By Ed Ellis, Gregory Keating, and Stephen Melnick
In Lawson v. FMR LLC, the U.S. Supreme Court massively expanded the scope of the anti-retaliation provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), from 4,500 publicly held companies to millions of private companies that are “contractors,” “subcontractors” or “agents” of a publicly held company.
Going forward, privately held employers should be aware that SOX provides a remedy for almost all U.S. employees who suffer adverse employment actions for reporting fraud. Employers should train their management and human resources personnel to identify potential employment issues of this type and remedy them before they become costly litigation. Read more…
By Shanon R. Stevenson
The Hunger Games Katniss Everdeen’s bow and arrow will not help employers on April 1, 2014 when the competition for H-1B work visas begins.
On April 1, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) begins accepting H-1B petitions for foreign workers in professional or specialty occupation jobs to fill the 65,000 available slots for applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent and the 20,000 available slots for applicants who hold a U.S. master’s degree or higher. Read more…
By John E. Thompson
President Obama has instructed the U.S. Department of Labor to revise the federal Fair Labor Standards Act‘s so-called “white collar” exemptions in a “Presidential Memorandum” released on March 13.
This effort is intended (as The New York Times put it apparently in light of a White House briefing) to “force American businesses to pay more overtime to millions of workers …”
Since the FLSA’s 1938 enactment, its Section 13(a)(1) has exempted executive, administrative, professional, and outside-sales employees from its minimum-wage and overtime requirements. The FLSA specifically tasks the U.S. Secretary of Labor (not the President) with “defin[ing] and delimit[ing]” these exemptions. The current regulations were last revised in 2004. Read more…
In what could be BIG news for employers, President Obama is directing the U.S. Department of Labor to issue proposed regulations that would expand the number of employees who are eligible for overtime.
The regulations would raise the minimum salary an employee must receive to fall under the white collar exemption of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Right now, the salary threshold is $455 per week (roughly $24,000 a year). While it’s not clear what the new threshold would be, some speculate that it could more than double.
One recent proposal would raise the limit to $984 per week (about $50,000 a year). Under that scenario, experts estimate that more than 5 million employees would be entitled to overtime who currently are not. Read more…
By Ilyse Wolens Schuman
This week, the White House released its $3.9 trillion budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2015.
While such proposals are more aspirational than anything else, they do provide insight into the programs and initiatives the Administration deems priorities for the coming year. The budget for the U.S. Department of Labor is notable because it reflects the Agency’s continued emphasis on enforcement.
The proposal would grant the Labor Department $11.8 billion in discretionary funding, much of which would support the enforcement of wage and hour, worker misclassification, whistleblower, and employment safety laws. Read more…
Earlier this week, amidst all the Valentine’s Day-themed surveys and pitches, I got something interesting from XpertHR, the website that provides online compliance tools and guidance for HR professionals.
The interesting part was this: it was labeled as the “11 Scariest Issues Employers Face in 2014.”
Now, I get lots of pitches with surveys and reports that have equally ominous-sounding titles, but most don’t hold up to focused scrutiny. The difference in this report from XpertHR was that what they were touting as scary issues that employers face really DO seem pretty scary for anyone managing a business and a workforce. Read more…
By. John E. Thompson
Considerable concern and confusion has arisen from President Obama’s State of the Union announcement that he will raise the minimum wage for individuals working on federal contracts to $10.10 per hour.
Until it is possible to study any Executive Order(s) he issues on the matter, the precise meaning, parameters, and effects of what he intends to do will remain unclear. As of this writing, no such order has been published in the Federal Register. Read more…
By John E. Thompson
Some recent headline items touch upon matters of continuing concern when it comes to wage & hour issues:
Hypocrisy on minimum wage
The Employment Policies Institute has highlighted what it calls Maximum Hypocrisy on the Minimum Wage among 96 percent of the Senate and House sponsors of bills to raise the federal Fair Labor Standards Act‘s current rate.
According to EPI, this is the proportion of increase-supporting legislators who do not pay their interns. One of them is Iowa Sen.Tom Harkin, principal sponsor of the Senate measure, who has been among the most-visible proponents of the bills and who has castigated those of a different view in harsh terms. Read more…
By Carolyn A. Pellegrini
Wondering what to expect this year in the employment law world? Take a look at my predictions below.
1. State and local minimum wage laws
The New Year brings with it increases in the minimum wage in California, Florida, and New Jersey. Additionally, certain local governments are also raising their minimum wages, including Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Read more…
By John E. Thompson
Yet another “misclassification” bill introduced in the U.S. Senate would impose new prohibitions, requirements, and penalties relating to categorizing a worker as being either an employee or a non-employee.
The “Payroll Fraud Prevention Act of 2013” (S. 1687) would among other things make it a freestanding violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act “to wrongly classify an employee … as a non-employee …” Read more…