‘Royal’ additions: handling HR issues that arise due to marriage and childbirth

December 18, 2017 - by: Angela Cummings 0 COMMENTS
Angela Cummings

I admit that, like many Americans, I am fascinated with the lives of the British royal family. That is especially true with respect to Charles and Di’s two young princes. I enjoy hearing news about Prince Williams’ adorable family, and I was excited to hear about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s recent engagement. In fact, this coming spring will mark two momentouPregnant businesswoman working on a laptops occasions for the royal family, as William and Catherine are expecting a baby in April, followed by the wedding of Harry and Meghan in May. I cannot wait to tune in!

Although royalty (and even famous actresses like Markle) do not need to worry much about how marriage and childbirth will affect their jobs, regular Joes certainly do. Accordingly, HR must be ready to assist employees when they undergo these major life changes.

Marriage

When an employee gets married, he or she may undergo a legal name change. From an administrative standpoint, the employee should provide updated personnel documents:

  • First, an employee should provide the employer with a copy of his new, updated Social Security card with the new full name. This is important because the IRS mandates that the card information match the company’s payroll information.
  • The same is true for employee tax documents on file with the employer. The employee will need to update the W-4, so that the legal name is reflected on the corresponding W-2 correctly.
  • Note that an employer is not automatically required to update the employee’s I-9 after a legal name change, but the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recommends doing so in order to have employment records be uniform for the employee.
  • HR will also want to ensure that the employee’s benefits paperwork is updated (including any beneficiary forms).
  • The company may want to require that the employee provide an updated version of his driver’s license, especially if the employee drives a vehicle as part of his job.
  • Some couples set up a joint bank account after marrying. For such employees, HR will want to be sure (for payroll purposes) that any direct deposit information is correct and is adjusted if there is a new account.
  • Finally, the employer should ensure that documents such as “who to contact in an emergency”, business cards, email accounts, desk or wall name plaques, and company phone lists are all updated with the new name.

In addition, HR may want to check in with the employee about any extended time off needed for the wedding and/or honeymoon. If the employee has PTO or vacation time available, it is advisable to determine how the time off will be allocated in advance. Also, having HR work with the employee and his manager on plans for an extended time away may help decrease the disruption on the business.

Childbirth

When an employee has a new child, through birth or adoption, there are a plethora of considerations affecting the employment of the new parent.

  • As with marriage, benefit plans are a consideration. Adding the new child to the employee’s health plan, life insurance, flexible spending accounts, etc. as soon as possible is very important. The employee may also want to update beneficiary designations for life and other types of insurance to include the new child.
  • HR should ensure that the employee understands all of her rights under federal, state, and local law with respect to leave time following the birth or adoption, as well as the employer’s policies and benefits regarding leave. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) often comes into play, as do maternity/paternity leave policies.
  • Companies need to be sure that their nursing mother policies are up to date and that those policies are aligned with the law.
  • Childcare is another consideration for the employee who is a new parent. Some employers have direct childcare benefits and offer onsite daycare, while other employers have arrangements with nearby daycare centers that offer affordable and quality childcare for the employee. HR should ensure that the employee who welcomes a new child has all the necessary information about any childcare benefits available from the company.

In sum, it is exciting when royals—and even commoners!—get married and have children. For commoners who work, HR can be a great asset and partner in the employment-related aspects that accompany these important life changes.

Coaching reVOL-UTion: Schiano, Currie, and what school’s lawyers are analyzing right now

December 05, 2017 - by: Josh Sudbury 0 COMMENTS
Josh Sudbury

The Tennessee coaching search has produced high drama over the past two weeks. For Vol fans like myself, it has felt at times like absolute torture and at other times like just a little bit of torture. “Vol-nation” was in better spirits after the hiring of Phillip Fulmer as Athletic Director was announced, and many are pleased with the selection of master-recruiter and talented Alabama Defensive Coordinator Jeremy Pruitt as the next head coach of the Vols. Details surfaced early Thursday that Pruitt’s new contract is for 6-years at roughly $4 million per year.

Despite this stability, however, the University of Tennessee is far from out of the woods. That is because the administration is staring down the barrel of two potentially costly legal battles over separate memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with would-have-been head coach Greg Schiano and outgoing Athletic Director John Currie. As a legal blogger and avid college football fan, I have never been more excited to bring you legal analysis.

Schiano’s MOU

As you might recall, the Schiano hire at Tennessee was torpedoed after fans and boosters responded in an overwhelmingly negative way via social media and some alleged behind-the-scenes protests. It was later reported that Schiano may seek compensation for Tennessee backing out of an MOU that was allegedly signed by then-athletic director Currie. For starters, the biggest problem in giving any decided legal opinion is that we don’t have a copy of the MOU. In the absence of the actual Schiano MOU, most have looked to the MOU for current UT head basketball coach Rick Barnes for guidance about what might be in Schiano’s agreement. The Barnes MOU contains basic contract language, i.e., offer, acceptance, description of duties, compensation, and termination provisions. It is essentially a legally binding agreement and not an agreement to agree, even though it does contemplate the parties would sign a more detailed agreement later. The MOU contains standard for-cause/no-cause termination provisions outlining the parties’ duties in the event of a separation. The Schiano MOU is likely structured similarly.

While initial reports stated that Currie signed the document, reports have since surfaced that UT Chancellor Beverly Davenport did not sign the MOU, leaving some question about its enforceability. The question remains whether Currie’s purported signature on the MOU makes the document legally binding when UT’s top brass didn’t sign the agreement. The Barnes MOU states it would constitute a legally binding agreement “when fully executed.” I added the emphasis to “fully” because of the report that Currie’s is the only Tennessee signature purportedly on the agreement. By contrast, the Barnes agreement required the signatures of the athletic director, the chancellor, and the treasurer and CFO. That is consistent with Article IV, Section 8, of the UT Bylaws, which provide in pertinent part “all contracts . . . and other instruments of legal obligation shall be executed by the President or another University Officer after any required legal and fiscal review.” The position of athletic director—which Currie held—isn’t identified as a “University Officer” capable of executing such agreements. Thus, blank signature blocks for the university officers on Schiano’s MOU would tend to support the argument that although “executed,” the agreement wasn’t “fully” executed and therefore isn’t enforceable.

Schiano, however, may argue Currie had sufficient or at least apparent authority to bind the university so that Schiano could legitimately rely on Currie’s signature alone in believing the deal was done. Additional evidence about the university’s previous practice in such circumstances, such as other documents similar to the Barnes MOU, would be necessary to give a more definitive take on Schiano’s chances of success. But you can bet he and his agent are likely to push the issue, given that big money is at stake. A “no cause” termination would bring the MOU’s buyout clause into play. The Barnes MOU provided for a buyout worth $1 million per contract year remaining in the event of a no-cause termination. That was seemingly based on Barnes’ $2.5 million annual salary. Schiano’s MOU was likely worth much more, which would most likely result in a similarly higher buyout. Given the circumstances under which the deal crumbled, it is difficult to see how UT could argue it had cause to terminate the agreement. All facts pertinent to cause, including Schiano’s coaching history and The Washington Post article linking him to the Jerry Sandusky case at Penn State, were all well-known before negotiations began.

If Schiano presses the issue, UT will have to weigh its options in deciding whether to fight or try to negotiate a mutual resolution. That, too, could prove costly. A recent example can be found just down the road in Gainesville, Florida, in the form of (UT’s SEC East rival) the University of Florida’s termination of former head coach Jim McElwain. That termination, which was “for cause,” has reportedly resulted in a settlement paying McElwain roughly $4 million of his $12.9 million buyout. Since Schiano and McElwain reportedly share the same agent, the success of settlement negotiations in other termination cases may embolden Schiano to at least kick the tires with UT to see what he can get. 

Currie’s employment status

The fallout from the Schiano debacle is far from over. Just this past Friday, Currie was “suspended with pay” by Chancellor Davenport. Despite “suspending” and not “terminating” Currie, Davenport hired former UT head coach and Hall-of-Famer Phillip Fulmer to assume the AD duties full-time, effective immediately. The hiring of Currie’s replacement while he is still on staff likely means UT administrators and counsel are conducting an internal investigation to determine whether they can fire him for causea decision that may alleviate the burden of having to pay Currie’s own buyout, which reportedly stands at $5.5 million. Whether the university can establish he acted outside of his authority with regard to the botched hiring of Schiano and his MOU or whether Currie’s desperate “Hail Mary” attempts to hire Mike “the Pirate” Leach to succeed Butch Jones was the final nail in his coffin remains to be seen.

Remember, while all of this potential cash exchange plays out on your Twitter feed, Tennessee has essentially agreed to honor former coach Butch Jones’ $8.25 million buyout. Oh, to have been a football coach where “success” is measured by a committee and under-performance guarantees you money! Whatever, man, just Swing Your Sword.

HR issues that arise when natural disasters hit

August 29, 2017 - by: Robin Kallor 2 COMMENTS
Robin Kallor

Natural disasters, like Hurricane Harvey, raise a host of issues for employers, regardless of whether these employers have a direct presence in the affected areas or whether they have employees residing in or telecommuting from them. Sometimes employers are forced to close or are able to remain open in some capacity, but employees are not able to travel to work or need to attend to emergent matters during or in the aftermath of these types of events. Some of the more commonly asked questions are addressed below. Notepad with disaster plan on a wooden table.

1. If there is a forced closure of the workplace, must an employer pay its employees their wages during this shutdown period?

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act and applicable state laws, non-exempt employees must be paid for all hours worked. In the event non-exempt employees are not working during this shutdown period, they are not entitled to be paid wages for this period when they perform no work.  There are exceptions to this–for example, if the employer compensates employees under the fluctuating workweek model or if union contracts provide otherwise in unionized workforces. Additionally, some states have “reporting pay” minimums in the event the shutdown occurs after the employees report to work.

On the other hand, exempt employees must be paid their weekly salary for any week in which they perform some work for the employer. Therefore, for shutdown periods spanning less than one week, they must be paid their regular weekly salary for this week even though they were not working during a partial week in which the employer was shut down.

2. May an employer permit employees to work remotely?

Employees may be permitted to work from a remote location; however, employees must ensure that non-exempt employees are paid for all hours worked. Therefore, non-exempt employees must still clock in or provide some form of accounting of the hours that they worked, and the employer’s ability to monitor these work hours is limited.

As to exempt employees, if the shutdown period is a full week, exempt employees would not be entitled to their weekly salary for that full week. If the exempt employee works remotely, that remote work will constitute work performed in that week, thereby entitling the exempt employee for their full weekly salary for that period of time.

3. What happens if the employer’s business is open, but the employees are not able to travel?

Again, under the FLSA, non-exempt employees are entitled to be paid for only the time that they work, regardless of whether the employee do not work because the employer shuts down or the employee cannot travel to work.

Exempt employees are not entitled to be paid for full days in which they perform no work under these circumstances. Therefore, if they come to work late, they cannot be deducted a partial day’s absence; however, if they are absent for a full day, this time constitutes personal time and they are not entitled to their salary for these full days.

4. Can an employer permit an employee to use accrued but unused vacation for this period of shut down if they would not otherwise be entitled to their wages?

Yes. An employer may permit an employee to use their accrued but unused vacation time if they are not able to travel to a workplace which is open or unable to work due to a shutdown.

5. If an employer does pay an employee for the shutdown period, is that time counted toward the 40 hours for overtime purposes?

No. If an employer chooses to pay non-exempt employees for time that they do not work due to a shutdown, that time does not constitute “working time” and thus isn’t counted toward the 40 hours for overtime purposes.

6. What are the protections for employees who need to take time off during this time?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12-month period for specified family and medical reasons. For example, if an employee is suffering from anxiety due to the hurricane that is corroborated by a medical certification and the employee is eligible for FMLA leave, then the employee is entitled to up to 12 weeks of leave under the FMLA leave.

Additionally, the FMLA entitles eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12-month period for any “qualifying exigency” arising out of the fact that a covered military member is on active duty or has been notified of an impending call or order to activate duty, in support of a contingency operation. Also, the FMLA allows eligible employees to take up to 26 weeks of job-protected leave in a 12-month period to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness.

In addition to the FMLA, the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and applicable state law mandates that employers provide reasonable accommodation to otherwise qualified individuals with disabilities. An extended leave of absence can constitute a reasonable accommodation. In the event an employee is suffering from some form of disability due to the hurricane (e.g., depression, anxiety, or PTSD) and requests a leave of absence, that must be considered even if the employee is not eligible for FMLA leave or requests a leave beyond the 12-week FMLA leave entitlement.

Moreover, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) protects employees who are part of an emergency services organization (such as the National Guard or a Reserve unit). USERRA prohibits discharging, denying initial employment, denying promotion, or denying any benefit of employment because of a person’s membership, performance of service, or obligation to perform service in uniformed service.

Finally, when an illness or injury results from the hurricane, applicable state law may mandate paid sick leave.

7.  How can we show concern?

Employers should engage in regular communication with employees where possible so that they are aware of the employer’s expectations. Moreover, safety concerns are paramount to all others. Finally, employees having difficulties coping with the aftermath should be encouraged to use the employer’s Employee Assistance Program (if one is offered) or take advantage of similar alternative services that may be covered under the company’s medical plan.

Hurricane season brings unique employer issues

October 10, 2016 - by: Kristin Starnes Gray 0 COMMENTS
Kristin Starnes Gray

In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, evacuation orders are lifting and recovery efforts are in their early stages. Employers are facing a number of storm-related issues as they prepare to resume normal operations. Here are just a few of the questions employers are asking.  Hurricane Season Sign With Stormy Background

1.  Does the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) require me to pay employees who miss work because of the weather?  It depends on whether the employee is exempt or non-exempt. If the business closes because of the weather, the FLSA requires employers to pay an exempt employee his or her regular salary for any shutdown that lasts less than a week. If the business remains open but an employee cannot get to work because of the weather, an employer can deduct an exempt employee’s salary for a full day’s absence. Employers generally aren’t required to pay nonexempt employees for any days that they don’t perform any actual work. However, this doesn’t apply to nonexempt employees who are paid on a fluctuating workweek basis.

2.  Am I required to pay an employee for on-call time? Under the FLSA, if the employer requires an employee to be on-call while the office is closed due to weather emergency and the employee cannot effectively use the time for his or her own purposes, the employer must pay the employee for the on-call time.  Employers are not required to pay employees who are at home and available to the employer but able to use the time for their own purposes. Check your state laws for any additional requirements.

3.  Are employees who are discharged as a result of the storm entitled to unemployment compensation? Employees who are out of work for reasons other than their own misconduct generally are entitled to unemployment compensation as long as they have met the state law requirements. In some states, an employer’s unemployment compensation account isn’t charged when an employee is discharged because of a natural disaster.

4.  Are workers’ compensation claims the exclusive remedy for employees who are injured at work due to conditions that resulted from a tropical storm or hurricane? Generally, employees who are injured during the course and scope of employment are limited to workers’ compensation claims and cannot sue the employer in court over the injuries. If, however, the injuries are the result of an employer’s deliberate or intentional conduct rather than an accident, the employee may have the ability to sue the employer in court. Employers should check their state laws.

Employers may be faced with a variety of employment-related issues during the hurricane season. As Hurricane Matthew recovery efforts continue, it’s important to keep in mind that employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees.  Employers are required to protect workers from the anticipated hazards associated with the response and recovery operations that workers are likely to conduct. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has some excellent resources available on its website to help employers make decisions to protect workers.

All you need is employment law

August 04, 2014 - by: Andy Tanick 1 COMMENTS
Andy Tanick

Our blog seems to have focused quite a bit recently on stories from the world of sports, and given the number of professional athletes behaving badly lately, that comes as no surprise. So for this week, we’ll take a break from litigious punters, abusive running backs, and egotistical power forwards to focus on another area of entertainment. Our diversion is well-timed, because I was fortunate enough to attend Paul McCartney’s concert last weekend at Target Field in Minneapolis, where the hapless Minnesota Twins are usually the athletes playing badly, if not behaving badly.  Beatles

What do Paul McCartney and the Beatles have to do with employment law? Well, plenty as it turns out. In fact, with a little creativity, we can conjure up an employment-law subtext to many of the top hits by Sir Paul and his bandmates.

Let’s start with some obvious ones. What HR manager hasn’t had the nightmare of dealing with a lecherous employee who is fond of telling his coworkers, “I Want To Hold Your Hand”? On those seemingly rare occasions when such advances are welcome, the resulting workplace relationship almost always ends badly, and on those more frequent occasions when the proposition is declined, a sexual harassment complaint may not be far behind.

Many popular Beatles’ songs take on a whole new meaning when we view them through the prism of the reasonable accommodation provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), it seems that an employer should begin engaging in the interactive process any time an employee says, “Help! I need somebody!” That’s when a top-notch HR manager will tell the employee, “We Can Work It Out,” if it can be done reasonably, without undue hardship. And once that employee has been accommodated and can resume happy and productive employment, he or she is sure to respond to any inquiries about work by saying, “I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends.” Or if the employee is Joe Cocker, something unintelligible that sounds sort of like that. (Too obscure a reference? Prove me wrong, readers!)

Of course, physical disabilities are not the only ones that employers are required to accommodate. So if one of your employees announces one day, “I Am The Walrus,” or even “I am the egg man,” for that matter, a whole different type of accommodation may be required. Unless of course, the employee does not suffer from a disability at all, but simply reported to work while Hi Hi Hi. (Yeah, I know, that’s the Wings not the Beatles; it’s called artistic license, and it’s a method well known to any Paperback Writer.) If that’s the case, you may need to look at your state’s drug and alcohol testing laws, rather than considering an accommodation.

While we’re on the subject of different protected classes, with today’s aging workforce, many senior employees may be asking their employer, “Will you still need me? Will you still feed me? When I’m 64.” An employer who gives the wrong answer to that question may find itself on The Long And Winding Road of an age discrimination lawsuit.

Switching to a different area of employment law, we’ve all seen a lot more wage and hour claims over the past few years. Having said that, however, I have yet to see an overtime claim arising from an employee being forced to work Eight Days A Week. Of course, we know that claim is false. Why? Because that employee may have been working a lot lately, but our time records show that she didn’t work Yesterday.

When viewed through the eyes of an HR manager, an employee’s plea to stay here and not go to work Back In The USSR turns into a somewhat outdated request for help with an H1-B visa. And in the event of a workplace injury, you’d better hope that the shop foreperson’s motto was not “Live And Let Die.”

Sometimes, despite the superhuman efforts of the HR Department and the company’s employment counsel, the employee may still have a valid claim. No employer is perfect. But even in that unlikely scenario, all is not lost; while money Can’t Buy Me Love, it can usually buy a reasonable settlement.

Donald Sterling: SMH

May 06, 2014 - by: Matt Gilley 0 COMMENTS
Matt Gilley

I learned something last week. If you read a youngster’s text messages, you’ll notice shutterstock_104818202a complicated system of abbreviations, symbols, and symaphores that, when translated with your 7-year-old’s assistance, become more-or-less coherent English sentences. Anyway, I learned “SMH” means “shaking my head,” which is exactly what I do these days when I hear the words “Donald Sterling.”

Sterling made himself cannon fodder for anyone in sight, and our own Josh Sudbury ably tackled the issue last week. So why go back to the well? Quite simply, Mr. Sterling is the ol’ gift that keeps on giving.

Last week, DuJour.com managed to get a line in to Sterling. Catching the attention of a guy who is the subject of just about everyone’s morbid fascination is a nice little coup for any publication, so they went for it: They wanted to know Sterling’s thoughts about V. (Vivian?) Stiviano, his … correspondent on the infamous tapes (she calls herself his “Silly Rabbit,” but that’s beyond my ken). So, Mr. Sterling, Ms. Stiviano made tapes that have brought you public ridicule. They may cost you your team. What – say – you?!?!

“I wish I had just paid her off.”

Lovely.

Nevertheless, there is a kernel of a takeaway here for human resources professionals. If we give Mr. Sterling the enormous benefit of a very profound doubt, we can imagine he was referring to severance pay that he could have offered Ms. Stiviano. In that case, any employer offering severance needs to get a separation agreement in return. For separation agreements to make a clean break, though, you can’t treat them as boilerplate, and failing to have your counsel update them regularly or review them individually can stir trouble.

The potential topics are many, but here are a few words to the wise:

  • Don’t overreach. There are certain employment rights that cannot be waived, especially things like Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and other wage claims. Furthermore, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and other agencies may view prohibitions against filing claims as unlawful (they’ve been litigating this issue recently, in fact). Appropriate drafting can give you a satisfactory resolution.
  • Don’t cancel out another agreement. Before signing a separation agreement with any employee, make sure you know the other agreements the company may have with this person (especially restrictive covenants). If those other agreements need to survive termination, be very careful about language in the separation agreement that purports to supersede prior agreements.
  • Know the law. I am still surprised that folks overlook the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act in their separation agreements. Also, if you’re doing an agreement in a state that’s relatively new to you, get some assistance.

And, finally, with a nod to Mr. Sterling, you should probably consider a paragraph requiring the employee to return all property and work product. Oh, yeah – and a confidentiality provision, too.

I believe you have my stapler

March 04, 2014 - by: David Kim 2 COMMENTS
David Kim

shutterstock_44644189Ever flip through the channels on a lazy Saturday afternoon and come across an oldie but goodie? This happened to me recently with the movie Office Space, a workplace classic. While I can’t imagine a world where everyone hasn’t seen Office Space, here is a quick plot summary.

Peter Gibbons (played by Ron Livingston, pictured here) generally has no motivation in life. He hates his job as a programmer at Initech, and hates his boss Bill Lumbergh, a smarmy coffee-mug-holding you know what who makes Peter work weekends and constantly bugs him about the status of his “TPS reports.” Convinced to attend an occupational hypnotherapy session where the therapist dies of a heart attack after hypnotizing Peter, he wakes up relaxed and with a new take on life.  He ignores Lumbergh’s calls and, instead of heading into work over the weekend, goes to Chotchkie’s (a T.G.I. Friday’s parody) and asks out Joanna, a waitress played by Jennifer Aniston, whom Peter seemingly has had a crush on for a while.

While Peter’s relationship with Joanna progresses, his professional life similarly thrives. He goes into work in flip-flops, plays video games on his computer, and essentially ignores Lumbergh’s directions at every turn.  Better yet, the “two Bobs”–outside consultants brought in by Initech to assess operations and assist in targeting employees to be downsized–meet with Peter and become enamored with his no-holds-barred take on the problems with working at Initech (as one of the Bobs says, “that’s just a straight shooter with upper management written all over him”).

When Peter learns, however, that the jobs of two of his closest co-workers, Michael (“Why should I change [my name]?  He’s the one who sucks”) Bolton and Samir Nagheenanajar, will be eliminated, the trio hatch a plan to get even by installing a computer virus on Initech’s computers designed to divert fractions of pennies (amounts too little to notice but that cumulatively will result in a decent haul) into their own bank account. When they discover that a misplaced decimal point in the virus caused hundreds of thousands of dollars to be taken within only a matter of days, amounts that will be clearly noticeable to Initech, panic ensues. Let’s just say that things work themselves out thanks to Milton Waddams, a mumbling introverted Initech employee, whose actions unintentionally get Peter and company of the hook.

There are a host of other movie subplots, some of which raise rather interesting employment workplace issues:

Milton. When the two Bobs come in and take a look at Initech’s operations, they discover that Milton was actually laid off years earlier. Because of a computer glitch, though, he continues to receive regular paychecks. The two Bobs inform management that they “fixed the glitch” so that Milton will no longer be receiving a paycheck, and thus the situation will just “work itself out naturally.” Contrary to the two Bobs’ position, the glitch hasn’t been fixed. By willingly having Milton come into work, Initech has “suffered or permitted” him to perform labor for the company’s benefit. As a result, he must be compensated as an employee under the federal and state wage and hour laws. Initech also would be wise to return Milton’s red Swingline stapler to him.

Joanna. As a Chotchkie’s waitress, Joanna is required by company policy to wear 15 “pieces of flair” on her uniform, which she does. Yet, her manager constantly reprimands her for merely wearing “the minimum” as opposed to Brian who goes above and beyond and wears 37 pieces of flair. Chotchkie’s should tread carefully. If your company policy requires only 15 pieces of flair, disciplining or reprimanding employees who meet this requirement could permit a disgruntled employee to claim disparate treatment. My suggestion: Just get rid of the flair – people come to Chotchkie’s for the atmosphere and the attitude, not the flair.

Drew. Peter’s co-worker Drew is “that guy.” You know, that guy who tells you he’s gonna take out that new chick from Logistics and if things go well he might be showing her his “O-face.” You know, that guy who makes managers and supervisors worry about a sexual harassment lawsuit. That guy whom employers should probably have a talking to about appropriate workplace conduct before an incident occurs.

Peter, Michael, and Samir. I guess one of the most obvious lessons from this trio’s heist is to ensure that your organization has the appropriate firewalls to shield access to company data from employees. This also includes instituting an appropriate confidentiality policy to be distributed to employees and creating password protections for certain levels of corporate information. I guess the other lesson is don’t hire a guy like Lumbergh who will alienate your workforce. Oh, and make sure to have a printer that works or else your employees may take it from the office, transport it to the middle of some field, and unleash years of frustration by beating it to a pulp with their bare hands.

Rah rah ree! Pay our salary!

January 24, 2014 - by: Brian Kurtz 0 COMMENTS
Brian Kurtz

If your Google search for “California cheerleaders illegal” led you here, our apologies for your initial disappointment. But, please, stay a while, because the recently filed class action lawsuit by the Raiderette cheerleaders against the NFL’s Oakland Raiders is instructive as to the types of issues that can lead to wage-and-hour litigation.  Do we have your rapt attention now?  Good, let’s delve.

According to the complaint filed this week in Alameda County, California, the Raiders are in violation of numerous California Labor Code provisions dealing with employer wage-and-hour requirements. The problems appear to originate in the Raiderette Agreement that the football club requires its cheerleaders to sign. According to the agreement, which states that each Raiderette is an at-will employee of the Raiders, a cheerleader earns $125 for every home game. That money allegedly isn’t paid, however, until January when the Raiders’ season is over. This is potentially problematic  for a number of reasons (not least of which is  that the Raiders’ season is generally de facto over in November). read more…