Labor & Employment Blog



This fall is a good time to remind your employees that current events are not always the best topic at work.  Discussing the news and politics can be common among employees, but you need to be sure any such conversations do not end up offending co-workers. 


Last week, a New York Court again declined to dismiss a lawsuit where the plaintiff claims to represent a class of women who were allegedly denied adequate workplace space to breastfeed. 


For employers who pay their exempt employees on a bi-weekly basis, the 2015 calendar ‎has a quirk that may give the employees a one-year, de facto raise or bonus. The reason for this is that January 1, 2016 falls on Friday so that a payroll run, as is typical on the day before a holiday, would result in 2015 having 27 payrolls instead of 26.


Recently, a federal appeals court found that a sports bar violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) when the bar fired workers after they commented and “liked” a Facebook post.  A former employee posted about the bar on Facebook.  A current employee commented and used profanity in reference to the employer, and another current employee “liked” the post.  The two “current” employees were then terminated.  The court found the activities were not directed towards customers and did not reflect the employer’s brand.


By now, anyone affected should know that the Department of Labor wage rule granting federal overtime and minimum wage protections for approximately 2 million home care workers employed by third party home health care agencies took effect on October 13.  This is significant news, and not only affects those in the industry, but many others with ailing or aging family members who need assistance.  Although the new rules are in effect, the DOL has indicated it will not enforce the provisions for 30 days.


In September 2015, President Obama signed an Executive Order requiring that employees of all federal contractors be provided at least seven days off per year.  The seven paid leave days will be available for use by the employees for: (a) their own physical or mental illness, injury or medical condition; (b) their own visit to a health care provider for diagnosis, treatment or preventative care; (C) care of family members, domestic partners and other individuals whose close association is similar to a family member; or (d) time off to deal with domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.


President Obama recently issued an executive order requiring seven days of paid sick leave be provided to government contractors.  The sick leave can be used not just when the employee is sick, but also to care for a relative, or someone as close as a relative.


As many human resources professionals and business owners have been discussing, the federal Department of Labor is in the process of revising its overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  Broadly, the new regulations will increase the minimum salary for employees exempt from overtime to above $50,000 and expand the duties requirements for the exemptions. 


The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently issued another Decision which will make it easier to form or increase the size and numbers of unions.  The NLRB’s Decision concerned the so-called joint-employer standard and found that exercising direct, immediate control over workers is not required to be deemed a joint-employer. 


A recent jury verdict in a federal lawsuit serves as a good reminder to employers that when an employee is facing harassment from a customer or outside party, the employer must take steps to protect that employee.  The employer’s responsibility to its employee does not cease simply because the harasser is not a fellow employee.