New bill latest effort to tackle definition of joint employment

July 28, 2017 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

NLRB logoThe definition of “joint employment” may be heading for another turnaround. Legislation introduced in Congress on July 27 takes aim at a 2015 National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision that raised the ire of many in the business community, especially employers that work with franchisees, contractors, and staffing agencies.

The NLRB’s 2015 Browning-Ferris decision broadened the joint-employment standard so that a business that exercises only indirect control over another employer’s workers still can be considered a joint employer for purposes of collective bargaining. The new bill introduced in the House—dubbed the Save Local Business Act—seeks to clarify the joint-employment standard and provide relief to businesses that are in a relationship with another employer.

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DOJ says Title VII doesn’t apply to sexual orientation discrimination

July 27, 2017 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Sexual orientation flag snipThe U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed an amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief in a case in which an employee claims his employer violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by discriminating against him based on his sexual orientation.

The DOJ’s brief asserts that Title VII’s prohibition of sex discrimination does not extend to discrimination based on sexual orientation. The DOJ’s position is in stark contrast to the position taken by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which says discrimination based on sexual orientation or transgender status constitutes sex discrimination in violation of Title VII.

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DOL seeking feedback on long-debated overtime rule

July 25, 2017 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Overtime snipEmployers will get the opportunity to offer feedback on changes to the regulation governing which workers are eligible for overtime pay after the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) publishes a Request for Information (RFI) in the Federal Register on July 26.

On July 25, the DOL announced it would publish the RFI and released a preliminary copy. The RFI is the latest action on a rule issued in May 2016 during the Obama administration. Implementation of the rule would have added approximately 4.2 million employees to the ranks of workers eligible for overtime pay of at least 1½ times their regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek.

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Get ready to switch to another revised I-9

July 14, 2017 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Immigration snipOn July 17, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will release a new revision of Form I-9—Revision 07/17/17 N—to be used for employment eligibility verification. The new form is available on the USCIS’s website.

Employers will need to use the new version of the form beginning September 18.

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Texas Supreme Court balks at extending spousal benefits to same-sex couples

by Jacob Monty
Monty & Ramirez, LLP

The Texas Supreme Court ruled this week that the City of Houston’s extension of its employee benefits to married same-sex couples goes further than is required by the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which declared same-sex marriage equal in all 50 states. The plaintiffs in Friday’s decision argued that Obergefell didn’t impose on taxpayers the obligation to “subsidize” same-sex marriage. The city argued that the Supreme Court ruling requires it to treat employees in same-sex marriage equally.

In what same-sex marriage opponents are calling a victory, the Texas Supreme Court sent the case back to the lower court for arguments to be made in light of Obergefell, which was announced only after the parties had briefed the case in the lower court. The court stated: read more…

DOL drops defense of overtime rules

June 30, 2017 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

by Susan Prince, JD, MSL

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), headed by new Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, has decided not to defend the overtime rules finalized under the Obama administration. Instead, the DOL will seek to begin a new rulemaking process, likely with a lower salary threshold for overtime exemptions.

Background

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DOL rescinds joint-employment, independent contractor guidance

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has withdrawn two major Obama-era guidance documents, one addressing joint employment and one dealing with independent contractors.

The move, while not a surprise, is good news for employers, according to H. Juanita Beecher, an attorney with Fortney & Scott and editor of Federal Employment Law Insider. The Obama administration tried to find a way to deal with shifting employer-employee relationships, she said. The effort included a focus on outsourcing and the use of staffing companies as well as a big push to examine whether independent contractors were actually employees. By rescinding the guidance documents, the DOL is backing off its “aggressive” initiative, Beecher said.

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Signaling end of overtime rule, DOL will seek public input on new regs

On June 7, Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta said he will soon formally request the public’s input on new overtime regulations. The announcement signals that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) likely will drop its defense of former President Barack Obama’s overtime rule, according to one expert.

A request for information (RFI) likely will be filed with the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the next two to three weeks, Acosta told lawmakers during a budget hearing of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriations.

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ACA ‘repeal’ bill eases employer requirements, faces uphill battle in Senate

Now that the House has passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA)—a proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare—the ball is in the Senate’s court. And while Senate Republicans say they won’t adopt the House’s version wholesale, most of the provisions easing requirements on employers are likely to appear in the Senate’s bill as well.

The measures in H.R. 1628 that affect employers are relatively uncontroversial, according to Eric Schillinger, a contributor to Federal Employment Law Insider and an attorney at Trucker Huss. Senate Republicans probably will push back against some of the changes affecting Medicaid and the individual market, Schillinger said, but “the employer provisions aren’t attracting the same controversy.”

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‘Religious liberty’ order leaves LGBT nondiscrimination provisions intact

On May 4, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) that, unlike a draft version, leaves intact Obama-era LGBT nondiscrimination requirements for federal contractors.

The EO, which one expert described as largely hortatory, addresses tax exemptions for religious organizations and the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) contraceptive mandate. But it includes little affirmative movement, according to Burton J. Fishman, senior counsel with Fortney & Scott and a contributor to Federal Employment Law Insider.

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