Tuesday, December 12, 2017

In Welcome News for Employers, New NLRB General Counsel Signals Significant Changes Are On The Way

Last week we blogged about which decisions of the Obama-era National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) might be most ripe for reversal under the NLRB’s new membership and General Counsel.  This week, on December 1, 2017, we got further insight into those expectations when Peter Robb, the new General Counsel issued a memorandum containing insights into his initial agenda as General Counsel.  The memorandum’s identification of subjects for special consideration, along with its general tone, provide further strong indications about the likelihood of coming significant policy shifts at the NLRB in favor of employers.

Monday, December 4, 2017

NLRB Nearing Full Capacity Under New Leadership, But Questions Still Remain

In September 2017, the U.S. Senate confirmed William J. Emanuel to fill the last vacant seat on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Emanuel joins recent appointee Marvin Kaplan and long-standing member Philip A. Miscimarra to form the first Republican-majority board since 2009. However, these weren’t the only significant developments to come to the NLRB this fall. On Nov. 8, 2017, the U.S. Senate confirmed Peter Robb, a management-side labor lawyer, to replace President Obama-appointed Richard Griffin as the NLRB General Counsel. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

New EEOC Online Filing Portal Up and Running

On Nov. 1, 2017, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) launched an online intake portal to allow individuals to quickly and directly submit inquiries and intake interview requests to the EEOC. It remains to be seen whether online access to the EEOC’s intake and inquiry process will lead to an increase in discrimination charges, but the new reporting mechanism undoubtedly provides potential claimants with easier access to the EEOC.

Previously, in order to file a charge with the EEOC, an individual needed to visit an EEOC office in person, visit a state or local fair employment practice agency to file a charge, submit a letter by mail, or initiate the process over the telephone. Clearly, having an alternative online process will make it substantially easier to begin the charge process.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Another Twist on Overtime Rule Saga: DOL Appeals from an Apparent Win

The saga of a 2016 Obama administration federal rule, issued under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), has taken a somewhat surprising turn. The 2016 rule, which was scheduled to be effective December 1, 2016, would have greatly increased the weekly salary threshold for “white collar” overtime pay exemptions. The federal Department of Labor (DOL) recently filed an appeal in a Texas federal court lawsuit, challenging an August decision by the district court judge that effectively invalidated the Obama administration rule.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Best Practices to Prevent and Address Sexual Harassment

Sadly, the concerning news that’s recently surfaced about sexual harassment and assault allegations in Hollywood is all too familiar. This year, we’ve seen a number of high-profile sexual harassment stories go viral involving the ride-sharing, music, Hollywood, and news media industries. These high profile stories should serve as a reminder to employers of the importance of having sound policies and practices in harassment prevention and response. Below are some suggested best practices for employers to consider.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Employees Found to Have a Private Right of Action under Minnesota Tip Pooling Law

As previously reported, a Hennepin County district court judge ruled earlier this fall in a class action case against Surly Brewing that an employee tip-pooling agreement made with employer coercion or participation violates Minnesota’s wage and hour law. Now, the Minnesota Supreme Court has found that Minnesota’s wage and hour law expressly permits a private cause of action for an employee who is discharged for refusing to share gratuities.

The Minnesota Supreme Court’s ruling was issued this week in Burt v. Rackner, Inc. d/b/a/ Bunny’s Bar & Grill. The plaintiff, Todd Burt, alleged that he was told by his restaurant employer that “to give more of his tips to the bussers, and that there would be consequences if that did not happen.” After refusing to follow the directive, Burt was terminated. Burt sued, claiming that his termination violated the tip-sharing provision of the Minnesota wage and hour law. More specifically, Minnesota law prohibits an employer from requiring an employee “to contribute or share a gratuity received by the employee” or to “contribute any or all of the gratuity to a fund or pool.”

Friday, September 29, 2017

It’s Budget Planning Time–Minimum Wage Adjustments are Coming to Minnesota in 2018

The last quarter of the calendar year is often a time when companies are busy with planning and budgeting for the following year. Minnesota employers doing budget planning for 2018 need to keep in mind that the state minimum wage rates will be adjusted as of January 1, 2018.

Under Minnesota law, the commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry is required to determine and announce the inflation-adjusted minimum-wage rate each year by August 31. This year, the change in the price deflator is an increase of 1.56 percent.