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ten most recent federal employment law articles Ten Most Recent Federal Articles

Florida Federal Court Provides Path for Employer Recovery of Attorney’s Fees in FLSA Cases

Jackson Lewis P.C. • April 26, 2018
In most lawsuits filed under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), an employer’s ability to recover any attorney’s fees under the prevailing standard – that a plaintiff filed the case in “bad faith, vexatiously or wantonly” – is much too difficult to satisfy. A recent decision from the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, however, provides an avenue for recovery of such fees – at least in part. Aralar v. Scott-McRae Automotive Group, LLLP, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64045 (M.D. Fla. Apr. 17, 2018).

NIST Releases Updated Version of Its Cybersecurity Framework

Jackson Lewis P.C. • April 26, 2018
On April 17th, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”), a component of the U.S. Commerce Department, released Version 1.1 of the Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity (“Cybersecurity Framework Version 1.1”), which incorporates feedback from NIST-led workshops, public comments, and questions received by NIST team members over the last two years.

Department Of Justice Fires Warning Shot Over Unlawful No-Poach Agreements

Jackson Lewis P.C. • April 26, 2018
On April 3, 2018, the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division settled an antitrust action against the world’s two largest rail equipment suppliers, accusing them of maintaining “naked” no-poaching agreements in violation of the Sherman Act (see Complaint and Consent Decree).

USCIS New Policy Shuts Down STEM OPT Training at Third Party Sites

Ogletree Deakins • April 26, 2018
The extension of the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program for international students with degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) allows eligible students to apply to extend their post-completion OPT authorization. Under the 2008 interim final rule, an F-1 student with a STEM degree from a U.S. institution of higher education could apply for an additional 17 months of OPT (per the 17-month STEM OPT extension), provided that the employer from which the student sought employment was enrolled in and remained in good standing in the E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification program, as determined by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Recent Survey Sheds Additional Light on the Gig Economy

Fisher Phillips • April 25, 2018
The gig economy continues to be a popular topic of discussion—for policymakers, politicians, lawyers, the media, and others. However, getting a good handle on the scope of the gig economy can be difficult at best. Traditional labor market data has not kept pace with new trends in the economy. As a result, getting good, hard demographic data can be challenging.

Administration Pushes to Add Extreme Vetting to All Nonimmigrant Visa Applications

Jackson Lewis P.C. • April 25, 2018
Proposed changes to Form DS-160 would include aspects of “extreme vetting” in all nonimmigrant visa applications. The public has until May 29, 2018, to submit comments to the Trump Administration proposal.

What Is OSHA? When Might OSHA Pay a Visit? And What Is at Stake for Employers?

Ogletree Deakins • April 25, 2018
The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) authorizes the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Department of Labor to conduct inspections at worksites within its jurisdiction to enforce the safety and health laws promulgated pursuant to the OSH Act. With the U.S. Senate still not confirming President Trump’s nomination of Scott Mugno as the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, we do not yet know the future direction of OSHA’s enforcement strategy. Thus, for now, it is best to assume no change in direction.

Frustrated, Angry, or Discouraged? Tips for How to Treat Former Employees’ “Vent Letters”

Ogletree Deakins • April 25, 2018
Sometimes departing employees are more comfortable expressing their concerns in writing rather than communicating them verbally. These written messages may take the form of what’s often called a “vent letter,” which could range from an informal email to something that looks more like a formal complaint. Employers and human resources (HR) professionals are tasked with appropriately addressing such communications. Here are some tips and answers to commonly asked questions about vent letters.

Dear Littler: How Should We Approach an Employee Showing Signs of Cognitive Decline?

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • April 24, 2018
Dear Littler: We have an employee who is exhibiting signs of dementia or some other sort of cognitive impairment. He has fallen asleep at work a few times recently and seems confused by tasks that did not pose any problem for him in the past. His performance was solid for years but started declining in the past several months, along with his attention to detail. How do we handle our concerns about his well-being and performance? Should we ask him what’s going on with his health?

eLABORate: Fifth Circuit Rules That Threat of Workplace Violence Trumps FMLA Retaliation Claim

Phelps Dunbar LLP • April 24, 2018
An alleged threat by a former Southwest Airlines employee, “that he wished he could order a black trench coat so that he could bring his shotgun to work,” was enough to derail the claim that his employer terminated him in retaliation for taking intermittent leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). In affirming the District Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Southwest, the April 18, 2018 opinion by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit agreed the airline had established a legitimate non-discriminatory reason for discharging the employee, and that he had failed to prove that the reason was pretextual or false.