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.
Articles on U.S. Labor, Employment, Benefits & Immigration Law
Q: Is an Employer Liable for Overtime Pay and similar damages for an FMLA Violation?
While we generally look at overtime as a “wage and hour” issue, I am once again reminded of how overtime is connected to other employment statutes.
In light of the EEOC’s litigation over automatic termination provisions under the ADA (we’ve beaten you over the head with it here and here),
When an employee takes FMLA leave, is an employer obligated to adjust its performance standards so as to avoid penalizing the employee? According to a recent federal court decision, the answer is Yes. And failing to do so sets the employer up for an FMLA interference claim.
The OFCCP recently published two notices announcing the rescission of certain agency directives that either contain outdated information or address issues that are addressed in other agency materials.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The OFCCP has been reviewing agency directives since December 2011 to determine whether they should remain active or be rescinded.
Carrier Corp. had enough of its employees abusing FMLA leave, so it played the ultimate trump card — the Company hired a private investigator to conduct surveillance on 35 employees who were suspected FMLA abusers. One of the 35 was Daryl Scruggs, who served as a brazier (one who torches parts into fan coils) for the Company.
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).
I read this morning that there have been 7,064 lawsuits filed under the Fair Labor Standards Act so far this year. I believe this is a record for wage and hour violation claims and the year is only half over. This is also nearly sixty more FLSA lawsuits than was filed in all of 2011 and more than double the amount of cases filed ten or twelve years ago. The Department of Labor’s wage and hour division alone has collected a record $224 million from employers over the last fiscal year, and is continuing its campaign against misclassification of employees, including its cooperation with other federal and state agencies in going after employers who misclassify workers. In other words, this issue is not going away for employers.
The scenario is all too common: An employee takes and exhausts 12 weeks of FMLA leave and still cannot return to work. At this point, the employer is left with a dilemma — does it terminate employment because the employee cannot immediately return to work, or does it consider approving more leave than the 12 weeks provided for under the Family and Medical Leave Act? This series of events is a regular trap for employers and, often enough, an employer gets ensnared in the trap without first analyzing its obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
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.
There are a number of discussions happening lately about updating handbook provisions and social media policies to ward off a suddenly over-zealous National Labor Relations Board. And this advice certainly is well taken.
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.
Remember a few months back when I warned employers to be wary of eliminating the position of an employee who days earlier requested several weeks off for surgery?
Most regular readers of this blog will be familiar with the most common exemptions to the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act, those being the “white collar” exemptions for executive, administrative, and professional employees. However, the FLSA also contains a number of less well-known exemptions covering specific establishments or industries. In this post, we take a look at the exemption for seasonal amusement and recreational establishments.