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

DOJ About-Face: Supporting Class Action Waivers, Parting Ways with the NLRB

Posted in Employment Litigation, Labor Relations

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has just switched sides in a trio of high profile arbitration cases now pending before the Supreme Court, joining with the employers to argue that the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB’s) ban on the use of class action waivers in arbitration agreements oversteps its authority and is misguided. Continue Reading

Preparing for the Unknown: Open Enrollment 2017

Posted in Employee Benefits

With Open Enrollment season just around the corner, employers have been hoping for answers regarding the direction of health insurance under the Trump Administration. However, it’s looking like clarity is a long way off. Despite the lack of certainty, there are a handful of important issues employers should keep in mind:

Future of the Affordable Care Act

Although the Trump administration has been vocal regarding its intent to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act (ACA), efforts to do so have been slow going. The House of Representatives narrowly passed the American Health Care Act on May 4, 2017, however, efforts to pass a similar bill in the Senate have hit major roadblocks. Continue Reading