Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Federal Court Issues Nationwide Injunction Against Implementation and Enforcement of the New Federal Overtime Rules

As we let you know last week, legal challenges to the new federal overtime pay rules scheduled to go into effect on December 1, 2016, are pending in federal district court in Texas. On November 22, 2016, the Judge hearing the Texas cases issued a nationwide preliminary injunction enjoining the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) from implementing and enforcing the new rules. As such, employers who were busily preparing to comply with those rules have a reprieve – at least for now- from having to comply.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Stay Tuned! Federal Court Set to Issue Pre-Thanksgiving Ruling on Motion to Delay New Federal Overtime Rules

In the aftermath of President-elect Trump’s victory, many employers are wondering how the president-elect’s priorities will impact their employment and labor law obligations. One immediate question on employers’ minds is whether they still must comply with the Obama administration’s new federal overtime pay rules set to go into effect on December 1, 2016. It is highly unlikely that there will be any activity related to these rules by President-elect Trump prior to the December 1 deadline, although a later retraction or retrenchment of the rules is certainly possible. Employers should, however, stay tuned to a legal challenge to the new rules currently pending in federal district court in Texas. The judge in that action, Judge Amos L. Mazzant, III, has announced that he will rule by November 22, 2016, on a pending motion to enjoin the U.S. Department of Labor’s enforcement of the new rules. If the court grants the motion and issues a nation-wide injunction, implementation of the new overtime pay rules may be delayed. However, because the court could also deny the motion or limit the reach of any injunction, employers should continue preparing for the December 1 deadline.

Friday, November 4, 2016

The NLRB’s Latest Priority: Intermittent and Partial Strikes

The most powerful weapon a labor union can unleash against an unwitting employer, whether unionized or not, is a strike. Strikes, however, can take different forms and arise under different circumstances. Last month, the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) Office of the General Counsel (GC), the prosecuting arm of the federal NLRB agency, issued a short but powerful memorandum regarding an increasingly common union tactic: intermittent and partial strikes. While the Board has generally held that such strikes are not protected under the National Labor Relations Act, the GC took issue with this established Board law and advocated for a change.

Friday, October 28, 2016

White House Announces Actions Against Wage Collusion, Noncompetes and “Other Anticompetitive Practices”

The White House has detailed a broad series of new administrative steps in response to an earlier Executive Order “calling for actions that enhance competition to benefit consumers, workers, and entrepreneurs.” The White House described these steps as consistent with the continuing effort of the administration to find ways to increase job growth and reduce income inequality across the country. Although the new administrative steps do not include new prohibitions and generally do not require immediate action, the steps do raise the possibility of near-term legislative and regulatory actions for which employers should be watchful. There also is an indication of increased antitrust enforcement against non-solicitation and non-hire agreements between employers.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Employee Voting Rights & a Cautionary Word About Political Talk in the Workplace

With the presidential and general election rapidly approaching, Minnesota – and all – employers need to be mindful of employees’ rights to reasonable voting leave under state laws. Election season, particularly polarizing presidential campaigns and elections, can also present some headaches for well-intended employers.

Minnesota employees have a right to paid time off to vote. State law gives employees the right “to be absent from work for the time necessary to appear at the employee’s polling place, cast a ballot, and return to work.” Generally, an employer may not dock pay, personal leave, or vacation for voting leave. Indeed, if an employer “refuses, abridges, or interferes” with an employee’s right to voting leave, the employer is guilty of a misdemeanor. Minnesota’s law generally applies to all regularly scheduled elections, including a presidential nomination primary election (new for 2020).

Friday, October 14, 2016

New OSHA Rules Put a Wet Blanket on Blanket Post-Accident Drug Tests

Many employers require drug and alcohol testing of employees when they are involved in a workplace accident. Such testing is specifically permitted under Minnesota law. Effective August 10, 2016, however, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has adopted new rules that substantially restrict employers’ use of post-accident drug testing.

Friday, October 7, 2016

EEOC to Collect Summary Pay Data through Revised EEO-1 Report

Last week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced the approval of the new EEO-1 report form by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Beginning in March 2018, the EEOC will use the revised EEO-1 report to collect summary employee pay data from certain employers. Specifically, private employers with 100 or more employees are required to fill out the revised EEO-1 report on an annual basis. Federal contractors and subcontractors with 50-99 employees will not have to submit summary pay data, but they will continue to report demographic data annually on the EEO-1 report as before. Federal contractors and subcontractors with 49 or fewer employees will not be required to complete the EEO-1 report.