Legal Issues

HR Management, Legal Issues

Do You Need a Policy If Recreational Marijuana Is Legal in Your State?

Photo by istockphoto.com

Oregon will soon join a handful of other states, as well as the District of Columbia, in legalizing recreational marijuana.

As of July 1, 2015, anyone 21 or older can legally possess marijuana within the state of Oregon, and employers should be asking: What is the potential impact on the workplace?

Human resource professionals, who don’t consider this question now, may be surprised by the variety of issues they’ll face as the legalization date approaches. Read more…

Compensation, Legal Issues

FLSA Changes Could Make Many Retail Managers Non-Exempt Employees

flsa

By John E. Thompson

Expectations are that the U.S. Labor Department’s proposed regulations re-defining the federal Fair Labor Standards Act‘s executive, administrative, professional, outside-sales, and derivative exemptions will be released in the next few weeks, if not within days.

As we have said, these provisions will probably include:

  • A substantial increase in the minimum salary amount; and,
  • A significant narrowing of the duties-related requirements. Read more…
HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

When Should You Ask a Job Applicant About Their Religious Beliefs?

Head scarf

By Eric B. Meyer

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc.

In Abercrombie, the company did not hire a woman who wore a headscarf at her interview, because she did not conform to the company’s Look Policy.

The issue before the Supreme Court was whether an employer can be liable under Title VII for refusing to hire an applicant or discharging an employee based on a “religious observance and practice” only if the employer has actual knowledge that a religious accommodation was required, and, the employer’s actual knowledge resulted from direct, explicit notice from the applicant or employee. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Court Takes EEOC to the Woodshed For Overreach on Background Checks

eeoc

You might recall last August’s stinging comments from celebrated Judge Roger Titus of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland that were directed at the EEOC when he dismissed their case against Freeman Companies for what the commission alleged as discriminatory hiring practices related to Freeman’s use of criminal background checks and credit reports.

Judge Titus used words like “laughable,” “unreliable,” and “mind boggling.”

Instead of heeding the judge’s remarks and conceding their overreach, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission appealed his ruling to the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Richmond, VA. At issue was the testimony of the EEOC’s expert witness, Dr. Kevin R. Murphy, which was excluded by the lower court. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

New York Attorney General Proposes Regulation of Payroll Cards

payroll-card

By Jason Storipan

Following his office’s 2013 investigation into payroll cards and release of a report on the issue in 2014, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman recently sent legislation regarding the use of payroll cards by employers to pay employees to the State Legislature for consideration and action.

A payroll card is a debit card used by employers to pay employees’ wages in lieu of payment by paper check or direct deposit. Each payday, the employer deposits an employee’s wages electronically into an account connected to a payroll card. The employee then uses the card to access the funds similar to using a traditional bank issued debit card. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Yes, Your Independent Contractors SHOULD Release Employment Claims

123RF Stock Photo

Editor’s Note: Weekly Wrap is taking the week off. It will return next Friday.

By Eric B. Meyer

Here’s a thought: Consider requiring your new independent contractors to release employment claims.

What the hell are you talking about, Eric? Why would we make an independent contractor sign a release of employment claims before starting work for our company?

I’m so glad you asked.   Read more…

Legal Issues, TLNT Events

Ban-the-Box and Other Pre-Employment Dilemmas

Finding qualified applicants for jobs is a constant challenge for reasons that go beyond simply finding individuals with the necessary skills, experience, training and education.

Employers must also identify candidates who fit with a company’s culture, who will work well with others, and who will be trustworthy and help solve, rather than create, employment-related issues.

As a result, many employers have adopted processes designed to identify latent issues with applicants, such as criminal history inquiries and background checks.

While employers took these steps with relatively limited legal restriction or government oversight for many years, trends such as “ban-the-box” are now sweeping the country. Agencies like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are taking aggressive action to combat perceived areas for potential discrimination and unfairness in pre-employment inquiries.

Join our free webinar on Wednesday, March 25 to learn more about the current trends and how your can continue to recruit the right candidates while protecting your company from potential litigation.

Our speakers, Foley & Lardner LLP employment law attorneys Christopher Ward and John Litchfield will cover current legislative and enforcement trends and explore the best ways for employers to continue to takediligent efforts to identify strong candidates while remaining on the right side of the law during this season of rapid development.

Who should attend?

If your role involves you with pre-employment checks, you should join us on Wednesday, March 25.

The webinar will fill up fast. Register for free to reserve your seat now.

Can’t attend? No problem! Register for the webinar and you’ll receive a link to view the video recording the next day.

Registration Link:  https://cc.readytalk.com/r/t35wpskqg9h7&eom

Date/Time:  Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at 2 pm Eastern/11 am Pacific.

Sponsored by:  First Advantage

Compensation, Legal Issues

More Erroneous Nonsense on Tipped Wages, Courtesy of the Labor Dept.

minimum wage

By John E. Thompson

A recent post appearing on the U.S. Department of Labor’s blog begins, “The federal tipped minimum wage has been $2.13/hour since 1991. That’s right – it’s been the same for nearly a quarter century.

Actually, that’s wrong.

As we explained previously, there is no such thing as a purportedly lower “tipped minimum wage.” The federal Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage for tipped employees is precisely the same as for all other non-exempt, non-tipped workers: $7.25 an hour at present. Read more…

Benefits, Legal Issues

Can Employers Mandate Vaccinations During a Disease Outbreak?

measles

By Paul Starkman

Recently, vaccinations and public health have dominated the national conversation.

Much of the focus is on the more than 141 confirmed cases of measles in the United States. Measles has been confirmed in 19 states and Washington D.C., including 107 cases in California.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. It spreads through the air through coughing and sneezing. Measles can be serious, even deadly, especially for children younger than 5-years-old and those with weakened immune systems such as people battling cancer. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Do You Have to Pay an Employee for Mandatory Alcohol Treatment?

© creative soul - Fotolia

By Eric B. Meyer

Are you required to pay an employee for mandatory alcohol treatment?

More specifically, as posed in this recent federal court decision, “when an employer requires an employee to attend alcohol counseling and treatment sessions as a condition of keeping her job, must the employer compensate the employee for the time she spends in counseling and treatment?”

The three plaintiffs, New York police offers, identified three aspect of counseling that they claim they were required to undertake: Read more…