Posts from July 2016.

On July 1, 2016, the DOL issued an interim final rule that significantly increases the penalty amounts that may be imposed on plan sponsors for certain ERISA violations. The final rule ups the penalties for certain failures including failure to file an annual Form 5500 and failure to provide the Summary of Benefits and Coverage, as required by the Affordable Care Act.

These increases are the result of the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 whereby federal agencies were directed to adjust their civil monetary penalties for inflation each year ...

Fall is around the corner, and with it comes student interns bolstering their resumes. Interns can benefit companies by cutting down some of the workload; however, employers need to be aware that wage and hour laws can apply to interns.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) mandates that nearly all employees be paid minimum wage and overtime for hours worked over 40 in a week. One FLSA exemption is for bona fide interns.

The U.S. DOL applies a fact-specific inquiry to determine whether an internship may be unpaid because “no employment relationship exists.”

  • The ...

Back on our March 8, 2016 blog, we reported about two new lawsuits filed by the EEOC based on sexual orientation. On June 28, 2016, the EEOC reached a historic first settlement on one of these lawsuits. In the case against Pallet Companies, doing business as IFCO Systems North America, the EEOC alleged that the company discriminated against a woman by terminating her for complaining about harassment associated with her sexual orientation. Yolanda Boone, a forklift driver at IFCO’s Baltimore plant, complained that her supervisor harassed her by repeatedly making comments about ...

Last month, an EEOC Task Force issued a lengthy report on harassment in the workplace.  The report begins with mention of the prevalence of harassment claims, which appear in almost a full third of the employment discrimination charges that the EEOC received in 2015. Given this, the report recommends that employers reboot their anti-harassment measures. Among other helpful research and advice, the report discusses risk factors that make a workplace more susceptible to harassment, many of which are discussed below:

  • Workforce comprised of many young workers. Those in their ...

This is an update to our July 6, 2016 post regarding OSHA’s plan to enforce new rules concerning post-accident drug and alcohol testing.  In response to a lawsuit filed to block the August 10th implementation of OSHA’s new electronic recordkeeping rule (including the limits on post-accident drug and alcohol testing), OSHA announced yesterday that it will delay enforcement until November 1, 2016. There is no indication that OSHA will back away from its new stance on post-accident drug and alcohol testing, but enforcement will not begin until November 1, 2016.

The Federal Court of Appeals for the First Circuit recently upheld a National Labor Relations Board decision finding a car dealership’s dress code ban on “pins, insignias, and message clothing” was, in and of itself, an unfair labor practice. The case is another in a long line of NLRB decisions striking down policies as unfair labor practices because, the board claims, employees might interpret them as infringing upon their right to unionize or engage in other concerted activity protected by Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act.

The board concluded the ...

In a 3-1 decision the National Labor Relations Board made it easier to organize a company with a contingent workforce. Today’s Board decision returned to the rule established in M.B. Sturgis, Inc., 331 NLRB 1298 (2000) (“Sturgis”), reversing Oakwood Care Center, 343 NLRB 659 (2004) (“Oakwood”) thereby holding that employer consent is not necessary for units that combine jointly employed and solely employed employees of a single user employer.

So what does this mean?

Under the newly resurrected Sturgis standard temporary employees can once again be included in a single ...

As we previously reported, the August 10, 2016 effective date for OSHA’s final electronic reporting rule is quickly approaching. The requirement to electronically submit data does not begin until 2017, but an important part of this rulemaking that goes into effect August 10, 2016 is the requirement for employers to implement a reasonable procedure to ensure accurate reporting of illnesses and injuries. The concern about possible underreporting was highlighted during the rulemaking process and post-accident drug and alcohol testing was specifically targeted as an ...

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

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