Posts from March 2016.

The U.S. Department of Labor has issued the Persuader Rule which has been hotly debated and protested by employers and attorneys.

First proposed in 2011, the Persuader Rule amends the federal Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act to require employers and labor relation consultants (including attorneys) to submit detailed reports including the type of consulting or legal services provided and any fees paid.

Historically, under the “Advice Exception,” lawyers have been excluded from this reporting requirement, as long as they did not directly interact with ...

On March 11, 2016, the new rules regarding the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) OPT program were posted in the Federal Registrar and will take effect on May 10, 2016.

The new STEM program allows students to be approved for work authorization for 24 months vs. the previous 17 month program and allows current students to apply for an additional 7 months of work authorization.

While the additional work eligibility is good news for both students and employers, the new rules subject employers to heighten compliance requirements including:

  • Employers and students will be ...

On Tuesday March 22, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against one of the world’s largest food processors, affirming a $5.8 million judgment.  This ruling just made it a little bit easier for wage and hour plaintiffs to win class actions.  In a 6-2 decision the Court held that plaintiff employees can use averages and other statistical analyses to establish class liability.

In 2007, workers at one of the meat-processing facilities sued the company for uncompensated wages alleging that they were entitled to overtime pay and damages because they were not paid for time spent donning and ...

A recent Second Circuit case, Graziadio v. Culinary Institute of America, Case No. 15-888-cv (Mar. 17, 2016), offers a sobering lesson for human resources personnel and supervisors who handle the administration of leave requests under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The Court held that an HR Director may be liable as an employer, as a “person who acts, directly or indirectly, in the interest of an employer” toward an employee. Finding that the FMLA definition of employer is similar to the definition under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Court agreed with other ...

Readers of this blog know there is an intense debate in the courts over the application of Fifield v. Premier Dealer Servs., Inc., 993 N.E.2d 938, 943 (Ill.App 1st Dist. 2013). Fifield announced that restrictive covenants supported solely by an at-will employment relationship were invalid for lack of adequate consideration if the employee did not remain employed for two years after signing the contract. This applies even if the employee voluntarily terminated. The Illinois Supreme Court did not accept review of Fifield, so it is controlling law in Illinois. However, it has ...

Sure, you’ve heard that non-union employees are protected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), too. But do you realize just how quickly the protections of the Act can come into play?  If your front line managers are not properly trained, an employee’s attitude could quite literally turn a situation into a federal case.

A federal appeals court recently affirmed the decision of the NLRB against an employer in a case where a non-union employee engaged in conduct that most employers would consider as straight up insubordination, Staffing Network Holdings, LLC v. NLRB, 2016 BL ...

A recent case out of the Northern District of Texas demonstrates just how important it is to listen to the Department of Labor (DOL) when they come knocking on your door.  (Solano v. Ali Baba Mediterranean Grille, Inc., 2016 BL 62687, N.D.Tex. No. 3:15-cv-00555, 3/2/16). Here, the DOL investigated allegations against the restaurant for failing to track time records, failing to properly pay a chef for the time he spent traveling between restaurants and improperly paying overtime on a bi-weekly basis instead of weekly. The DOL informed the restaurant of its improper pay practices, but ...

On March 1, 2016, the EEOC announced that it had filed its first two sex discrimination lawsuits based on sexual orientation. One of these cases, filed in the federal district court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, is based on allegations that a gay male employee was subject to anti-gay epithets and other offensive comments about his sexuality and sex life that eventually drove the employee to resign. The other case, filed in the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division, is based on allegations that a lesbian employee’s supervisor made comments regarding the employee’s ...

Effective January 1, 2016 all 53 EEOC field offices across the country have implemented the Commission’s new “Digital Charge System,” an online portal through which employers will receive and transmit information to the EEOC. From now on, all major communications between the EEOC and employers, including the Commission’s service of newly filed EEOC charges, will be transmitted through the online portal. In most cases, the EEOC will no longer mail paper copies of EEOC charges and related documentation to employers. Instead, the EEOC will send an email to the employer ...

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

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