Medical care providers have been experiencing an uptick in Fair Labor Standards Act lawsuits based on automatically deducted meal periods. Recently, a nurse filed a collective action lawsuit against St. Luke’s Health System Corporation and various affiliates, claiming that they failed to pay nurses for work performed during meal breaks. Specifically, the nurse alleges that St. Luke’s automatically deducts 30 minutes from each shift for meal periods, assuming that its nurses are able to find a 30-minute block of time to eat. The nurse further claims that, in reality, nurses remain on duty when attempting to eat, and that their meal periods are frequently interrupted. Given the potential for large liability and the likelihood of copycat lawsuits, employers—particularly medical care providers—should examine their meal period policies to ensure the policies are compliant with the Fair Labor Standards Act. Continue Reading Food for Thought—Does Your Automatic Meal Period Policy Violate the Law?

The White House announced on Friday, September 15, 2017, that President Donald Trump has nominated Peter B. Robb to serve as the next General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board.  Robb is a management-side labor and employment attorney, who currently practices in Vermont.  Robb previously worked as a field attorney for the NLRB, a supervisory attorney for the Federal Labor Relations Authority, and then as the Chief Counsel to former NLRB member Robert Hunter (a Republican), who was appointed to the Board in 1981 by President Reagan.  In 1985, Robb began private practice representing company management in labor and employment law.  As the General Counsel, Robb would decide which issues to put before the NLRB for resolution.  A rollback of a number of union-friendly decisions is expected. Continue Reading Trump Announces Nomination For NLRB General Counsel – What It Means For Employers

After a Texas federal judge struck down the Department of Labor’s proposed overtime rule, as discussed here, the DOL dropped its appeal of the preliminary injunction the same judge granted in November 2016. As we previously noted, the Fifth Circuit appeal of the injunction, which blocked the Obama-era overtime rule from going into effect, became moot following the district court’s judgment on August 31, 2017.

Notably, however, the Department of Justice (on behalf of the DOL) can still appeal the court’s final judgment entered last week. It is unclear whether the DOL will appeal the ruling to challenge whether the agency has the authority to set any salary test for the exemption analysis. Or whether the DOL will instead propose its own version of a new overtime rule (or keep the current version intact). Employers should therefore keep an eye on any developments. Of course, we will continue to monitor and provide updates of any changes to overtime requirements.

Starting last summer, employers began preparing to comply with the Obama administration’s revisions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations for the executive, administrative, and professional overtime exemptions (“white collar” exemptions). If implemented, the revised overtime rule would dramatically expand the number of workers eligible for overtime pay and would impact most U.S. employers. Because of legal challenges to the new rule, however, its validity has been up in the air for nearly a year. And the change from the Obama to Trump administration only created more uncertainty for employers. Right before the Labor Day weekend, a federal court in Texas issued an order invalidating the new overtime rule. Although we expect challenges to the court’s ruling, and the Trump DOL may propose its own revisions, the court’s order provides employers grappling with the proposed changes to the overtime exemptions with some clarity.

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In a move that will surprise few, the federal Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) has “stayed” the upcoming EEO-1 compensation data reporting requirement, pending further review. As we previously wrote about here, in 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) implemented a rule requiring employers with 100 or more employees (and federal contractors with 50 or more employees) to include compensation data in their annual EEO-1 reports. Covered employers were already required to file an EEO-1 report tracking race/ethnicity and sex; the stay does not impact this requirement. Continue Reading Federal Government Hits Pause on Upcoming Pay Reporting Requirement

As Hurricane Harvey strengthens and threatens Texas and the Gulf Coast, it’s a good time for Texas employers to consider potential pay-related issues that can arise from inclement weather. Be it rising floodwaters or hurricanes in the Gulf (and the endless news coverage of the same), here are 5 tips to help your business when employees are absent due to inclement weather. Continue Reading Employee Pay During Inclement Weather: Five Tips to Stay Afloat

The days of the “one size fits all” job application may soon be coming to an end. As federal, state, and local governments increasingly heighten employer hiring process requirements, national employers must be diligent to avoid getting tripped up by the varying rules across different locations. This post will discuss three hiring requirements that are increasingly leaving companies exposed to risk.

Continue Reading Does Your Job Application Need a Check-Up? Three Costly Compliance Blunders to Avoid

U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announced in a June 7, 2017 press release that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has withdrawn two of its recent administrator’s interpretations. One of the administrator’s interpretations, issued in 2015, focused on the misclassification of employees as independent contractors under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and indicated that the DOL would be more closely scrutinizing independent contractor classifications. The other administrator’s interpretation, issued in 2016, examined joint employment relationships under the FLSA. Both interpretations were widely considered to be an attempt by the DOL to expand the coverage and enforcement of the FLSA. The withdrawal of the guidance documents likely indicates a shift in enforcement focus of the DOL under the Trump administration.

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After a contentious confirmation process, on April 7, 2017, the Senate confirmed Tenth Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the Supreme Court seat that has been vacant since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016. On April 10, 2017, Gorsuch, a former clerk of current Justice Anthony Kennedy, was sworn in by Kennedy. Now that Gorsuch has taken his oath, he is ready to participate in the Supreme Court’s next round of oral arguments, which are set to begin on April 17. Continue Reading Neil Gorsuch Fills Vacant Supreme Court Seat

Last Tuesday, in Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (with jurisdiction over the courts in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin) became the first federal circuit to explicitly rule that sexual orientation is covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In so doing, the Seventh Circuit created a split with every other court of appeals that has addressed the issue to date, thereby teeing the issue up for a possible showdown in the US Supreme Court.

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