HR Legalist

HR Legalist

Employment Law Updates
& Best Practices for Employers

U.S. Government Expands Job Opportunities for Foreign STEM Students

Posted in H-1B, Immigration

Desk Globe w Graduation Cap 76304937_LargeAs HR Legalist has reported, the H-1B Cap has been met for FY2017.  USCIS received over 236,000 petitions.   From among this number were selected the congressionally mandated limit of 65,000 regular cap H-1B petitions, and an additional 20,000 for those with Master’s degrees.  For  F-1 student applicants who were unsuccessful in this year’s H-1B Cap lottery, and who are graduates in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics) the chances of eventually being granted an H-1B visa are now much better. Continue Reading

Uber Drivers to Remain Independent Contractors…For Now

Posted in Fair Labor Standards Act

man opening car door UBER LargeUber, the independent taxi service where you can “drive your car and be your own boss,” has long attracted controversy for classifying its drivers as independent contractors and not employees. Class-action lawsuits claiming that Uber has abused and misused the 1099 form have been filed and certified in courts across the nation, including California, Massachusetts, Arizona, Florida, and Pennsylvania.

Last week, the California and Massachusetts suits settled for the combined sum of $84 million (plus an additional $16 million if the company goes public and its valuation increases 1.5 fold during fiscal year 2016).  In exchange, among other concessions—such as increasing transparency for individual driver ratings—drivers in the Golden and Bay States have agreed to remain independent contractors.  While $100 million might sound like quite the pretty penny, it is a small price to pay in comparison to Uber’s billions of dollars of annual gross bookings.   It is no surprise that many legal commentators (and even Uber itself) view the settlement as a victory. Continue Reading

“Up in Smoke – Are Employers Required to Accommodate Medical Marijuana Use?”

Posted in Workplace Policies

Medical Marijuana 000057621940_Large For reasons that are subject to debate, 4/20 has become known as a holiday for those who enjoy marijuana.  However, over the course of many years, the face of “pot culture” has changed to include not only those lighting up for recreational purposes, but also individuals suffering from chronic diseases seeking a better way to manage their symptoms.  This past Sunday, April 17th,  Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed a bill legalizing marijuana use—in pill, oil, vapor, liquid or topical form—for 17 qualifying diagnosed conditions.  In neighboring New Jersey, medical users can smoke in private, but legal use is limited to around 10 specific medical conditions, or any imminent terminal illness, with doctor approval. Continue Reading

H-1B Visa Lottery Completed

Posted in H-1B, Immigration

According to a recent study, the odds of winning a Powerball jackpot is 1 in 175,223,510.  The odds of an amateur golfer making a hole in one on a par-3 hole are 1 in 12,500.  Compared to these extremely unlikely events, the recently completed H-1B lottery presents a more optimistic picture.  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it received nearly 233,000 H-1B petitions for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016.  On April 13th, USCIS completed the lottery to select enough petitions to meet the 65,000 general-category cap and the 20,000 cap under the advanced degree exemption.  The odds of having been selected are just over 1 in 4, bad news for the nearly 75% of applicants who did not have luck on their side.   While we eagerly await a reform of our immigration system and an increase in the artificially low cap of 65,000, here’s what H-1B applicants can now expect now that the lottery is completed:  applicants can expect to receive either a Form I-797 Receipt Notice (if successful in the lottery) or a notice of rejection, along with their unselected petition with filing fees.  Petitions filed via Premium Processing have already started receiving electronic receipt notices if successful in the lottery; these petitions will receive a response within fifteen days of the receipt date noted on the official I-797 receipt notice.  Successful petitions filed via regular processing will begin receiving receipt notices within four to six weeks, and a USCIS response within five to six months.  Continue Reading

Decision 2016: Do Employees Get Time Off to Vote?

Posted in Workplace Policies

2016 USA badge 73690229_LargeWith the 2016 Presidential primary elections in full swing, employers should be informed about their obligations as to when an employee requests time off to visit the polls. An employer’s obligation varies by state law and there is no federal law that mandates an employer to provide time off for employees to cast their ballots.  Currently, only thirty-one (31) states have voter leave laws.* Some of those states even require employers to provide paid voting leave.  Further, certain states require employers to post notice of employee voting rights before every election. Employers should be mindful that in addition to voter leave laws, many states have statutory provisions pertaining to employee rights with respect to serving as an election official and/or participating in political activity.

Read on to find out what the law is in your state. Continue Reading

U.S. Women’s Soccer Scores Visibility for Pay Discrimination

Posted in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Soccer women_000071030399_LargeAs our readers may have heard, the star members of the U.S. women’s soccer team filed a wage discrimination complaint against the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In the complaint, the players cite USSF figures from last year showing that they were paid, on average, 40% of their male counterparts’ pay despite generating more revenue. Continue Reading

What Employers Should Be Aware of with Medical Marijuana in the Workplace

Posted in Workplace Policies

Employment Law Lawyer, Larry Besnoff, discusses what employers should be aware of with medical marijuana in the workplace.

Larry Besnoff is a partner in Obermayer’s Labor Relations and Employment Law Department practicing in the area of employment and labor litigation. He can be reached at 215.665.3126 or




DOL Publishes Final Rule Requiring Employers to Disclose Persuader Agreements

Posted in Labor Relations

For many years, employers have been able to lawfully avoid certain reporting requirements under the Labor Management and Reporting Disclosure Act which compels the disclosure of agreements with outside consultants/“persuaders” – i.e. individuals retained for the express purpose of attempting to convince employees not to organize a union. This “advice exemption,” eliminates the employer’s reporting requirements if the outside consultant/persuader does not make direct contact with employees and merely advises and assists the employer in combating union organizing activities. Continue Reading

Spring Cleaning – Check Your Background Disclosure Form For FCRA Violations

Posted in FCRA, Hiring

businessman with magnifying glass reading contractIn a trend that show no signs of slowing down, lawsuits continue to be filed against employers for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act’s (“FCRA”) strict requirements concerning background check disclosure forms. If the past is any indication of the future, many of the lawsuits, some of which are class action, will settle prior to going to trial but the costs will still be in the thousands and even millions of dollars in damages and legal fees.  Time spent reviewing your background disclosure form may be a worthwhile investment. Continue Reading