Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Don't Get Burned By Misclassifying Employees

Wage and hour issues heated up earlier this year when the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) released a proposed rule that would more than double the salary threshold for employees to be classified as exempt under the "white collar" exemptions to the federal overtime requirements. You can read our post from July of this year to learn more about the proposed rule, which would raise the minimum weekly salary requirement for the “white collar” exemptions from $455 per week to $970 per week.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Is Your Company Up to Speed on How to Minimize the Risk of Retaliation Claims?

The Star Tribune reported Wednesday that a former high-ranking Starkey employee has sued the company for retaliation, claiming that she was wrongfully fired for raising questions about potential improprieties in the company’s business practices. The suit continues a long-standing trend of mounting whistleblower and retaliation claims against employers. As discussed in an earlier post this year, retaliation claims continue to be the most commonly filed Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charge.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Minnesota Federal Court Declines to Dismiss State Law Transgender Discrimination Claim

We’ve previously posted on the growing social and legal movement for transgender equity. In recent developments, a Minnesota-based federal court ruled that Lisa Scott, a transgender woman, could proceed to trial on a claim that her rejection as a plasma donor was unlawful transgender discrimination under the Minnesota Human Rights Act (“MHRA”). The MHRA prohibits employment discrimination based on gender identity, but also contains provisions that prohibit business discrimination based on gender identity. Scott’s lawsuit is based on the business discrimination provisions of the MHRA.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Labor Law Versus Common Sense: Do You Know Who Your Supervisors Are?

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has just approved a ruling that certain employees (in this instance, tugboat captains) are not supervisors within the meaning of the federal labor law (the National Labor Relations Act, or “NLRA”). The NLRB said it drew this conclusion because the employer did not show the employer held the captains accountable for the performance of the mates whom they directed. A dissenting NLRB member complained that the Board’s conclusion in this case “fails the test of common sense.”

Thursday, December 3, 2015

In the Season of Giving, Give Some Thought to Improper “Taking” of Valuable Business Information

As we begin December and head into the end of another year, our thoughts often turn to giving.  But, unfortunately, it is also a time when employers should give some thought to taking – e.g. the possible theft of confidential business information.  It is common for employees considering career changes, whether taking a job with a competing company or starting their own business, to make that move shortly after the start of a new year (oftentimes sticking around long enough to receive year-end bonuses).  And, an all too common first step to those career moves can include the gathering of helpful business information by the soon-to-be departing employee.  A surprising number of employees still hold the simplistic – and flatly wrong – point of view that any and all of “their” work product generated while performing their job is “their property” and thus fair game to be harvested for use for the benefit of a competing company or new business.  So, the careful employer should reserve some time from year-end festivities to ensure that its vital business information is adequately protected.