Immigration Enforcement and Deadlines: A Pause for Disasters

Posted in Immigration Planning & Compliance

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has put a hold on immigration enforcement operations in areas affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Routine non-criminal immigration enforcement operations will not be conducted at evacuation sites, or assistance centers such as shelters or food banks, according to a joint announcement issued by ICE and US Customs and Border Protection in connection with Hurricane Harvey.  Continue Reading

Florida Supreme Court: Referral Sources Can Be Protected By A Non-Compete

Posted in Employment Litigation, Non-Compete & Trade Secret Litigation

Big news for home health agencies and others whose business comes from referral sources: the Florida Supreme Court just held that referral sources are the kind of protectable business interest that will support a non-compete agreement. Home health agencies, like other health care businesses, routinely use non-compete agreements to prevent marketing employees from leaving and going to work for direct competitors. But there have been conflicting rulings in Florida appellate courts as to whether those agreements can be used to prevent home health employees soliciting the physician practices and other referral sources of their previous employers when they go to work for a competitor. Under Florida Statute, 542.335, non-compete agreements can only be enforced if necessary to protect legitimate business interests, such as trade secrets and customer lists. Florida appellate courts had reached different conclusions as to whether referral sources could be protected interests, as they were not specifically listed in the statute. The Florida Supreme Court, in a decision published this week, has ruled that home health referrals sources can be a legitimate business interest worthy of protection under the statute. Continue Reading

Disasters and the Workforce: Navigating Stormy Waters

Posted in Employment Counseling & Workplace Claims Prevention, Wage & Hour, Workplace Safety & OSHA

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 the employer’s obligations to employees for the days employers chose not to open? Can the employer terminate employees who fail to report back to work, even if it’s because they cannot get there for reasons such as flooding? And what can employers do if they no longer have work for employees or if they want to help employees who still can’t report back to work? Continue Reading

Higher Costs for Highly Skilled Foreign Workers in Store for Employers?

Posted in Immigration Planning & Compliance

Despite the absence of new regulations or policies enacted following the President’s “Buy American and Hire American” Executive Order, a recent shift in the adjudication of H-1B visas indicates the Administration’s policy initiatives are already being accomplished behind the scenes. Employers should be aware that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is exercising greater scrutiny over H-1B petitions, issuing requests for evidence that are more challenging both in terms of number and tone. The greatest area of concern for USCIS: H-1B wage levels. Continue Reading

Dogged by Dogs at Work: Barking Up the Wrong Tree?

Posted in Disability, Employee Handbooks & Policies, Employment Counseling & Workplace Claims Prevention, Privacy

Suppose you hire Kristin Chenoweth to be your new TV show host, and she shows up on the set with her dog Thunder, claiming she needs the dog for emotional support. Must you allow this distraction?

Or suppose her third cousin shows up at your restaurant with Thunder’s twin bearing a “service animal tag,” yapping away and disturbing servers and diners alike. What must you tolerate at your business? Continue Reading

Heads Up: Employers Must Use Yet Another New I-9 Form

Posted in Immigration Planning & Compliance

Employers need to switch to yet another new I-9 Form on or before September 18, 2017. The latest update–the second revision to the I-9 since the beginning of the Trump Administration—does not reflect any significant substantive changes. But employers who fail to timely implement use of the new form risk being fined for non-compliance. Continue Reading

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

Posted in Employment & Consulting Contracts, Employment Counseling & Workplace Claims Prevention, Employment Investigations & Audits

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

Predictive Scheduling and the Fight for a “Fair Workweek”: What Employers Need to Know

Posted in Employment Counseling & Workplace Claims Prevention, Wage & Hour

Retailers and fast food companies in particular should be aware of the growing push for “fair workweek” legislation at the city, state, and federal levels. In just the past few years, over a dozen states and cities have considered enacting such laws, which are designed to ensure that employees are given consistent, predictable schedules. (They have therefore also been termed “predictive scheduling” laws.) To date, such legislation has been passed in San Francisco; Seattle; Emeryville, California; New York City; and, most recently, Oregon, where the bill is currently awaiting the governor’s signature. Continue Reading