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2019 Social Security Taxable Wage Base Marks Notable 3.5% Increase

XpertHR • October 17, 2018
The Social Security taxable wage base - the ceiling on the 6.2% Social Security portion of FICA taxes - will be $132,900 in 2019. This represents a 3.5% increase over the 2018 taxable wage base of $128,400, and is one of the larger percentage increases in several years.

DOL Delays Overtime and Tip Credit Rules, Plans Joint Employment Rule

XpertHR • October 17, 2018
The latest regulatory agenda from US Department of Labor (DOL) outlines the agency's plans for rulemaking that will affect employers across the nation. Among the most notable developments are:

Unlimited Vacation Time Presents Pros and Cons for Employers

XpertHR • October 17, 2018
How sweet do the words “unlimited vacation” sound? Wouldn’t an organization that offers such a benefit be considered a progressive employer that must have the best and brightest candidates clamoring at its doorstep? The answer is more of a maybe than you would think.

USCIS Will Begin Accepting Cap-Subject H-1B Petitions for Fiscal Year 2020 on April 1, 2019

Ogletree Deakins • October 17, 2018
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept new H-1B petitions subject to the annual quota for fiscal year 2020 (FY 2020) starting April 1, 2019. Employers should identify any current or future employees who may require new H-1B visas to work in the United States. Individuals currently holding F-1 student visas, individuals seeking to change to H-1B status from another visa status (such as L-1, TN, O-1, or E-3), and individuals outside the United States likely will require cap-subject H-1B petitions to be filed on their behalf.

Arbitration Agreements for Independent Contractors in the Transportation Industry Under Fire

Ogletree Deakins • October 17, 2018
The oral arguments on October 3, 2018, before the Supreme Court of the United States in New Prime, Inc. v. Oliveira have created waves of uncertainty in the transportation industry about the enforceability of arbitration agreements. The question before the Court is whether the Federal Arbitration Act’s (FAA) requirement that courts enforce arbitration agreements applies to the huge contingent of independent contractors working in the transportation industry. Specifically, while the FAA has an exemption for “contracts of employment” for “workers” in the transportation industry, there is a dispute as to whether this exemption is limited to employees or is intended to encompass independent contractors as well.

Is OSHA Backtracking on the Anti-Retaliation Provisions in the Recordkeeping Regulation?

Ogletree Deakins • October 17, 2018
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) added an anti-retaliation provision to the recordkeeping regulation finalized in May 2016, and it seems as if the workplace safety and health community has not stopped talking about it since. The impact of the provision on safety incentive programs and post-accident drug testing has been a particular focus of this conversation.

Eleventh Circuit Limits OSHA’s Ability to Use OSHA Form 300 Logs to Obtain an Inspection Search Warrant

Ogletree Deakins • October 17, 2018
On October 9, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit upheld a district court’s order quashing an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspection warrant. OSHA unsuccessfully challenged the district court’s finding that the agency lacked administrative probable cause based on injuries noted on a company’s OSHA Form 300 logs. While the decision is unpublished, its sound reasoning may impair OSHA’s ability to rely upon 300 logs as the basis for obtaining an administrative search warrant. United States v. Mar-Jac Poultry, Inc., No. 16-17745.

Labor Department Will Tackle Joint Employment And Overtime Issues…But When?

Fisher Phillips • October 17, 2018
Right after the clock struck midnight this morning, the U.S. Department of Labor unveiled its new regulatory agenda for Fall 2018 and announced its intention to soon tackle two of the hottest topics in the labor and employment world: joint employment and overtime pay. But employers can be forgiven if they approach this announcement with some degree of skepticism, as the USDOL has missed previous target dates—at least when it comes to the long-delayed overtime rule. What does this latest development mean for employers, and when can you expect to see some tangible results?

Appeals Court Clamps Down On OSHA Investigations

Fisher Phillips • October 17, 2018
In a significant victory for employers, a federal appeals court recently limited OSHA’s ability to expand accident investigations beyond their original and intended scope. The 11th Circuit’s decision in United States v. Mar-Jac Poultry, Inc. will immediately aid those employers with operations in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama, but could also be of benefit to employers across the country. What do you need to know about the October 9 decision?

OSHA's Site Specific Targeting Plans are Back and Based on E-reporting!

Fisher Phillips • October 17, 2018
OSHA issued a new Site Specific Targeting (SST) Plan effective October 16, 2018. Unlike prior versions, this new SST Plan utilizes the 2016 300A data that many employers electronically submitted in December 2017. The new SST Plan is, therefore, dubbed the SST-16.

In Today’s Gig Economy, Are Dealerships Classifying Dealer-Trade Drivers Correctly?

Fisher Phillips • October 17, 2018
The term gig economy is not just one you hear millennials use; it’s a continuously growing workforce of independent contractors who value flexibility over what used to be referred to as a steady job.

New OSHA Guidance: Certain Safety Incentive Programs, Post-Accident Drug Tests Permissible

Jackson Lewis P.C. • October 17, 2018
Most safety incentive programs and post-incident drug testing policies will not be considered retaliatory and unlawful under a new Standard Interpretation from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Supreme Court Changes The FLSA Exemption Review Standard To Favor Employers!

Brody and Associates, LLC • October 17, 2018
In April, the United States Supreme Court ruled employees at a California auto dealership, Encino Motorcars, LLC, who advise customers about repair work fall under a Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) exemption that excludes “any salesman, partsman, or mechanic primarily engaged in selling or servicing automobiles.” This means these auto service providers are exempt from overtime pay requirements on the federal level.

New CA Case Confirms: No Absolute Rule to Permit Leave to Amend to Substitute Class Representative If Named Plaintiff Is Found Inadequate

Jackson Lewis P.C. • October 17, 2018
In Jones v. Farmers Ins. Exchange (2013) 221 Cal.App.4th 986 (“Jones”), the California Court of Appeal held that “[t]he lack of an adequate class representative … does not justify the denial of the certification motion. Instead, the trial court must allow Plaintiff[[] an opportunity to amend [his] complaint to name a suitable class representative. [Citation & fn. omitted.] The court should then grant the certification motion if it approves a class representative.” Id. at 999.

Illinois Joins Growing List of States Mandating Employee Business Expense Reimbursement

Jackson Lewis P.C. • October 17, 2018
An amendment to the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act (IWPCA) imposing an affirmative duty on employers to reimburse employees for certain expenses incurred during their employment will go into effect on January 1, 2019.

Non-Compete News: In Georgia, Whether It Is a Non-Compete or a Non-Solicit Makes All the Difference

FordHarrison LLP • October 17, 2018
Georgia’s Restrictive Covenants Act (the “RCA”) became effective in May 2011, but it took nearly six years before a court published a decision interpreting the statute in the context of a non-competition provision (See our previous legal alert regarding the first published decision). Therefore, companies deciding whether to use or enforce a non-compete agreement have little guidance regarding how courts will interpret such agreements under the law.
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