Ruling gives employees more time to file constructive discharge claims

May 24, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

A May 23 U.S. Supreme Court ruling clears up questions about how long employees have to file constructive discharge claims, and the decision likely means more pressure for employers potentially facing such lawsuits.

In Green v. Brennan, the Court ruled 7-1 that a U.S. Postal Service employee in Englewood, Colorado, filed a constructive discharge claim within the time period allowed for such claims. The employer had maintained that the claim came too late, and the lower courts agreed.

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Employers need to be ready for new overtime rule by December 1

May 18, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 2 COMMENTS

The flurry of speculation is finally over. The White House and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) have released the new final rule governing which workers must be paid overtime. The changes aren’t quite as drastic as what employers were preparing for based on the contents of the proposed rule made public last summer, but the final rule more than doubles the amount workers must earn to qualify as exempt from the law’s overtime pay requirement.  3D Man Overtime Clock

The changes mean some 4.2 million more employees across the country, according to White House estimates, will be eligible to earn overtime pay when the new final rule takes effect on December 1.

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DOL poised to release new overtime final rule

May 17, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The long-awaited final rule making millions more employees eligible to earn overtime pay is likely to be released on May 18, and if its contents match recent reports, employers and employees alike are in for big changes.

The Politico news organization reports that Vice President Joe Biden, Labor Secretary Tom Perez, and Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown will announce the rule at an event in Columbus, Ohio, on May 18. The report says the rule places the minimum salary for an employee to maintain exempt status at $47,500, up from the current rule’s floor of $455 a week ($23,660 a year).

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EEOC’s new wellness program rules give employers more to consider

May 16, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Employers are getting a look at new final rules affecting how they structure wellness programs, rules that are meant to clear up conflicts among various federal laws but that also may make administration of wellness programs more challenging.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) new rules describe how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) apply to employer wellness programs that request health information from employees and their spouses. The rules—one dealing with the ADA and the other with GINA—explain how workplace wellness programs can comply with the ADA and GINA consistent with provisions in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

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Employers must meet new safety data requirement by June 1

by Jacob Monty

Employers need to be ready for a new requirement from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that changes the format of safety data related to chemicals in the workplace.

OSHA is replacing its material safety data sheet (MSDS) requirement with a more uniform document called the safety data sheet (SDS). The deadline for employers to comply is June 1.

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As new overtime rule nears, questions surface about salary threshold

May 03, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 3 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

As time winds down for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to release its final rule changing who is eligible to collect overtime pay, reports are surfacing that the salary threshold may be somewhat lower than the figure originally proposed but still considerably higher than the level in the current rule.  OvertimeCalcultions

The DOL released a proposed rule in June 2015 that more than doubled the salary requirement for workers to be exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) overtime requirements. Under the current regulations, employees are exempt from the FLSA if they are paid a predetermined fixed salary of at least $455 a week ($23,660 a year) and if they perform certain executive, administrative, professional, computer, or outside sales duties.

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Mississippi passes broad anti-LGBT law

April 01, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

On April 5, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed a bill that provides businesses, religious organizations, and individuals with legal protection for refusing to provide services to LGBT individuals.

The new law provides “certain protections regarding a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction for persons, religious organizations and private associations” that refuse services to LGBT individuals. Those beliefs or convictions include tenets that say: read more…

North Carolina General Assembly does more than just invalidate Charlotte’s LGBT ordinance

by Richard L. Rainey

On Wednesday night, the North Carolina General Assembly passed House Bill (HB) 2, which was then signed by Governor Pat McCrory. While HB 2 was prompted by the desire to overturn Charlotte’s recently enacted ordinance that banned discrimination against LGBT people in the provision of public accommodations and allowed transgender individuals to use the bathroom of their choice, its actual scope is much wider than that. The newly enacted law has the following provisions:

  • The law prevents local governments from imposing any requirement on employers pertaining to the compensation of employees, such as minimum wages, hours of labor, benefits, or leave. This means cities and counties can’t enact “living wage” ordinances or require paid leave, as has been done in other parts of the country.
  • The law prohibits local governments from enacting ordinances that prohibit employment discrimination. Thus, local ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or any other factor are not allowed.
  • The law amends the North Carolina Equal Employment Practices Act (NCEEPA) by clarifying that discrimination against a person’s “biological sex” (not just “sex”) is not permitted. Biological sex is defined as the sex that is stated on the person’s birth certificate.
  • The law further states that the NCEEPA, while a statement of public policy, does not create any statutory or common-law private cause of action, and no person may bring any civil action based on it. This provision means that common-law claims for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy, which have become quite common in the area of employment law litigation, can’t be based on the NCEEPA. Of course, pursuing federal discrimination claims is still an available avenue.
  • The law prevents local governments from imposing antidiscrimination ordinances with respect to businesses that are places of public accommodation. This is the provision directly targeted at the Charlotte ordinance.
  • The law provides requirements for school districts and government agencies on the use of restrooms. Essentially, an individual must use the bathroom designated for his or her biological sex.

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DOL’s new “persuader rule” limits employers’ ability to fight union organizing

March 23, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 1 COMMENTS

A new rule scheduled to take effect April 25 is seen as placing new limits on employer efforts to fight union organizing drives. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced that it will publish its new “persuader rule” in the March 24 Federal Register.

The DOL maintains that the new rule, which requires more disclosure of antiunion efforts, is necessary to ensure transparency during organizing campaigns, but employers worry that it will make it more difficult to communicate to workers their reasons for opposing unionization.

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Supreme Court ruling eases the way for certain class actions

March 22, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled March 22 that the use of statistical evidence to create a class action lawsuit against Tyson Foods was proper, an action that may make it easier for employees in certain situations to band together to sue their employers rather than suing as individuals.

The Court ruled 6-2 in Tyson Foods v. Bouaphakeo that the lower court was correct in allowing employees to use a study performed by an industrial relations expert to establish a class of workers at a Tyson pork processing plant in Storm Lake, Iowa.

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