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Labor Issues Staying at the Forefront of Political, Legal Discussions with NLRB, DOL Activity

Franczek Radelet P.C • January 23, 2015
As we have discussed over the past few weeks, the NLRB was busy as 2014 drew to a close. On December 11, 2014, the Board overruled its Register Guard decision in Purple Communications, establishing a new standard that requires employers to accommodate employees’ use of e-mail for protected concerted activity, subject only to “uniform and consistently enforced controls” that are “necessary to maintain production and discipline.” The very next day, the Board adopted a final version of its quickie election rules, which are scheduled to take effect on April 14, 2015, pending any legal challenges. These are not the only recent actions of interest to employers and labor practitioners. Amid post-election budget wrangling and the Board’s busy month, the Senate approved the nomination of a new Democratic appointee to the Board, and the Department of Labor (DOL) provided more guidance on persuader rules and union annual reports, potentially putting a final point on two long-running contentious issues.

Two big sexual harassment cases: where the employers went wrong

Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLP • January 23, 2015
As an employer, what can you do to protect yourself when one employee claims severe sexual harassment and the other party denies it or claims it was all consensual?

The Immigration State of the Union: Obama Declares "We've Got a System to Fix"

Ogletree Deakins • January 23, 2015
On January 20, 2015, President Obama addressed the nation in the annual State of the Union address. Among the many topics that the president touched upon in his speech was immigration. After more sweeping immigration reform bills died in the U.S. House of Representatives last year, the president vowed to use his executive authority to fix elements of the broken immigration system. In November of 2014, after the mid-term elections gave control of both houses of Congress to the Republicans, the president announced he would issue executive orders addressing immigration issues, including the undocumented immigrant population and the business immigration system. One of the first bills passed by the House in 2015 included provisions that would defund those executive actions. While the Republican-controlled Senate plans to try to pass the House bill in order to move it to the president’s desk, its prospects for overcoming the 60-vote threshold necessary to cut off debate seem slim.

Amendments to New York's Wage Theft Prevention Act: A Double-Edged Sword for Employers

FordHarrison LLP • January 23, 2015
Executive Summary: On December 29, 2014, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law that amends the New York Wage Theft Prevention Act (the "Act"). While the amendments relieve New York employers from some administrative burdens, that is where the good news ends for employers.

New York State Eliminates Annual Wage Notice

Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP • January 23, 2015
On Dec. 29, 2014, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill that amends the New York State Wage Theft Prevention Act (the “Wage Theft Act”) in various aspects, including eliminating the annual wage notices that employers were previously required to provide to employees in January each year. Employers must still provide employees with the wage theft notice at the time of hire and when information in the notice changes. Although the amendments will not go into effect until Feb. 27, 2015, the New York State Department of Labor (“DOL”) has announced it will not be enforcing the annual notice requirement for 2015. Accordingly, employers will not be required to distribute annual wage notices to employees this year.

California Supreme Court Decision Barring Waiver of Representative Claims is Left Intact by U.S. Supreme Court

Jackson Lewis P.C. • January 23, 2015
The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review the California Supreme Court’s decision that representative claims under the California Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) cannot be waived in employment arbitration agreements. Iskanian v. CLS Transp. Los Angeles, LLC, 59 Cal. 4th 348 (Cal. 2014), cert. denied, No. 14-341 (U.S. Jan. 20, 2015).
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