Labor Department Proposes A Reversal Of Its Current Tip-Pooling Rules

Department
On December 5, the Department of Labor published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to reverse its 2011 rule prohibiting employers from sharing tips obtained by service workers with non-tipped staff. The proposed rule would allow employers who pay at least minimum wage (without taking a tip credit) to share tips through a tip pool with … 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

The Trump Board is All Aboard: EEOC Still at the Station

EEOC
On September 25 the U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination of William Emanuel to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). This quickly followed the previous confirmation of Marvin Kaplan, thus bringing a full complement to the five-member panel. More significantly for employers, and consistent with long-standing precedent, the sitting president of the United States appoints three … Continue reading this entry

Ninth Circuit Deviates from Guidance and Other Authority on Tip Credits

Tip
We have previously discussed how the Department of Labor (DOL) often issues guidance to assist employers in applying and complying with the DOL’s various regulations. The federal courts generally follow this guidance when analyzing the related regulations, but they are not obligated to do so, as is evident from a recent ruling by the United … Continue reading this entry

Overtime Exemption Increases: Not Now, But (Probably) Soon

Overtime
As our readers are aware, we have devoted a good amount of space to discussing the status of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) final rule on exemptions from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). After a topsy-turvy year-and-a-half, in which multiple courts’ issues opined on the status of that rule, we recently asked … Continue reading this entry

NLRB’s New Joint Employment Rules Fail . . . But Live to Fight Another Day

DOL
No matter your political persuasion, there is little argument that during the second term of the previous administration, multiple federal agencies made landscape-altering changes to federal labor policy. These changes included rewriting guidance on independent contractor standards and accelerating the speed at which union organizing elections would occur following the filing of a representation petition.  … Continue reading this entry

NLRB: Employer Should Not Have Asked an Employee How Things Were Going During a Union Campaign

Campaign
Employers must tread carefully when communicating with employees during union organizing campaigns. A seemingly innocuous question can violate the National Labor Relations Act’s (NLRA) prohibition on employers soliciting grievances during a union organizational campaign and accompanying the solicitation with a promise, express or implied, to remedy such grievances.  However, it is not always clear what … Continue reading this entry

Trump Department of Justice Reverses Course on Class Action Waivers

FCRA
On June 16, 2017, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) changed its position with respect to the enforceability of class action waivers in the labor and employment context. The move came via the DOJ’s filing of an amicus curiae brief in three consolidated cases pending before the Supreme Court (National Labor Relations Board v. … Continue reading this entry

What Ever Happened to the Department of Labor’s New Overtime Rule?

Overtime
As our readers may recall, last year we devoted a good amount of time addressing the Department of Labor’s (DOL) final rule on overtime exemptions. Under that rule, which was supposed to go into effect on December 1, 2016, the minimum salary required to be exempt from overtime requirements under the certain Fair Labor Standards … Continue reading this entry

In Pro-Employer Move, Trump Administration Withdraws DOL Guidance Letters

Guidance Letters
President Trump’s reputation as a no-holds-barred businessman was one of the pillars of his campaign. Six months into office, Trump’s administration is showing its pro-business (or pro-employer) tendencies through recent Department of Labor (DOL) guidance.  In this instance, it is the recent withdrawal of Obama administration guidance, rather than the issuance of new guidance, that … Continue reading this entry

NLRB: Nonunion Employees Do Not Have A Right To A Co-Worker’s Presence During Investigatory Interviews

Trump
As we have frequently reminded our readers, even non-unionized employers need to pay close attention to the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) rulings and opinions as to employees’ rights under applicable labor law. For example, the NLRB has focused on employee handbook provisions – applicable to both union and non-union employers, which it considers to … Continue reading this entry

Expanded Joint Employer Standard Under Attack; What Employers Should Do in the Meantime

Joint Employer
It appears that the days of expanded joint employer liability may be numbered, as the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) 2015 Browning-Ferris decision comes under attack on multiple fronts.… Continue reading this entry

Through Rain, Sleet, or Snow: The USPS Delivers a Helpful Example of Well-Executed Employment-Related Internal Investigations

Background
Remember when the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) conjured up images of disgruntled employees engaging in workplace violence? Those days of incidents, often sparked by employee discontent over unresolved labor grievances and employment-related complaints, are apparently over.  The USPS has learned from the violent incidents of the 1980s and is now considered a go-to source for … Continue reading this entry