Friday, August 26, 2016

Minnesota Supreme Court to Weigh in on the Minneapolis Fight for $15

It’s been a busy year for Minnesota employers on the wage and hour front. As discussed in prior posts, new salary requirements will go into effect for “white collar” exempt workers on December 1, 2016, and a new Minneapolis sick pay ordinance will become effective July 1, 2017. On the heels of these developments, employers may also need to prepare to address a potential $15 per hour minimum wage requirement in Minneapolis. Wage advocacy groups recently scored a victory when a Minnesota district court said that Minneapolis voters must be permitted to vote in November 2016 on the proposed $15 minimum wage. After the City of Minneapolis appealed, however, the Minnesota Supreme Court accepted review and is now poised to weigh in on the question.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Alphabet Soup: The NLRB Weighs in on M & A

Employers by now are likely accustomed to hearing about the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) and its efforts to firmly insert itself into both union and non-union workplaces. For the past few years, the NLRB has issued countless decisions invalidating what have otherwise been deemed routine and sensible employment policies, such as requiring confidentiality of internal investigations, clarifying at-will employment, and prohibiting workplace bullying. Recently, however, the NLRB issued a decision involving corporate mergers and acquisitions that will impact companies’ C-suite initiatives, and not just their human resources department.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Seventh Circuit Rules That Title VII Does Not Apply to Sexual Orientation Discrimination Claims, At Least For Now...

As discussed in prior posts, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has a strategic enforcement agenda focused on expanding Title VII protections to encompass gender identity and sexual orientation. Courts are weighing in, with varied results. According to the EEOC’s website, a number of federal courts have sided with the EEOC’s interpretation of Title VII, primarily in the context of gender identity. On July 28, 2016, however, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that, under past Circuit precedent, Title VII’s anti-discrimination protections do not extend to claims of sexual orientation. At the same time, the Seventh Circuit panel observed that there is an “emerging consensus that sexual orientation in the workplace can no longer be tolerated,” and the panel appeared to be nudging the U.S. Supreme Court or Congress to take up the issue and provide direction to the lower federal courts.

Friday, August 5, 2016

$1.4 Million in Overtime Damages: Joint Employer Risks Continue Prominent Rise and Expansion

We have previously blogged (here and here) about the expanding risks of joint employer liability under various employment laws, most prominently the National Labor Relations Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act. Recent developments underline just how prominent these risks are becoming for many businesses, including traditional employers, staffing and temp agencies, and franchised companies.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division recently announced it has obtained a federal court consent judgment and order of $1.4 million jointly against United Plastics, a products manufacturer, and against ASI Staffing Group Corp., which supplied contract labor to United Plastics. The DOL’s announcement explained: