Posts from February 2015.

On February 25, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a final rule modifying the definition of “spouse” under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.

This final rule, which will take effect on March 27, 2015, is a shift from the current language of 29 C.F.R. §§ 825.102 and 825.122(b), which defines “spouse” to mean “a husband or wife as defined or recognized under State law for purposes of marriage in the State where the employee resides, including common law marriage in States where it is recognized.”

As of March 27, the definition of “spouse” under the FMLA ...

Timing may not be everything when it comes to employment retaliation claims, but it is a critical factor.  An employee who can show adverse employment action taken on the heels of engaging in some type of protected activity (e.g. complaining to the EEOC) is in prime position to assert the employer unlawfully retaliated.  A fundamental step to proving retaliation is to show the employer was aware of the protected activity at the time of the adverse employment decision.  Naturally, an employer that is unaware of protected activity cannot retaliate against an employer for engaging in ...

On January 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court established a new standard for the vesting of collectively bargained retiree medical benefits, holding in M&G Polymers USA, LLC, et al. v. Tackett, et al., that collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) must be interpreted using ordinary principles of contract law and rejecting the presumption that collectively bargained retiree welfare benefits vest for life.  M&G Polymers, No. 13-1010 (U.S. Jan. 26, 2015).

In M&G Polymers, a group of retirees brought suit against their former employer after the announcement that retirees ...

On March 9, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association that should put all employers on notice.  In this decision, the Court held that federal agencies, specifically the Department of Labor (DOL), do not need to go through the same rulemaking procedure of providing notice to the public and soliciting input before issuing their own interpretive guidance, even if it contradicts the agency’s prior guidance.

In Perez, the DOL issued opinion letters that stated mortgage loan officers were not eligible for overtime under the ...

Beginning January 1, 2015, California employers (with 50 or more employees) must provide anti-bullying training to supervisors within 6 months of assuming a supervisory role, and during biannual anti-sexual harassment training.  California broadly defines workplace bullying as: “Conduct of an employer or employee in the workplace, with malice, that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests.”  This may include:

  • Repeated infliction of verbal abuse (e. g., derogatory remarks, insults, and ...

Many federal contractors had their 2014 annual affirmative action plans in place prior to the March 24, 2014 effective date for contractors to begin analyzing and maintaining a hiring benchmark for protected veterans, as well as a utilization goal for disabled individuals.  However, the time is nearing to update those plans and be compliant with the new regulations.  What does this mean for you?

Veterans

If you haven’t already started, you should begin asking your applicants to voluntarily self-identify whether they are a protected veteran or not (you do not ask them to ...

Treat each other with dignity and respect.  Do not harass one another.  They seem innocuous enough.  However, the NLRB may deem these common rules unlawful, if they are implemented or more strictly enforced following protected activity, such as a strike or an election, or in the context of unfair labor practice charges filed against an employer.  In Care One at Madison Avenue, 361 NLRB No. 159 (Dec. 16, 2014), the board held that an employer violated the law by posting a memorandum shortly after a union election, urging employees to treat each other with “dignity and respect” ...

Welcome to the Labor and Employment Law Update where attorneys from SmithAmundsen blog about management side labor and employment issues. 

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