Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Modern Workplace: 2016 in Review

Well, what a year 2016 has been! As the retrospectives start pouring in, we want to get ahead of the curve and look back on some of the workplace and employment law developments of 2016.

According to a recent Forbes article, innovations in the world of work this year have included Dutch desks that pull up to the ceiling at 5:30 pm, putting an exclamation point on the end of the workday, and desks in Greece that convert into beds for “power naps” or overnighters. We see the latter as especially rife with employment law risk. Overtime anyone? (Not to mention the potential for office romance gone awry …)

Friday, December 16, 2016

Class Action Update: U.S. Supreme Court is Expected to Grant Certiorari to Resolve the Circuit Split Over Whether Class-Action Waivers in Employment Arbitration Agreements are Enforceable

In our September 23rd post, we reported that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the U.S. Department of Justice filed a petition for certiorari in NLRB v. Murphy Oil decided by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to determine whether arbitration clauses requiring workers to arbitrate disputes individually—and not on the basis of collective or class actions (class-action waivers)—are invalid under federal labor law. As we reported in September, the petition was filed in the face of a clear split among the federal Circuit Courts of Appeals. The U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 2nd, 5th, and 8th Circuits have held that class-action waivers are enforceable in arbitration agreements. The 7th and 9th Circuits have held that class-action waivers in arbitration agreements are unenforceable under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), reasoning that the NLRA protects “concerted activity,” which is the right of non-management employees to act together in relation to work-related claims, and that class actions are a form of concerted activity.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Employment Law Tips for the Holiday Season

The December holiday season is, in many ways, a wonderful time of year. To make sure it stays that way, here is a quick refresher for employers on how to sidestep the panoply of employment law minefields that can crop up during the holiday season.

Religious Discrimination and Accommodations

December is home to multiple religious holidays, including Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and the Winter Solstice, among others. For this reason, it is important to remember that federal law and many states prohibit religious discrimination in employment and require religious accommodations for sincerely held religious beliefs. December can be a popular time of year for the following types of religious accommodation requests or religious equity issues to arise:

Friday, December 2, 2016

Employment Rules Update: DOL Overtime Rule Still Blocked Pending Appeal, While OSHA Rule Survives Initial Challenge

For those in the employment law and human resources fields, there are lots of moving targets to track this holiday season. Two of those moving targets include the temporary block placed on the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) new federal overtime rules and a pending legal challenge to a new OSHA rule.

DOL Overtime Rule

As discussed in our post last week, a federal district court in Texas has issued a nationwide injunction blocking implementation of the new DOL overtime rules that were set to go into effect on December 1st. Yesterday, the DOL appealed the district court’s ruling to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Despite this appeal, the injunction currently remains in effect. As such, the minimum weekly salary that employers must pay to “white collar” exempt employees subject to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) continues, for the time being, to be $455 per week rather than the $913 weekly minimum set forth in the new DOL rules.