Thursday, June 23, 2016

News Anchor Files Discrimination Lawsuit After Losing Her Job because of Comments Made on Social Media

A white news anchor has filed a race discrimination lawsuit against her former employer, a Pittsburgh television station. Wendy Bell made headlines earlier this year when she was let go from her anchor position after posting controversial comments on a Facebook page sponsored by the television station. Now, Bell is making headlines again for her unusual race discrimination claims.

Earlier this spring, the Washington Post reported that Bell was fired after she posted comments on Facebook about a mass shooting that Bell had recently covered on air.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The New DOL Overtime Rule - Does it Apply to Nonprofits?

As we reported last month, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released the long-awaited Final Rule on white collar exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which will go into effect on December 1, 2016. The Final Rule significantly increases the minimum weekly salary amounts required for the white collar exemptions. Many nonprofit employers are concerned about the impact the salary changes will have on their organizations.

Neither the FLSA nor the regulations provide an exemption from the overtime requirements for nonprofit organizations. However, some nonprofit organizations are not covered under the FLSA because they are not an “enterprise” under the law. Nonetheless, nonprofit organizations must be careful in determining coverage under the FLSA because individual employees may still be eligible for overtime pay.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Employee Wellness vs. GINA and the ADA: EEOC Rules Seek to Reconcile

On May 16th, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released final regulations designed to reconcile contradictory rules for employers related to employee wellness programs and non-discrimination laws. An EEOC summary of the final regulations is available here, and you can find the final rules here and other commentary and coverage here, here, and here.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) include clear restrictions on an employer’s ability to collect and use employee health information.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Paid Sick Leave Arrives in the Mill City

After ongoing discussions for more than a year, the Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously on Friday May 27, 2016, to become the first city in the Midwest and the 23rd city nationally to mandate paid sick leave for employees. Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges first called on the Minneapolis City Council to pass a local sick leave ordinance in her April 2015 State of the City address. Since that time, numerous businesses, community members, and a fifteen-member task force named the Workplace Partnership Group have been studying and weighing in on the passage of a sick leave ordinance.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The DOL Final Rule – Finally!

Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released the long-awaited Final Rule on white collar exemptions which will go into effect December 1, 2016. The Final Rule significantly increases the minimum weekly salary amounts required for most exempt employee statuses and also increases the total annual compensation amount for the exempt category of highly compensated employees.

While the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires most employers to pay mandatory minimum wages and overtime pay to employees, certain employees are exempt. These exemptions generally require employers to pay a minimum salary and the employee to perform certain primary job duties.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

FLSA Fundamentals: The Taxing Taxonomy of Exempt Classifications

*In honor of the Fair Labor Standard Act’s 78th birthday and the highly anticipated changes to the DOL overtime regulations, the Modern Workplace is running a special multipart series entitled “FLSA Fundamentals” which will cover the basics of this important law and culminate in a discussion of the final changes to the regulation upon their release. This is the third post in that series.*

Given the time-intensive and nuanced analysis involved in calculating hours worked by non-exempt employees, compensable and non-compensable working time, and the regular rate of pay, many employers leap at the opportunity to avoid this rigmarole by classifying employees as exempt. As the next few posts in the “FLSA Fundamentals” series will demonstrate, however, properly classifying employees as exempt can be just as harrowing as non-exempt employee requirements. Employers need to beware of misclassifying employees as exempt, because misclassification can lead to multi-claimant lawsuits, awards of substantial damages, and enormous legal defense costs.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Federal Defend Trade Secrets Act Becomes Law

The Federal Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”), which was featured in our blog post last week, was signed into law by President Obama on Wednesday, May 11, 2016. As discussed in last week’s post, this important new federal law offers another avenue for employers to protect their valuable trade secrets. The DTSA creates two significant benefits for companies: (1) consistent and uniform law nationwide; and (2) guaranteed access to federal courts. It also provides for injunctive relief and additional monetary remedies. Now that the DTSA has been signed into law, companies seeking the benefit of the DTSA should consult legal counsel to add the new required notice to all confidentiality and trade secret agreements. And as always, employers should carefully identify their valuable trade secrets and take steps to protect that information. That much remains the same.