• Posts by Heather A. Bailey
    Partner

    Heather credits her experience working full-time in office administration and human resources during law school for her seamless transition into management-side labor and employment law. The skills she developed as a legal ...

On December 7, 2021, we brought to you the news that U.S. District Court Judge R. Stan Baker in the Southern District of Georgia put a nationwide halt on the federal contractor vaccination mandate. On January 21, 2022 Judge Jeffrey V. Brown of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas agreed with Judge Baker. The judge opined that this case was not about the importance of being vaccinated or not, because the judge agreed it was important that everyone should get vaccinated.  “It is instead about whether the President can, with the stroke of a pen and without the input of ...

In September President Biden’s Executive Order 14042 was blessed by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force requiring certain federal contractors to have all of their contract and related workers vaccinated against COVID-19 by the new deadline date of January 4, 2022 (it was previously set for December 8, 2021 but with the OSHA and CMS mandates, the federal contractors’ date was extended). Just like President Biden’s Orders to get both healthcare workers and employees who work for companies with 100 or more employees vaccinated, the federal contractor vaccination ...

With the help of the US Department of Labor (DOL), the Biden Administration made good on its promise to increase the minimum wage for workers who work on new or updated federal contracts (including extended, renewed, or exercise of an option on an existing contract). The President’s full Executive Order may be found on the White House website.

This was carried out by the DOL on November 22, 2021 with its Final Rule requiring that such workers’ minimum pay will now be $15.00 an hour starting January 30, 2022. Keep in mind if your local or state minimum wage is more, you have to pay the ...

On October 29, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor published its final rule regarding tipped employees with dual jobs (i.e., employees who perform both tipped and non-tipped work), rejecting the Trump-era approach to determining when tipped employees may be paid subminimum wages. The final rule reinstates the dreaded “80/20” rule that employers with tipped employees are likely familiar with, and adds a new “substantial amount of time” component to the determination. If you are an employer covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act, listen up!

The 80/20 Rule

Under the ...

Employers with tipped employees, take note: the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released its long-awaited final rule on tip regulations, which was officially published on September 24 and becomes effective November 23, 2021. The final rule makes a number of changes that will impact tipped employees and their employers, including:

Civil Money Penalties

The DOL may assess a penalty  up to $1,100 per violation against employers who take tips earned by their employees – regardless of whether the violations are repeated or willful. This means a penalty could be assessed on an ...

On September 24, 2021, as instructed by President Biden’s Executive Order 14042, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (“Task Force”) published its COVID-⁠19 Workplace Safety for Federal Contractors Guidance. We first updated you on this Executive Order in our blog published on September 13: Who is a Federal Contractor for Purposes of the Biden Vaccine Mandate? But does the Task Force’s new guidance actually assist us in determining what federal contractors are covered under the Executive Order? Unfortunately, certainty as to who is covered by the Executive ...

The short answer is: Be careful what you wish for!  During this COVID-19 pandemic, vaccinations have been at the front of everyone’s mind. Now, with the mass rollout of vaccinations across the country, employers’ main questions have been: i) Can we mandate vaccinations for our workforce or, alternatively, ii) can we ask employees whether they have been vaccinated or not (and to show proof of vaccination)? Our Labor & Employment blog has been at the forefront for the first question and provides more information on COVID-19 vaccination developments and what legal risks come ...

A currently pending federal case reminds us that hospitality employers could have claims for sexual harassment and discrimination brought against them based on the alleged inappropriate conduct of their customers. 

The case is Hashway v. Starbucks Corp. (D.R.I., No. 1:19-cv-00125), filed on March 11, 2019. The plaintiff is a former female Starbucks barista. The case arose from the alleged inappropriate conduct of a male customer. The claim was that the customer allegedly would routinely come to the store and stare at the employee, make lewd and inappropriate comments about ...

Previously, we reported to you on the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) Final Rule that raised the minimum salary threshold required to qualify for the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (“FLSA”) “white-collar” exemptions (executive, professional and administrative classification) from $455 per week ($23,660 annually) to $913 per week ($47,476 annually) as of December 1, 2016 (see our prior articles: U.S. DOL Publishes Final Overtime Rule and; Are you ready for December 1st? The FLSA Salary Changes Are Almost Here).

The Obama administration’s goal ...

The Honorable Judge Amos L. Mazzant III in the pending DOL overtime preliminary injunction lawsuit, State of Nevada et al v. United States Department of Labor et al. (Case No. 4:16-cv-00731-ALM, Eastern District of Texas), heard arguments yesterday as to whether the DOL should be enjoined at this time from implementing the new overtime and salary increase rule. The court – questioning the nationwide implications at stake here – was not interested in what the next administration will do come 2017 and wanted to focus on the law now.

After hearing arguments, the judge took ...

On September 7, 2015, President Obama signed Executive Order 13706 requiring federal contractors to provide paid sick leave to their employees – up to 7 days annually. The leave is related to an employee’s own illness or injury, including, domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking absences, and for family care for same. The Department of Labor published its Final Rule just over a year later on September 30, 2016.

Here are the key components:

  • The Final Rule applies to any new federal contracts solicited on or after January 1, 2017, replacement contracts (for those that are ...

Without much notice or fuss, the U.S. Department of Labor updated two employment posters late July 2016:

  • The Federal Minimum Wage poster applies to employers subject to the federal minimum wage.

While there was no change to the actual Federal Minimum Wage, some of the additions and revisions included nursing mothers’ rights; consequence for misclassifying an employee as an independent contractor; DOL enforcement; and tip credits.

  • The Employee Polygraph Protection Act Poster applies to most private employers.

Minor changes included ...

On June 17, 2016, the City of Chicago took one step closer into joining the ranks of requiring employers to give paid sick leave to their employees when the City Council’s Committee on Workforce Development and Audit unanimously voted on the Ordinance to do just that. If passed, Chicago will join 26 other cities (such as New York City, NY, Newark, NJ, and Philadelphia, PA), along with Washington, DC and five states (California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon and Vermont), who have also passed similar mandated paid sick leave for workers.

The Ordinance as currently proposed will ...

On April 4, 2016, the Los Angeles City Council just voted on their support of increasing California’s allotment of paid sick days for employees to twice the amount given under California’s Paid Sick Leave Law. This means employees would be allowed to earn six paid sick days during the course of the year (as opposed to only 3 under California’s current law). The law still needs to be drafted, but if it is passed, larger employers will need to be in compliance by July of this year, smaller employers (25 or less) would have a year to get fully compliant.

This comes on the heels of LA’s ...

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 ...

Any federal government contractor or subcontractor can testify to how much work really goes into complying with Affirmative Action obligations. Here is just a quick, non-exhaustive checklist to highlight many of your affirmative action to-dos:

  1. Are you “listing” your job openings with the nearby unemployment agencies?
  2. Are you asking your job applicants to self-identify their gender, race, veteran status and whether they are disabled or not?
  3. Are you asking those individuals that you have given an offer of employment to self-identify again their veteran status and whether ...

Everyone rings in the New Year differently – some with a party with friends and family, sparkling grape juice with their kids, traveling to a new destination or watching the ball drop in Times Square. Whatever tradition you choose to bring in the new year, the one thing we can all count on is that there will be new employment laws waiting for you on your desk come January 2nd (if not already).

Paid sick leave laws in many states are requiring that you pay your employees to take time off when ill, to care for an ill family member, or to go to the doctor. The federal Department of Labor is even ...

Last week, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) – although divided – affirmed that Southcoast Hospitals Group violated unionized workers’ rights under Section 8(a)(3) and (1) of the National Labor Relations Act when the hospital created an open position hiring and transfer policy that gave unrepresented workers preference over unionized employees at the non-unionized hospitals.

Southcoast, located in Massachusetts, was comprised of 3 hospitals and 20 ancillary locations. The unionized employees made up 215 of the 550 employees who worked at one of the three ...

As California employers are well aware, the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) gives employees certain leave rights for medical conditions, similar to the federal Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  However, starting July 1, 2015, the regulations are updated to align more with FMLA in certain areas and to clarify areas where CFRA is different than FMLA.

CFRA alignment includes:

  • “Covered employers” now contains successors in interest and joint employers are defined similar to FMLA;
  • Spouse is defined to include same-sex spouses as FMLA;
  • When calculating the 12 months of ...

This is the first time since 1974 that the protected classes for affirmative action contractors have been modified.  The effective date for compliance is April 8, 2015 for any new or modified contracts (more than $10,000). At this time, you must begin implementing the new requirements related to sexual orientation and gender identity applicants and employees. The OFCCP held webinars in March to give contractors guidance on what they are expecting out of these new requirements.  Here is what we learned:

  • It is encouraged that all affirmative action contractors should follow these ...

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 ...

California: Effective January 1, 2015, the required paid for rest periods are considered “hours worked” by the employee, and, consequently, are not subject to wage deductions by the employer.  (California also has special requirements for making any deductions from their paychecks that you should be aware of before making any).

Colorado: Minimum wage rose to $8.23 per hour on January 1 

Connecticut: As of the first of the year, CT’s minimum wage went to $9.15 per hour.  Are you aware there is a paid sick leave law in CT?  If not, be sure to contact your employment counsel or the ...

Arizona:  In July, the Attorney General confirmed that the AZ smoking restrictions do not apply to e-cigs.

California: Employers, get ready to start having to offer paid sick leave beginning July 1, 2015 if you aren’t already!  See our September 16, 2014 post for more details.  Also, beginning January 1, 2015, unpaid interns and volunteers are getting the same nondiscrimination and harassment treatment as paid workers, including non-harassment training.

Connecticut:  Starting October 1, 2014, workers may obtain certificates of rehabilitation related to their ...

“Equality in the workplace is not only the right thing to do, it turns out to be good business.”  – U.S. President Barack Obama, July 21, 2014

On July 21, 2014, President Obama – in allegiance to his commitment to the LGBT community – signed an Executive Order that amends Executive Order 11246 giving workplace protections to those applicants and employees seeking work from federal contractors and subcontractors by specifically prohibiting contractor discrimination based upon not only a person’s sexual orientation, but now their gender identity too.  Unlike the Hobby ...

Florida: After much debate in the lower courts, it is settled – employers may not discriminate against pregnant workers in FLA (you couldn’t before under Federal law, but FLA confirms the same).

Iowa:  If you have to notify at least 500 state residents including your employees and applicants of any potential personal information security breach, you must also notify the Iowa Attorney General’s Office of the same.

Maryland: Do you have between 15 – 49 employees?  If so, beginning October 1, 2014, you must provide similar FMLA leave of up to 6 unpaid weeks for parental ...

Federal:   The OFCCP has published the data for federal contractors and subcontractors who must now comply with having protected veteran benchmarks for their affirmative action plans and hiring goals.  Currently, that nationwide threshold is 7.2% unless the contractor wants to create its own individualized benchmarks, to which that state specific veteran data is supplied. 

That is not all.  Contractors are now required to also request individuals to self-identify if they are an individual with a disability pre-offer stage.  Again, the OFCCP has given us guidance on how to do ...

Federal:   Federal Contractors be on alert! In an attempt to get Congressional support to raise the federal minimum wage for all workers, President Obama announced that he was going to be issuing an Executive Order that will require federal contract employers to pay workers a minimum wage of $10.10 per hour on any new federal contracts.  This could happen as soon as the next week or so.

The NLRB poster rule has gone by the wayside.  The NLRB gave up its fight to require all private employers to post the union-friendly poster by allowing the Supreme Court’s review deadline to pass ...

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

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