Articles tagged 'Labor Dept.'

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Labor Dept. Says Again: No More Opinions For Employers on the FLSA

Labor Department DOL

By John E. Thompson

From the federal Fair Labor Standards Act‘s inception in 1938, employers sought, and officials of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division provided, official written explanations of how that law works in particular situations.

These “opinion letters” served as an important means by which the public could develop a clearer understanding of what FLSA compliance entailed.

The then-over-70-year practice of issuing opinions ended in March 2010. Now, in a presentation to the American Bar Association, current Wage and Hour Administrator David Weil has said that the Division will not resume the issuance of opinion letters. Read more…

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…

Compensation, Legal Issues

Labor Department Going After More Wage and Hour Laws Violations

Department-of-Labor-Seal-Plaque-L

Employees in New York and California are being cheated out of millions in wages by their employers, a new study reveals, and the U.S. Department of Labor wants to find more employers who are skirting the law.

The wage study was conducted by the Eastern Research Group and commissioned by the Labor Department to measure the possible socio-economic impacts of minimum wage violations in California and New York. These two states were selected for the study because of their large workforce. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Possible Impact of Obama’s Immigration Initiative: More FLSA Claims

Obama

By John E. Thompson

Lurking among the numerous considerations raised by President Obama’s “immigration accountability” initiative are the prospects that this action will result in more allegations by or on behalf of the affected individuals that they have not been paid in compliance with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

This could come in the form of lawsuits or administrative complaints by the workers themselves, or through enforcement measures by the U.S. Department of Labor in collaboration with other federal agencies and even with foreign governments. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

Labor Department Cracking Down on Employee Misclassifications

Department-of-Labor-Seal-Plaque-L

Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor awarded $10.2 million to 19 states to ramp up their enforcement activities “to implement or improve worker misclassification detection and enforcement initiatives in unemployment insurance programs.”

Specifically, the department is searching for businesses that misclassify workers as contractors instead of W-2 employees. The agency is losing out on millions of dollars each year in unpaid taxes, and they intend to find as much of it as possible.

Here are the states receiving the extra funds to increase their enforcement: California, New Mexico, Delaware, New York, Florida, Oregon, Hawaii, South Dakota, Idaho, Tennessee, Indiana, Texas, Maryland, Utah, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and New Jersey. Read more…

Compensation, HR News & Trends

Voter Actions Undercut Federal Push for $10.10 Minimum Wage

minimum wage

By John E. Thompson

Earlier this month, several states and localities voted in favor of increasing their minimum wage.

Right on cue, many (including U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez) seized upon these results as ostensibly supporting an increase in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act‘s rate to $10.10 per hour.

On the contrary, the developments emphasize that no such nationwide action is either wise or warranted. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

NLRB General Counsel Goes After McDonalds and Business Franchises

mcdonalds

By Michael J. Lotito

In a move that could have a dramatic impact on the franchise business model, National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Richard Griffin has announced that his office intends to name a parent franchisor as a respondent in cases involving alleged unfair labor practices committed by franchisees if the parties are unable to reach a settlement.

According to the Board, the agency is currently investigating the various charges, and may name the franchisor company — fast food giant McDonalds  – as a joint employer should a complaint be issued. Read more…

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

123RF Stock Photos

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…