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2018 Social Security Taxable Wage Base Inches Up, Benefit COLAs Up More

XpertHR • October 19, 2017
The Social Security Administration has issued inflation-adjusted figures for 2018, including the Social Security taxable wage base, the earnings tests for retirees who return to work, and the Social Security benefits quarter-of-coverage requirement and cost of living adjustment (COLA). Employers should update their payroll systems with these new figures for accurate 2018 withholding.

Acosta and Lipnic Share DOL and EEOC Priorities

XpertHR • October 19, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC - The priority for the US Department of Labor (DOL) is "jobs, jobs and even more jobs," Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta told an assembly of in-house counsel today. Also addressing the group, the acting chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Commissioner Victoria Lipnic, said the EEOC needs to change course on pursuing systemic lawsuits and touted the agency's success in reducing its backlog of charges.

Third Travel Ban Blocked by Court

Jackson Lewis P.C. • October 19, 2017
On the eve of its taking effect, President Donald Trump’s third attempt at a travel ban has been blocked by the District Court in Hawaii.

Harvey Weinstein and Top Sexual Harassment Mistakes Employers Make

XpertHR • October 19, 2017
As the Harvey Weinstein scandal continues to unfold, it is a virtual playbook on mistakes employers can make when it comes to sexual harassment in the workplace.

Intern or Employee? When “Take Your Children to Work” Day Backfires

Jackson Lewis P.C. • October 19, 2017
In late April each year, tens of millions of employees and millions of employers participate in Take Your Sons and Daughters to Work Day

Does the PDA Protect Nursing Mothers From Workplace Bias? 11th Circuit Says Yes

Ogletree Deakins • October 19, 2017
Does Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) protect nursing mothers against post-pregnancy workplace discrimination? One federal court—the Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeals—recently gave a resounding “yes” to that question. With its decision, the Eleventh Circuit became the second federal appellate court to answer that question in the affirmative, with the Fifth Circuit having done so in 2013. Hicks v. City of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, No. 16-13003 (September 7, 2017).

Is the New Moral Exemption From ACA Contraceptive Coverage a Game Changer?

Ogletree Deakins • October 19, 2017
Any privately held, for-profit company could potentially be exempt from the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) requirement to provide comprehensive contraceptive coverage without cost-sharing based on the company’s “sincerely held moral convictions,” under interim final regulations published in the Federal Register on October 13, 2017.

Ninety Seconds Is Not Enough: Third Circuit Rules That Break Policy Violates the FLSA

Ogletree Deakins • October 19, 2017
In Secretary United States Department of Labor v. American Future Systems, Inc., No. 16-2685 (October 13, 2017), the Third Circuit Court of Appeals considered whether an employer’s failure to compensate employees for periods of 20 minutes or less time when they were relieved of all work-related duties violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Third Circuit held that the FLSA requires employers to compensate employees for breaks of 20 minutes or less, and rejected the employer’s contention that under the employer’s “flexible time” policy, such non-work periods did not constitute breaks within the meaning of the law.

What Behavioral Psychology Has to Do With Union Avoidance: Reflections From a Labor Lawyer

Ogletree Deakins • October 19, 2017
As a traditional labor lawyer, I spend a great deal of time traveling the country to assist clients, and I spend a lot of that time in airports and on airplanes reading. On a recent trip, I read The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis, which discusses the research two psychologists conducted on the psychology of decision-making. The research, which concluded that people often err when making decisions despite access to information that should help them, got me thinking about how employees act in the face of union campaigns.

The Future is Freelance

Fisher Phillips • October 19, 2017
Yesterday, Upwork and the Freelancers Union published the results of Freelancing in America: 2017, a comprehensive annual measure of the U.S. independent workforce. The report’s findings are wide-ranging, from the number of people who freelance (57.3 million), to the annual contribution of freelance earnings to the economy ($1.4 trillion), to the generation with the highest percentage of freelance workers (no surprise: Millennials at 47%).

Are You Doing Enough to Protect Your Company's Secrets?

Fisher Phillips • October 19, 2017
A decade ago, I litigated a trade secret/unfair competition dispute between two large plastics manufacturers. The Plaintiff was based in southwest Florida, the Defendant in southern Alabama. The factual dispute is interesting, though not necessarily particularly pertinent to the subject I want to address in this post.

When You Don't Train Your Managers About the FMLA, You're Begging for This Kind of Smackdown

Franczek Radelet P.C • October 19, 2017
When a manager learns that one of his employees is in the hospital for several days, that’s almost always enough information for the employer to have an inkling that the employee may need FMLA leave.

Getting Ahead of the Curve: How the Use of AI in HR Benefits Employers and Candidates

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • October 19, 2017
Dr. Zev Eigen, Global Director of Data Analytics with Littler, hosts Athena Karp, CEO and founder of HiredScore, for this next installment of the Big Data Initiative Podcast series.

Are Your Compliance Training Efforts Keeping Pace With Industry Standards?

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • October 19, 2017
As 2017 winds down, and the window closes to complete any mandatory training, Kevin O’Neill, Senior Director of Littler Learning Group, chats with Dawn McKenney-Maxwell of Littler’s Knowledge Management team about employer training initiatives. Kevin identifies hot topics – social media and bystander training, for example – and reviews employer anti-harassment training duties, particularly in California. Kevin discusses how training approaches continue to evolve and how employers can embrace new trends and technology to make employee training more effective.

Top Five Labor Law Developments for September 2017

Jackson Lewis P.C. • October 19, 2017
An employer violated the National Labor Relations Act when it discharged an employee who protested an unlawful confidentiality policy, even though the employee protested without the involvement of any coworkers, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has held.

Iowa Waives Appeal of $2.2 million Verdict In Favor of Settlement

Jackson Lewis P.C. • October 19, 2017
On August 24, 2017 we reported that former communications director for the Iowa Senate Republican Caucus, Kristen Anderson, was awarded $2.2 million in damages by a jury that found Anderson had been fired in retaliation for complaining about sexual harassment and a hostile work environment.

California Bans Salary History Questions, Restricts Criminal History Inquiries

XpertHR • October 19, 2017
California Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law two measures that restrict employers from asking job applicants about salary and criminal history. Both laws are effective January 1, 2018.

Construction One-Minute Read: California Officials Put Additional Pressure on General Contractors to Prevent Wage Theft

Ogletree Deakins • October 19, 2017
General contractors’ top priorities on a construction project are completing the work on time, completing the work within budget, and guarding against future construction defect claims. New and pending laws in California, however, have added one more item to that list: serving as guarantor for the wages and fringe benefits owed not only to their employees but to each of its subcontractor’s employees as well.

Florida’s Minimum Wage to Increase on January 1, 2018

Ogletree Deakins • October 19, 2017
Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment that created Florida’s minimum wage in November of 2004. The minimum wage applies to all employees in the state covered by the federal minimum wage. Florida law requires a new minimum wage calculation each year on September 30, based on the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in the South Region for the 12-month period prior to September 1. If that calculation is higher than the federal rate, the state’s rate takes effect the following January.

California Expands Harassment Training Requirements

Ogletree Deakins • October 19, 2017
On October 15, 2017, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill (SB) 396 into law. California employers with 50 or more employees currently must provide two hours of sexual harassment training for supervisors every two years. This legislation expands the subjects that the mandatory supervisor training must include.

How to Comply With California’s New Requirement to Provide Anti-Harassment Training on Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sexual Orientation

Ogletree Deakins • October 19, 2017
On October 15, 2017, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 396, a new law that requires employers in California with 50 or more employees to provide training on policies that prohibit harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. This training is to be provided as a component of the already-required two-hour sexual harassment training provided to supervisory employees once every two years and within six months of an employee’s assumption of a supervisory position.

NYC Commission on Human Rights Releases FAQs on Salary History Law in Advance of October 31 Effective Date

Ogletree Deakins • October 19, 2017
As we previously reported in April of 2017 and May of 2017, New York City employers may want to prepare for the New York City salary history law, which will go into effect on October 31, 2017.

California Governor Signs Ban the Box Law to Go Into Effect in the New Year

Ogletree Deakins • October 19, 2017
On October 14, 2017, the governor of California signed a statewide ban-the-box law that goes into effect on January 1, 2018. For California individuals, the law places statewide limitations on most pre-conditional offer inquiries into an applicant’s criminal history; prohibits the consideration of certain criminal history information, at all times; and creates a robust pre-adverse and adverse action process.

Employers Helping Employees—Are Disaster Relief Payments and Loans Exempt From Puerto Rico Income Tax?

Ogletree Deakins • October 19, 2017
With the havoc wrought by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, employers are exploring options to provide emergency relief to those employees who have encountered financial hardship to meet their necessities and repair their homes in the wake of the disaster. Occasionally, aid from employers to employees comes in the form of disaster-relief monetary payments and interest-free loans. In light of the state of emergency in Puerto Rico declared by local authorities, on October 4, 2017, the Puerto Rico Department of Treasury released Administrative Determination No. 17-21 (AD 17-21), which provides necessary and well-timed guidance on the taxation of this type of assistance.

Kentucky's Electronic Recordkeeping Rule Is In Effect!

Fisher Phillips • October 19, 2017
The December 1 compliance date for federal OSHA’s new electronic recordkeeping portion of the new recordkeeping regulation is fast approaching. Known as “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses,” the new federal OSHA rule will require certain employers with more than 20 employees to electronically submit injury records that will be posted on OSHA’s website.

Georgia Court of Appeals Confirms Non-Solicitation of Employees Covenant Need Not Have Geographic or Material Contact Language

Jackson Lewis P.C. • October 19, 2017
As previously noted in Jackson Lewis’ Non-Compete & Trade Secrets Report, Georgia adopted legislation governing restrictive covenant agreements entered into on or after May 11, 2011.

Puerto Rico Secretary of Labor Issues Opinion Regarding Employee Compensation Following Hurricanes Irma and María

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • October 19, 2017
On October 17, 2017, the Puerto Rico Secretary of Labor and Human Resources (Secretary) issued Opinion No. 2017-001 (Opinion) regarding the compensation of exempt and non-exempt private sector employees for workdays interrupted by Hurricanes Irma and María and their aftermath.

New York City Council Expands Earned Sick Time Law to Include Safe Time

Jackson Lewis P.C. • October 19, 2017
New York City’s Earned Sick Time Act (also known as the Paid Sick Leave Law) will require employers to allow employees to use paid time off for “Safe Time” under an amendment (Int. 1313-A) passed by the New York City Council on October 17, 2017. Under the revised law (the “Earned Safe and Sick Time Act”), employers will be required to provide paid time off for hours taken in connection with family offense matters, sexual offenses, stalking, and human trafficking.
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