Recent Blog Posts

  • Wage and Hour Division announces pilot limited “amnesty” program By Brian Hall    The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has announced a new nationwide pilot program, called the Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) program, which is designed to facilitate resolution of potential overtime and minimum wage violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). According to the WHD’s website describing the program, the program’s primary objectives are to resolve wage and hour claims expeditiously and without litigation, to improve employers’ compliance with overtime and minimum wage obligations... More
  • NLRB establishes new standard for evaluating employee handbook policies By Brian Hall    The new Republican-led National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has wasted little time in reconsidering decisions made during the Obama Administration. In its Boeing, Inc., decision, announced on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, the board overturned its Lutheran Heritage Village-Livonia decision that has guided its evaluation of employee handbook policies for the past 13 years and most recently has come under intense criticism from the employer community for chipping away at common employee handbook policies. During the past eight years, the... More
  • How employers can help employees after a natural disaster By Brian Hall    In recent months we have seen a significant number of natural disasters – from Hurricanes Irma to Harvey to Maria and the massive wild fires crossing Northern California. Our colleague, Abby Brothers, shares the tax-free options employers can use to support their employees and communities. Check out her full post on Employee Benefits Law Report, “Federal disaster relief available to employees in aftermath of natural disasters.”... More
  • Texas district court strikes down Obama DOL’s proposed overtime rule By Brian Hall    Many thanks to Arslan Sheikh for his assistance in preparing this post. Last week, a federal judge in Texas struck down a proposed Obama-era rule that would have expanded the number of workers who qualify for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The proposed rule In 2016, the Obama administration’s Department of Labor (DOL) planned to implement a new rule that would have more than doubled the minimum salary threshold for “exempt” status under the FLSA from... More
  • Full Eighth Circuit upholds employee terminations in Jimmy John’s paid sick leave dispute By Brian Hall    In an en banc decision, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned an earlier panel decision, which we reported on here, in MikLin Enterprises Inc. v. NLRB, in which the panel had upheld the NLRB’s finding that a Jimmy John’s franchisee had violated the rights of its employees under the National Labor Relations Act, when it fired them for hanging posters at their shops that suggested that the customers could be eating sandwiches that were made by... More
  • Don’t wannacry? Help your IT staff prevent ransomware By Brian Hall    I have frequently blogged about human resources departments’ role in preventing data breaches in their organizations and to date have largely focused on training employees to recognize and respond phishing exploits designed to encourage employees to click on email links or attachments that contain malware. See for example here, here and here. But, in what some have been calling the biggest cyberattack ever, the recent “Wannacry” ransomware apparently seeks out computers containing a vulnerability in the Microsoft Windows... More
  • NLRB panel majority upholds employer right to justify “no recording” policy; denies general counsel summary judgment motion By Brian Hall    In a follow up to its Whole Foods Market, Inc. decision, which found unlawful an employer policy prohibiting workplace recordings by employees without prior management approval, an NLRB panel majority in Mercedes Benz U.S. International, Inc. denied the General Counsel’s motion for summary judgment on a similar “no recording” policy. According to the majority, Mercedes was entitled to a hearing, which would provide an opportunity to present evidence regarding its business justifications for the policy, and about whether... More
  • NLRB’s Dish Network decision: A sign of things to come for employer arbitration agreements? By Brian Hall    As he tends to remind us on a regular basis, Donald Trump won the presidential election back in November 2016. But that doesn’t mean that National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) policy turns on a dime. The Board has only three members at this time with Member Philip Miscimarra (R) in the role of Acting Chairman still outnumbered by Members Pearce (D) and McFerran (D). With confirmations of even cabinet level nominations still pending, it could be well into... More
  • Boeing Data Breach is yet another illustration of need for employee education and training By Brian Hall    In November 2016, a Boeing employee experiencing difficulty formatting an Excel spreadsheet. Not realizing that hidden columns included birth dates and social security numbers for 36,000 Boeing employees, he emailed the spreadsheet to his wife, who was not a Boeing employee, so she could help. This seemingly innocent act prompted Boeing to launch an investigation and notify those employees and officials in four states of a data breach. You see, data breaches are not always caused by Russian hacks... More
  • Eleventh Circuit rejects EEOC position regarding reassignment as a reasonable accommodation By Brian Hall    Rejecting the EEOC’s position that an employer must reassign a qualified individual with a disability to a vacant position as a reasonable accommodation so long as the individual was minimally qualified for the position, the 11th Circuit on Dec. 7, 2016 held that even disabled workers in need of a reasonable accommodation must compete with other qualified employees for the vacancy. In EEOC v. St. Joseph’s Hosp., Inc., the plaintiff was a nurse who needed a cane for... More