Category Archives: Labor Relations

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DOL Issues New FMLA, FLSA Guidance to Employers

DOL
Last week, the Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) issued its first three opinion letters of 2019 concerning the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). These opinion letters are a helpful tool for employers to understand their rights and responsibilities under the law. Employers may even rely … Continue reading this entry

DOL Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Increase Salary Thresholds

Proposed
On March 7, 2019, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would increase the minimum salaried basis threshold required to be paid to employees under the white collar exemptions (e.g., executive, administrative, and professional). Under current regulations, to avoid paying overtime, employers must pay employees at least $455/week ($23,660/year) … Continue reading this entry

Two Department of Labor Agencies Announce Recent Developments: EEOC and OFCCP

OFCCP
OFCCP Audit Scheduling Letters Available Online – On Friday, February 22, 2019, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced that it is on schedule to post its next set of Corporate Scheduling Announcement Lists (CSALs) in the department’s FOIA Library next month (around mid- to late-March). As a reminder to our readers who … Continue reading this entry

Your Get of Out Jail Free Card: Tips to Avoid Pitfalls Under the Texas Wage Theft Act

jail
In the classic version of the iconic board game Monopoly, “Monopoly Jail” is the first corner space after “Go.” When playing the game, no one really wants to be sent to jail, as it immediately takes away your turn and ends your ability to keep collecting money and property. The same is true about your … Continue reading this entry

What the NLRB Can Teach You About Documenting Employee Misconduct

NLRB
Innocent mistakes are an unfortunate reality in our fast-paced, technology-driven society. But an employer does not have to tolerate an employee doubling down on his mistake by deceiving his employer and actively impeding an investigation into that mistake. That’s the main lesson from a recent Alabama federal district court opinion in which the judge held … Continue reading this entry

New Year, Old Test? NLRB’s Continuing Efforts to Roll Back Obama-Era Joint Employment Standard Hit Another Roadblock

NLRB
If the NLRB were a TV drama (imagine the ratings!), the most recent Christmastime decision by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals would have been a season-ending cliffhanger. It leaves the future of joint employment in doubt and is yet another reminder that employers must remain vigilant around joint employment issues.… Continue reading this entry

Negotiating a Labor Contract: Finding the Style that Suits You

Contract
Day one of labor negotiations for a new labor contract. The prior three years had been uneventful, very few grievances, a good business climate, and the two negotiating committees chatted amicably as they waited for their representatives to start the meeting. The company lead negotiator spoke first, welcoming everyone, pledging to work in good faith … Continue reading this entry

Putting PAID to Non-Compliant Payroll Practices: Is the DOL’s Payroll Self-Audit Program Right for You?

payroll
Remember full-service gas stations? These days, we have self-service pumps. Remember cashiers at the grocery store? Now, most chains offer self-service checkout. Remember the DOL auditing your labor practices? Not so fast – they still do that. But now employers can take the “do-it-yourself” approach too!  While it is easy to see the convenience and … Continue reading this entry

You Can Pay Exempt Employees Their Guaranteed Salaries on an Hourly, Daily, or Shift Basis, and the Department of Labor Has Given Some Tips on How to Do It Correctly

Proposed
Human resources and other professionals who review job positions for possible exemptions under the federal wage and hour law (the Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA) are familiar with the “salary basis” and “job duties” tests. Employees who work in jobs that meet both tests and who work in true executive, administrative, or professional capacities … Continue reading this entry

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

ACA
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”

Supreme
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

Supreme
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

handbook
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

Supreme
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