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 shoving her; and throwing the blood and brain matter of a suicide-attempt victim at her. Based on these and other facts, a jury found the female employee was discriminated against based on her gender and in retaliation for complaining.
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 paid sick leave regulations can result in serious changes to your balance sheet and staffing plans, it is important to make sure your company is aware of and in compliance with state paid sick leave laws.
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. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has recently announced that it will quadruple worksite enforcement. Some of ICE’s key tools for worksite enforcement are I-9 inspections and investigations. With the many issues whirling in complex corporate transactions, buyers are tempted to overlook I-9 issues until after the deal is done. Doing so increases the risk of I-9 liability. The very nature of the acquisition may require the buyer to complete a high number of I-9 Forms in a short period of time or take the risk of accepting I-9 Forms from the seller. To determine the best approach for a particular corporate transaction, the buyer must assess the seller’s I-9 compliance and consider the buyer’s ability to complete new, timely, and compliant I-9 Forms.
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 of the George W. Bush administration. The letters, which were quickly withdrawn after Barack Obama took office later that month, are from the Wage and Hour Division of the DOL.
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 employee to receive meaningful new consideration. In other words, the employee must receive something of value in return for the promise not to compete.