Articles tagged 'Labor Dept.'

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

What Is an Intern? The Labor Dept. Lists the 6 Factors That Define One

internships

By John E. Thompson

We wrote some time ago about a lower federal court’s determination in Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures that at least two unpaid interns were “employees” for federal Fair Labor Standards Act purposes.

This ruling is now being reviewed by the New York-based Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (with jurisdiction over Connecticut, New York, and Vermont). The U.S. Department of Labor has submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in which it supports the lower court’s decision.

The Labor Department’s filing provides some interesting insight into its views about when an intern is an “employee” for purposes of the FLSA’s requirements. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

High Court Extends Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Law to Most Employees

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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…

HR Basics, Legal Issues

Get Ready, Because the H-1B Visa Games Are Ready to Begin

H-1B-Visa

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…

Compensation, HR News & Trends

Curtailing “White Collar” Overtime Exemptions Will Take a Lot of Work

No-overtime

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…

Compensation, HR News & Trends

President Obama Proposing Big Expansion of Overtime Rules

obama jobless

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…

HR News & Trends

President’s Budget Would Continue Push For More Workplace Enforcement

obama

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…

HR News & Trends

Weekly Wrap: The Scariest Issues Employers Are Facing Today

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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…

Compensation, HR News & Trends

The President’s Minimum Wage Decision: What Does it Really Mean?

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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…

Compensation, HR News & Trends

Wage & Hour Watch: Cheerleader Lawsuits and Hypocrisy on Intern Pay

Raiderettes

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…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Workplace Legal Issues We May Be Dealing With in 2014

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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…