Karen M. Buesing

Karen M. Buesing

Karen Buesing has 35 years of experience counseling and representing small and large employers in employment law matters. Karen is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and one of only 200 lawyers Board Certified by The Florida Bar as specialists in Labor & Employment Law. Chambers USA describes her as “passionate about helping her clients,” which include small and large businesses. In addition to counseling, she represents management in litigation before local, state, and federal agencies, state and federal courts, and arbitration panels.

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Screening for COVID-19? Update Your Protocol!

Employers screening for COVID-19 should consider updating their screening and other protocols following new guidance issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and a new study on how long the coronavirus can live on surfaces.

The new definition greatly expands persons who will be considered close contacts, and is just the latest change prompted by what scientists have … Continue Reading

Employers Not Racing to Implement Employee Payroll Tax Deferral

Offering eligible workers the option to suspend the employee share of Social Security payroll taxes through year-end may sound good at the moment, but concerns about next year are leaving many employers wary. Indeed, the Wall Street Journal reported that some of the nation’s largest employers have rejected the President’s payroll tax deferral plan, and Bloomberg reported that no major … Continue Reading

Screening Employees for Symptoms: Perils and Pointers

Screening employees for symptoms of COVID-19 is critical to limiting both the spread of the virus and a company’s exposure to claims that it did not do enough to protect its employees. But screening itself can create other liabilities, so you will want to be sure your process follows recommended federal, state and local regulations and guidance. Both the U.S. … Continue Reading

Avoiding Potential Workplace Claims Arising from Reopening of Businesses

As employers contemplate or commence reopening, they should be cognizant of potential workplace claims which are likely to escalate in the COVID-19 era. Such claims can arise out of a wide range of situations, including: deciding which employees should be brought back to the worksite first, which should be allowed to continue to telework and where there isn’t sufficient work, … Continue Reading

Re-Opening For Business: Is Your Workplace Ready?

Employers face a myriad of issues in thinking through whether and how to re-open for business after mandatory closures, or how to thoughtfully phase out teleworking models currently in place for ongoing enterprises. While federal, state, and local authorities haggle over who will decide which businesses can re-open and under what circumstances, employers should start preparing now. In particular for … Continue Reading

COVID-19 Inquiries and Disclosures in the Workplace

Once an employee has been exposed to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, what do you do? Once an employee has tested positive, what do you say? How does an employer walk the fine line between protecting the privacy of affected individuals and ensuring the safety of others in the workplace?

Because a national public health emergency has been … Continue Reading

Declaration of COVID-19 as a Pandemic Changes Rules for Employers

The World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020 finally acknowledged that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is a pandemic. That designation changes the rules for employers.

The standard for justifying disability-related inquiries and medical examinations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is now easier to meet, based on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Guidance for Pandemic Preparedness from … Continue Reading

Is it Time to Prioritize Making Websites and Mobile Apps Accessible?

Companies should take steps to ensure that their websites and mobile apps are accessible to persons who are blind or vision impaired, based on the Supreme Court’s recent refusal to review an appellate court decision that allowed a blind man to sue a national pizza chain under the Americans with Disabilities Act.… Continue Reading

Can Employers Refuse to Hire Smokers?

Are smokers in a protected class? Can a company refuse to hire them? After all, studies have repeatedly shown that smokers have higher absenteeism, are less productive and carry higher healthcare costs than non-smokers.

Not so fast. While smokers are not a protected class under federal anti-discrimination laws, statutes in more than half the states and the District of Columbia … Continue Reading

Disasters and the Workforce: Navigating Stormy Waters

Thousands of Florida coastal residents were ordered to evacuate last week in anticipation of Hurricane Irma, even as their employers remained open. A pizza restaurant manager made headlines when he threatened action against employees who chose to miss shifts to evacuate. Other employers instructed employees not to report and planned to close their offices part of this week. What are … Continue Reading

DOL Calling for Input: At What Salary Should A Worker Be Exempt From Overtime?

Now that the Department of Labor has gone back to the drawing board with the new regulation that set a $47,476 threshold salary for white collar employees to be exempt from overtime, it would like to hear from you.… Continue Reading

Minimum Wages Climb

Workers will now receive higher minimum wages mandated by state law in 19 states, effective this month. Florida’s minimum wage increased to $8.10 an hour from $8.05 an hour, effective January 1. Tipped employees in Florida are now entitled to receive a minimum of $5.08 an hour. Workers in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, … Continue Reading

The New Salary Regulations: The Saga Continues

While employers took solace from the Nov. 22 nationwide preliminary injunction which blocked implementation of a controversial rule increasing the salary threshold for employees to be exempt from overtime, the battle is not over. The Department of Labor filed its notice of appeal December 1, the same day the new salary regulations were to take effect.… Continue Reading

Long-Awaited New Overtime Rule Issued

Beginning December 1, 2016 employers will have to pay “white collar” workers a salary of $47,476 ($912 a week) and ensure that they meet certain job duties tests established by law or else pay them overtime, under new regulations issued this week by the U.S. Department of Labor. Bonuses and commissions can count toward as much as 10 percent of … Continue Reading

Pay Data Required in Proposed New EEO-1 Reporting Form

Employers with 100 or more employees will be required to submit pay data by race, sex, ethnicity and job category under proposed new revisions to the EEO-1 reporting form. The changes were announced Friday by the EEOC on the 7th anniversary of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and published today in the Federal Register. The additional data will … Continue Reading

The NLRB Expands Its Reach in the Non-Union Workplace

The National Labor Relations Board continues to infiltrate the workplace even where there are no unions. Standard workplace policies — including those relating to employee conduct, protecting intellectual property, use of personal electronics, and conflicts of interest — are unlawful, according to a recent memorandum issued by the NLRB General Counsel. Basic contract and policy provisions requiring employees to maintain … Continue Reading

Input Sought on New Rules to Extend Overtime to More Workers

Employers and other stakeholders have just a few weeks in which to provide input on proposed regulations which would raise the salary threshold for workers exempt from overtime to $50,440 a year. On July 6, 2015 the Department of Labor proposed new regulations which would result in extending overtime pay to an estimated five million workers. The regulations would tie … Continue Reading

EEOC Updates Guidance on Accommodating Pregnant Workers

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued revised pregnancy discrimination guidance setting forth a framework for assessing how far employers must go in accommodating pregnant employees, following the Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this year in Young v. United Parcel Serv., Inc.  In that case, the Court held that, although a policy of providing light duty only to certain workers was … Continue Reading

Even Planned Surgery May Be “Unforeseeable” Under the FMLA

Employees seeking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act are supposed to give 30 days’ notice if the need for leave is “foreseeable,” but what does “foreseeable” mean? Based on a recent 11th Circuit Court of Appeals decision, even elective surgery which could be planned far in advance, if “relatively urgent,” would not be foreseeable and thus not require … Continue Reading

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