As election time draws near, employers must be prepared to deal with numerous workplace issues that can arise from political discussions and campaigning in the workplace. With controversial issues such as race, immigration, family values, national security and the economy on the political forefront, friendly workplace banter can quickly devolve into contentious disputes. Employers need to be aware of their legal rights and obligations in addressing political discussions and activities in the workplace, as well as the practical impact of their actions.
The OFCCP recently published two notices announcing the rescission of certain agency directives that either contain outdated information or address issues that are addressed in other agency materials. The OFCCP maintains a Directive System as one means of distributing guidance to its staff members and to the public. The OFCCP has been reviewing agency directives since December 2011 to determine whether they should remain active or be rescinded.
Executive Summary: In a 2-1 decision, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) held that an employer’s efforts to protect the integrity of its internal investigations by instructing employees involved in the investigations not to discuss the matter with co-workers violates the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). See Banner Health System, Case 28–CA–023438 (July 30, 2012).
Executive Summary: Illinois has joined a growing trend to protect workers from employers who want access to their Facebook or other social networking accounts. On August 1, 2012, Governor Quinn signed into law an amendment to the Illinois Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act.
Executive Summary: The California Court of Appeal recently affirmed an award of over $400,000 in attorneys’ fees in favor of a group of ex-employees in a trade secret misappropriation lawsuit filed by their former employer, finding that the lawsuit was filed in bad faith. This decision highlights the importance of considering carefully whether to bring a misappropriation claim where there is little or no evidence of actual misappropriation. See SASCO v. Rosendin Electric, Inc.
Executive Summary: The Eleventh Circuit recently addressed one of the most confusing questions surrounding Georgia’s new Restrictive Covenant Act (RCA): did the law become effective on November 3, 2011, as the General Assembly intended, or did it become effective May 11, 2011, when the legislature reenacted the statute? In answer to this question, the Eleventh Circuit held unequivocally that the new law did not become effective until May 11, 2011. Accordingly, Georgia’s pre-existing law governing restrictive covenants applies to all non-compete agreements signed during the “gap period” between November 3, 2010 and May 11, 2011.
Several bills are pending before the New Jersey legislature that, if enacted, could significantly impact New Jersey employers. This Alert highlights some of the more significant bills.
Executive Summary: On July 9, 2012, a federal appeals court in Georgia affirmed the dismissal of DHL Express, Inc., from a lawsuit brought by a class of current and former delivery drivers alleging overtime violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). According to the court, an assessment of the economic realities of the case did not reveal an employment relationship between DHL and the drivers.
Executive Summary: The Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan, is used to report information concerning employee benefit plans and must be filed by the last day of the 7th calendar month after the end of the plan year, which is July 31, 2012 for calendar year plans.
The Revenue Ruling discusses the assessment of employer FICA taxes on tips, including the application of section 3121(q) of the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”) and the application of the credit allowed under section 45B of the Code, but warns that it is first necessary to determine whether a payment is actually a “tip” for these purposes, noting that it makes no difference what the payment might be called. Even though described as a “tip,” a payment that constitutes a “service charge” is wages, and is subject to withholding and reporting as such.
Executive Summary: A federal trial court in New Jersey has dismissed a lawsuit brought under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by a group of drivers against a trucking company, holding that the drivers are not employees but independent contractors. Luxama v. Ironbound Express, Inc. et al., Civil Action No. 2:11-cv-02224 (D.N.J. June 28, 2012).
Today, in a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate provision of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) as a valid tax, imposed within Congress’ taxing power. See Nat’l Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius (No. 11-393, June 28, 2012). The Court held that the individual mandate (which requires most Americans to purchase insurance or face an IRS tax) is not a penalty because the only consequence of not complying with the mandate is the requirement to pay the tax. Although the Court also held that Congress exceeded the power granted to it under the Commerce Clause when it enacted the individual mandate, the provision is nevertheless valid under Congress’ taxing authority. The Court also held that the Anti-Injunction Act does not preclude the Court from ruling on the issue because the PPACA does not require that the penalty for failing to comply with the individual mandate be treated as a tax for the purposes of the Anti-Injunction Act. Chief Justice Roberts authored the majority opinion.
The key takeaway for employers from the Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday on Arizona’s controversial Senate Bill (SB) 1070 law is that states cannot make criminals out of those in their jurisdiction who work or seek employment while unlawfully in the United States. The 5-3 decision, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, held that Congress already has “decided it would be inappropriate to impose criminal penalties on aliens who seek or engage in unauthorized employment.” Thus, Section 5 of SB 1070, the only provision dealing directly with the employment of undocumented aliens, will never go into effect.
The Obama Administration chose to offer immigration protection to younger undocumented immigrants through the “Deferred Action Process for Young People” program. What could this potentially mean for your company?
Calling the SEIU’s “aggressive use of power to collect fees from nonmembers indefensible,” the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 7-2 decision, has held that the union violated the First Amendment by not sending a new Hudson notice when it levied a special assessment to meet expenses that were not disclosed when the amount of the regular assessment was set.