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

Classifying Employees as Exempt from Overtime May Become a Lot More Costly

Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP • July 07, 2015
This week, the Department of Labor announced proposed changes to the white-collar overtime exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"). If enacted, these changes will significantly impact employers. To qualify as exempt from overtime under federal law, employees currently must be paid a salary of at least $455 per week ($23,660 per year) and their "primary duty" must be executive, professional, or administrative -- as those terms are defined under federal law.

If You Can't Fire A Teacher For Criticizing Management, Who Can You Fire?

Fisher & Phillips LLP • July 06, 2015
Most school administrators would be shocked to learn that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) could, in some circumstances, find that their school engaged in an unfair labor practice for disciplining or terminating an employee who criticizes management. A recent New York case provides a perfect example.

The Increased Cost of Tax (Non) Compliance and the New Trade Preferences Extension Act

Ogletree Deakins • July 06, 2015
On June 29, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015. Neatly tucked away in the “Offsets” provision of the Act are sizeable increases in the dollar amounts of the penalties under Internal Revenue Code sections 6721 and 6722. The new provisions apply to information returns and statements required to be filed after December 31, 2015 (i.e., returns for payments made this year)—so the cost for failing to file or filing incorrectly just got more expensive.

July 1 Brings New Employment Law Requirements

XpertHR • July 06, 2015
Many new employment laws took effect on July 1, 2015. The laws range from Mississippi's new texting while driving law to the new OSHA HazCom requirements affecting manufacturer labels. An employer needs to check the new laws in its state and ensure that it is following any changed compliance requirements.

Recent H-2B Program Changes Require Careful Planning by Employers

Franczek Radelet P.C • July 06, 2015
The H-2B program provides visas for temporary, non-agricultural positions to foreign nationals in the United States. Traditionally, employers have used the H-2B program to fill positions whose temporariness can be demonstrated either because the employer has an “intermittent,” “seasonal,” “one-time occurrence,” or “peakload” need. Many industries with temporary needs, including construction, gardening, coaching, and tourism are heavily dependent upon H-2B workers.

OSHA Adopts Expanded Enforcement against Hospitals, Nursing Homes, and Residential Care Facilities

Jackson Lewis P.C. • July 06, 2015
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has announced a new and stricter enforcement policy for the healthcare industry, promising to crack down on the most common hazards in hospitals, nursing homes, and residential care facilities. The new federal enforcement policy, which OSHA expects states to adopt, as well, requires that OSHA inspections in these healthcare facilities focus on at least five major hazard areas, regardless of the original reason for the inspection.

EEOC’s revised pregnancy guidance: Now, just barely more flexible!

Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP • July 06, 2015
Hey, EEOC, there’s this newfangled technique known as “track changes.” Look into it!

NLRB Reverses Precedent; Allows Unions Easy Access to Employee Witness Statements

Franczek Radelet P.C • July 06, 2015
For nearly 40 years, the National Labor Relations Board has followed a bright-line rule pursuant to which an employer is privileged to withhold witness statements from unions. In its 1978 Anheuser-Busch Inc. decision, the Board held that an employer’s general duty under federal labor law to provide information to a union “does not encompass the duty to furnish witness statements themselves.” Late last month, however, in American Baptist Homes of the West, d/b/a Piedmont Gardens, the Board reversed itself and ruled that, going forward, it will apply a balancing test to union requests for witness statements and will require disclosure upon request unless the employer can establish “legitimate and substantial confidentiality interests.”

Electronic Devices At School: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Fisher & Phillips LLP • July 06, 2015
The reality of life for most employees is that most of them cannot make it through an hour, much less a full school or business day, without checking their smartphones, tablet computers, laptops, and other electronic devices. Some schools have sought to manage the chaos by implementing “bring your own device (BYOD)” policies.

U.S. Supreme Court Holds Premium Tax Credits Available on All Exchanges — Key Group Health Plan Action Items

Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP • July 06, 2015
On June 25, 2015, Chief Justice John Roberts announced the U.S. Supreme Court’s second decision to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). In King v. Burwell, a 6-3 decision, the Court ruled that the premium tax credits created by the ACA are available to all qualifying individuals who purchase coverage on an Exchange, regardless of whether the Exchange was created by a state or the federal government. At issue in the case was language in the ACA that, on its face, could be read to provide that these premium tax credits would be available only to qualifying individuals who purchase coverage on an Exchange “established by the State” — thereby foreclosing such credits to individuals who reside in states that chose not to establish their own Exchanges and instead relied on the federal government to establish Exchanges within their borders. This Alert reviews the decision and offers action items that group health plans need to consider.