With employment laws in a constant state of flux, it is important for employers to periodically review and revise their employee handbooks to ensure that policies, practices and procedures comply with applicable laws and other current obligations and requirements. This is particularly important for multistate and multi-jurisdictional employers, because state and local employment laws and other regulatory authorities have radically changed during the last few years.
In his bylined article for the San Diego Daily Transcript titled “Using effective severance agreements to limit liability,” San Diego Partner David B. Monks explores how employers can cobble together effective severance agreements to limit their liability.
In two recent healthcare cases, disgruntled former employees insisted that they had suffered illegal discrimination and retaliation. The affected hospitals prevailed in appeals courts, however, by demonstrating that their articulated reasons for terminating the employees were both truthful and nondiscriminatory.
In her bylined article for the Carlsbad Business Journal titled “Social media and the workplace: Where to draw the line?,” San Diego Associate Patrice C. Nagle discusses how employers can stay up to date on the use of social media in the workplace. Patrice covers topics like pre-employment social media screening, digital addictions and necessary accommodations and digital wage and hour issues.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has relaxed its test for determining the legality of an employer’s anticipatory withdrawal of union recognition prior to the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA). In a contributed article for Workforce Magazine, Todd Fredrickson and Micah Dawson discuss a recent NLRB decision – Johnson Controls Inc. – that upheld an employer’s right to suspend bargaining and serve notice within 90 days prior to CBA expiration of its desire to withdraw recognition.
It is well-documented that ADA lawsuits are on the rise over the failure of websites to be compliant with the ADA. In his bylined article for the South Carolina Lawyer, Columbia attorney Phillips McWilliams examines recent court cases in the Fourth and Ninth Circuits that demonstrate the lack of guidance available to businesses seeking to ensure their websites and apps are compliant with the ADA.
The Chicago City Council recently approved what is likely the most expansive predictive scheduling law in the country. Business and labor groups came together with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s staff and the city council to negotiate, draft, and approve the Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance. The new law will soon mandate certain employers to give many lower-income employees advance notice of their schedules and face financial penalties for unexpectedly changing an employee’s shift.
In their bylined article for the Vancouver Business Journal titled “Noncompete bill presents new challenges for employers,” Catharine Morisset and Gulsah Senol discuss Washington’s new law that significantly restricts noncompetition agreements with both employees and independent contractors.
Over the last few of years, employee incentive programs have been under attack from the Department of Labor. However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) have undertaken their efforts against incentive programs in different ways.
Imagine you’re coaching a football team that has been thoroughly pummeled by the opposition and the game is just about over. You’re all set to admit defeat and head into the locker room when the referees signal out of the blue that you will get one more last-gasp chance to score and somehow salvage a win.
Noncompete reform continues to crop up in New England; three states – Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island – now prohibit employers from entering noncompetition agreements with low-wage employees, though the definition of “low wage” varies by state. In an article published in both Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly and Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly, Kevin Burns summarizes each state’s law, how they vary from each other – and from similar laws around the country – and what employers need to do now.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) continues to target hotels for I-9 audits and immigration raids.
Healthcare employees are nearly five times more likely than workers in other industries to be victims of workplace violence, which led OSHA to release guidelines for preventing violence. Despite OSHA’s emphasis, there is currently no specific OSHA standard addressing this.
To mark the 29th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Philadelphia partner Rick Grimaldi partnered with Janet Fiore, CEO of The Sierra Group, to author an article for TLNT on how corporate teams can best work together to align workplace policies with the ADA’s vision of equality and inclusion.
In an effort to improve employee wellness, some employers have chosen to entice and incentivize employee participation by offering fitness trackers that track steps, workouts, physical location, heart rate, sleep cycles and other information. In an article for the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers’ magazine, The Goods, Louisville attorney Ashby Angell advises employers who implement programs using trackers to proceed with caution.
In his bylined article for The Recorder titled “Is Arbitration Past Its Prime?,” San Francisco Associate Anthony E. Guzman discusses the recent trend among employers to move away from arbitration. Anthony lists two main reasons for the trend: public pressure in the wake of the #MeToo Movement; and the rising cost of enforcing arbitration agreements.
Dallas employers with five or more employees will be required to provide their employees with paid sick leave beginning August 1, 2019. Employers with five or fewer employees must do so by August 1, 2021. The ordinance allows employees to use paid sick leave for many purposes, including the employee’s own or a family member’s physical or mental health reasons.
In the past, disqualifying potential employees based on past criminal convictions was just a routine aspect of the hiring process in workplaces across America. However, with recent “ban the box” legislation limiting – and in some cases outright prohibiting – employers from questioning prospective hires about past criminal convictions, prevailing attitudes toward disqualifying applicants based on past criminal convictions appear to be shifting.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Title VII’s administrative exhaustion requirement is a claim-processing rule, and not a jurisdictional bar to filing a lawsuit. Therefore, a federal court may retain jurisdiction over a discrimination claim even if an employee fails to allege the basis for such claim in her administrative charge.
In today’s workforce, many companies are increasing their use of independent contractors, subcontractors and temporary workers. Companies should bear in mind that although they may classify workers as independent contractors or as nonemployee temporary workers, OSHA may not agree with its assessment.
When done correctly, employee handbooks can be great tools for employers. But often employers treat them like a meal simmering in a crockpot: set it and forget it. Creating a handbook, particularly for employers in multiple states, is a major undertaking.
- Workplace Safety Attorneys Clarify Employers’ Rights to Be Present in an OSHA Walk-Around Inspection7.1.19
An employer has a right to guide the walk-around inspection when an OSHA compliance safety and health officer shows up at the workplace. Sometimes, however, multiple employers are present at a worksite.
In his bylined article for Life Science Leader, Philadelphia attorney Paul Greco outlines the important steps employers should take to ensure their restrictive covenants survive internal corporate reorganizations to protect important interests like their goodwill and confidential information.
In May, the Trump administration released its 2019 Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, in which employment and workplace practices were the focus of a number of proposed regulations; each could impact the maritime industry.
Autonomous vehicle technology will completely change life as we know it. Because AVs need to communicate with each other, cybersecurity needs to be a top concern for companies selling and utilizing AVs.
When the Social Security Administration revived its practice of issuing “no-match letters” in March 2019, more than half a million employers, including many in the healthcare industry, were informed that some employees’ Social Security numbers don’t match official records.
- Cleveland Attorneys Spotlight Workers Compensation Insurance Gaps that Expose Employers to Injury Lawsuits6.25.19
Employers and the risk management community generally think of workers’ compensation as the exclusive remedy for injured employees. The truth is that state legislatures and the courts have, over time, allowed employees to bypass the workers’ compensation system and bring lawsuits directly against employers for workplace injuries. Exceptions to employer immunity have created significant gaps in employer insurance coverage.
Multi-employer worksites are a frequent occurrence in the construction industry as employees from various companies often occupy the same site while a project is being completed. While the need for employees from different companies may be necessary to perform the various tasks required by a project, the presence of multiple employers, and their employees, on the same worksite can result in an increased risk of safety hazards.
The opioid crisis is having a significant impact on the workforce. For employers, the result can be lost productivity, increased absenteeism and positive drug tests, workplace theft, a greater risk of workplace injuries and higher healthcare costs.
Excavations and trenches have become so commonplace on work sites that some employers and employees have developed a sense of complacency with some of the most basic requirements of excavation safety.
In her bylined piece for The Recorder titled “Unlimited Paid Time Off Uncertainty: Is It Actually a Perk?,” Alyssa Graf discusses unlimited paid time off (PTO) policies, a new trend that is giving some employers uncertainty.
The U.S. economy is thriving. Unemployment is at a 49-year low, which is generally a good thing, but this can also be problematic, as eventually employers run out of people to do the work.
The gig economy’s emergence has led some states, including Tennessee, to enact laws that recognize independent contractor relationships when they comply with certain “marketplace platform” or “marketplace contractor” conditions.
In their bylined article for the Daily Journal titled “Supreme Court ruling is a cautionary tale to employers,” Los Angeles Regional Managing Partner Todd B. Scherwin and Associate Andrew J. Hoag examine the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Fort Bend County v. Davis. In its decision, the Court held that employers defending harassment claims under Title VII may waive a “potentially dispositive defense” if asserted too late.
New Jersey became the state with the most progressive pay equity statute in the nation when it passed the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act in July 2018. In the year since, several lawsuits have been filed under the Act and companies are still scrambling to comply with the new law.
Irvine Partner Usama Kahf and San Diego Partner David B. Monks, in their bylined article for Healthcare Business Today titled Recruiting the Recruiters: How California Employers Can Circumvent Employee Non-Solicitation Contracts,” look at the issue of employee recruiting and enforceability of employee non-solicitation contractual provisions.
- Fisher Phillips Attorneys Outline Key Components of an Anti-Discrimination Policy for Silicon Valley6.6.19
In their bylined article for the Silicon Valley Business Journal titled “Silicon Valley isn't just for young workers,” San Francisco Regional Managing Partner Jason A. Geller and Associate Vincent J. Adams break down California’s age discrimination laws and examine the issue in Silicon Valley.
Schools and universities remain in a state of flux with respect to their compliance obligations under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, especially concerning peer-to-peer sexual misconduct. Almost immediately after President Trump’s inauguration, Secretary DeVos rescinded Obama-era guidance on resolving complaints of peer-to-peer sexual assault. Those rules underwent a 60-day public comment period during which more than 100,000 comments were submitted.
The 2018 Colorado state elections paved the way for the 2019 legislature to pass six new employment bills; some of these pieces of legislation had been proposed in various forms in previous sessions but failed to pass – until now. Sue Schaecher outlines each of these new Colorado laws in her contributed article for ColoradoBiz.
Even when a company learns information submitted in an injury report to OSHA is incorrect, it is unlikely the company can stop a subsequent OSHA inspection. In an article for Rock Road Recycle, partners Travis Vance and Pam Williams explain precautionary steps companies should take to prevent erroneous reports from occurring in the first place.
With an increase in Immigration and Customs Enforcement workplace raids, confusing visa rules and a declining available workforce, employers face new barriers when hiring immigrants. In his bylined article appearing in IndustryToday, Memphis Regional Managing Partner David Jones states, “While it is clear that the status quo cannot stand, the situation is actually getting worse for employers.”
In her bylined piece for Hotel Executive titled “New Human Trafficking Training Requirement for California Hotels and Motels That Anyone Can Implement,” San Diego Associate Megan Walker examines the new California human trafficking training requirements for the state’s hotel and lodging industry. The new law requires hotel and motel employers in California to provide 20 minutes of human trafficking awareness training to all employees who may interact with or encounter victims. Employers must give the training by Jan. 1, 2020, to each new employee within six months of their employment, and then every two years thereafter.
Given the menagerie of terms, it is easy to see why some business owners are quite confused about what to do when they are asked to permit an animal in their place of business. Part of the confusion comes from the multitude of federal, state and local government laws on the topic.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines for preventing workplace violence in the healthcare and social services industries, issued in 2015, signaled the agency’s heightened focus on this area.
On March 7, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor announced its proposed regulations on overtime that would render more than 1 million new workers eligible for overtime pay. Coupled with a historically tight labor market, this new rule has the potential to place even greater strain on employers already struggling to attract and retain new talent for their respective workforces.
In their bylined article for Workforce titled “We’re Addicted to … Everything? How to Handle Digital Addictions in the Workplace,” Miranda Watkins and Sara Zimmerman explore how employers can manage digital addictions in the workplace. A digital addiction is a complete disruption to and dysregulation of the daily life of an individual through the use of electronic devices.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare and social service workers are nearly five times more likely to experience a serious workplace violence injury than employees in other industries.
In their bylined piece for SHRM titled “Sexual-Harassment Settlements: How to Comply with California’s New Rules,” Partner Annie Lau and Associate Bailey K. Bifoss examine the new California law on confidentiality in settlement agreements. The new law prohibits employers of any size from settling lawsuits using agreements that prevent the disclosure of facts regarding sexual assault, sexual harassment and workplace harassment or discrimination based on sex. The law took effect Jan. 1 of this year.
With the nationwide unemployment rate at 3.6 percent and a sizzling economy, the labor market is likely to get even tighter.
In a bylined article for MINING.com, Denver partner Christopher Peterson reviews the latest cases that are using – or challenging – the two-part interference test in Section 105(c)(1) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act.
In his byline article for Cascade Business News titled “Proposed Paid Family Leave Law Could Rattle Employers Statewide,” Portland Associate Stephen M. Scott reviews Oregon House Bill (HB) 3031, which as proposed would be one of the most aggressive paid family leave statutes in the country.
In just the past couple of decades, we’ve gone from desktop computers and mobile phones to laptops and smartphones. While technology has certainly changed the way we live, it has also changed the way we work.