Push for paid family leave gets boost from Washington, D.C., proposal

October 07, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

A bill under consideration in the Washington, D.C., City Council would give most workers in the city the most generous paid family leave allowance in the country. The bill, introduced October 5, comes amid a push by President Barack Obama and Labor Secretary Thomas Perez to encourage states and cities to adopt paid leave laws.

The bill would entitle most full- and part-time workers in the city to take up to 16 weeks of paid family leave to bond with an infant or an adopted child, recover from an illness, recuperate from a military deployment, or tend to an ill family member.

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NCAA rules limiting payments to college athletes may violate antitrust laws

October 01, 2015 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

by Nancy Williams

Certain NCAA rules designed to ensure “amateur status” of student athletes may violate federal antitrust laws, according to a decision of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The ruling came in a case filed by Ed O’Bannon, a former All-American basketball player at UCLA. O’Bannon discovered that his name, likeness, and identity were being used in a college basketball video game without his having given permission or receiving compensation. He filed a lawsuit against the NCAA claiming that its rules barring compensation for student athletes amounted to an unlawful restraint of trade and thus violated antitrust laws.

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Franchisee group calls ruling on Seattle wage law discriminatory

September 28, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Franchisers in Seattle are faced with phasing in the city’s $15-an-hour minimum wage more quickly than they had hoped now that the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected their bid to be classified as small businesses, a decision the franchisers call discriminatory.

In 2014, Seattle passed a minimum wage law that requires employers to phase in the new $15 minimum wage over the next few years. Employers with 500 or fewer employees have more time to implement the change than employers with more than 500 workers.

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New Florida law offers employers protection against hackers

by Lisa Berg

Effective October 1, Florida business owners will have a new civil remedy in the event they’re harmed by unauthorized access to their computers or information stored on protected computers.

Under Florida’s Computer Abuse and Data Recovery Act (CADRA), businesses can pursue a civil action for “harm or loss” suffered as a result of unauthorized access to “protected computers.”

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New Connecticut law makes wage infractions more dangerous

by John Herrington

A new Connecticut law taking effect October 1 requires courts to award double damages plus court costs and attorneys’ fees for most employee wage claims.

Under the new law—Public Act 15-86, the “Act Concerning an Employer’s Failure to Pay Wages”—a court must award, as a baseline default, double damages plus court costs and attorneys’ fees if it finds that an employer has (1) failed to pay an employee’s wages, accrued fringe benefits, or arbitration award or (2) failed to meet the law’s requirements for an employee’s minimum wage or overtime rates.

Before the new law, which applies to all Connecticut employers, courts consistently held that awards for double damages and attorneys’ fees required the employee to establish facts sufficient to support a finding of bad faith, arbitrariness, or unreasonableness by the employer. Under the new law, that burden shifts from employees to employers.

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New Connecticut law protects interns from discrimination, harassment

by Ashley Harrison Sakakeeny

Employers in Connecticut should update their antidiscrimination and antiharassment policies to cover unpaid interns as a new state law becomes effective October 1.

The new law, Public Act 15-56, prohibits discrimination and harassment against interns much like current laws protect employees. It prohibits discrimination based on an intern’s race, color, age, and other protected characteristics. Also, the law makes it illegal to retaliate against an intern for filing a complaint of discrimination or harassment. It permits interns to file complaints with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and, ultimately, in Connecticut superior court.

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Time for federal contractors to get ready for new pay transparency rule

September 10, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Federal contractors need to be preparing now for the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) new pay transparency rule, a rule going into effect in January that is likely to present challenges to a number of employers, according to an attorney familiar with its provisions.

“This rule appears to me to be part of the overarching intention of the agency to provide for more defined and broader rights for workers,” Jo Ellen Whitney, an attorney with the Davis Brown Law Firm in Des Moines, Iowa, said after publication of the rule was announced September 10. “Any time we add a section to the law that would broaden coverage or create a new category of discrimination or retaliation, we create employer issues. This is not because employers will violate the law, but because it is uncertain how it will be used to support any potential employee claim.”

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Connecticut employers need to be ready for new social media law

by John Herrington

Connecticut employers need to prepare for a new law taking effect October 1 limiting how they can access social media accounts belonging to employees and applicants.

The new law prohibits an employer from:

  • Requesting or requiring employees or applicants to provide a username, password, or any other authentication means for accessing a personal online account;
  • Requesting or requiring employees or applicants to authenticate or access a personal online account in the presence of the employer;
  • Requiring employees or applicants to invite the employer or to accept an invitation from the employer to join a group affiliated with a personal online account;
  • Discharging, disciplining, discriminating against, retaliating against, or otherwise penalizing employees who refuse to provide the means to access a personal online account; or
  • Failing or refusing to hire applicants based on their refusal to provide access to a personal online account.

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Federal contractors advised to get ready for new paid sick leave order

September 09, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

President Barack Obama’s latest Executive Order affecting federal contractors isn’t scheduled to take effect for more than a year, but employers with federal contracts are advised to take a look at their sick leave policies now to make sure they will be in compliance when the time comes.

On September 7, Obama signed an Executive Order that will require federal contractors and subcontractors to offer employees up to seven days of paid sick leave per year. A fact sheet from the White House says that beginning with new contracts in 2017, workers will earn a minimum of one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. The White House points out that contractors are free to offer more generous paid leave entitlements.

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Uber class action ruling expected to have national implications

September 02, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

A San Francisco judge’s ruling granting class action status to possibly thousands of Uber drivers carries implications that “go well beyond California,” according to an attorney closely watching the case.

U.S. District Judge Edward Chen ruled September 1 that a group of Uber drivers in California can sue as a class as they argue that they should be considered employees instead of independent contractors.

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