Mandated Paid Safe Days

Protect employees

There are many unanticipated, unfair reasons why employees miss work and suffer lost pay, lost opportunities, and even disciplinary action. There are an equal number of emotionally compelling reasons to protect employees in these instances. But does that mean employers should be required to provide protection? In the cases of serious health conditions for immediate family members, employee disabilities, and society’s military needs, for example, the question has been answered in the affirmative. We have national laws (and in many instances state laws) to address these situations. But what about…

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An Example of Administrative Exemption Error

Administrative Exemption

A few posts below, we discussed employer’s periodic over-reliance on the overtime exemption for administrative employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act. As noted, among the four primary exemptions under that act, we have found that employers most frequently misapply this exemption. A recent federal appeals court decision highlights this point. In Whalen v. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that a loan underwriter at J. P. Morgan Chase was not exempt from overtime entitlement under the administrative exemption. J.P. Morgan…

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The Military Spouse’s Residency Relief Act

Military Spouses

The new Military Spouse’s Residency Relief Act may raise questions for many employers about the tax treatment of wages for the spouses of active duty military personnel. The MSRRA could have a particularly notable impact in military heavy states like Virginia. In short, the MSRRA exempts from state income tax the wages of the spouses of military personnel who move into a state to be with their service member spouse, even if that state otherwise would impose an income tax on the employee. The wages the employee earns will be…

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Gender Explicit Language Is Enough for Hostile Environment Case

Women-and-sexual-harassment-at-the-workplace

The Eleventh U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in Reeves v. C. H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc., recently gave the go-ahead for a woman’s hostile work environment claim based on the pervasive use of sexually explicit language in the workplace. Of particular interest in the case, the offensive language was not directed at the claimant. The claimant worked as a transportation sales representative for a shipping company. She was the only woman working in the sales area with six male co-workers. The work spaces were open cubicles. The sales workers could…

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Meal Break Risks Under Federal Wage Laws

Wages Law

Missed meal breaks in the workplace are coming under increasing legal scrutiny. To be clear, an employee has no absolute entitlement to a meal break under federal wage laws (although this may be different under some state laws). But, if an employee is given a meal break period, either the employee must be completely relieved from his or her duties for more than twenty minutes, or the employee must be paid for the break time. In many instances, employers unintentionally fail to pay employees for compensable meal breaks. In this…

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Thompson v. North American Stainless, LP: Title VII’s Retaliation Protections Extend to Third Parties

Supreme Court of the United States

On January 24, 2011, the Supreme Court of the United States unanimously extended Title VII’s protections to an individual who was terminated after his fiancee filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Office. The facts of the case are relatively straight forward. Until 2003, both petitioner Eric Thompson and his fiancee, Miriam Regalado, were employees of respondent North American Stainless (NAS). In February 2003, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) notified NAS that Regalado had filed a charge alleging sex discrimination. Three weeks later, NAS fired Thompson.…

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New Posting Requirement For Federal Contractors

Government Contract

The U.S. Department of Labor has issued a final rule specifying the contents of a new required notice for federal contractor and subcontractor employees. The notice, to be titled “Notification of Employee Rights Under Federal Labor Laws,” is intended to advise employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act. The details of the notice are prescribed by the DOL. Among other things, contractors are required to advise employees specifically that they have the right to “organize a union to negotiate” with their employer, to “form, join or assist…

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