HR Legalist

HR Legalist

Employment Law Updates
& Best Practices for Employers

The NLRB “Steals” Christmas with New “Ambush” Election Rules

Posted in Ambush Elections, Labor Relations, NLRB

Feeling the holiday spirit, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) (i.e., management’s “Grinch”) has stolen any chance for employers to enjoy the holidays, while bestowing another significant Christmas gift on Big Labor—new union representation election rules (or as many are calling them, the Ambush Election Rules). Adding another tool to Big Labor’s organizing arsenal, the NLRB’s gift will surely be the gift that keeps on giving! Continue Reading

NLRB Hands Unions An Early Christmas Gift – Employees Given Right To Use Company E-Mails To Organize

Posted in Labor Relations

Today, in an anxiously awaited decision, the National Labor Relations Board gave unions an early Christmas present by overturning a previous ruling and providing employees the right to use their employer’s email system to actively communicate about union organizing.  In Purple Communications, Inc., 361 NLRB No. 126 (2014), a divided Board held that, absent justification for a total ban on non-work related emails, employees who have been given access to an employer’s email system have the right to use that system for communications that are protected by the National Labor Relations Act.  Those protected rights include the right to organize, campaign on a union’s behalf and discuss (or complain) about terms and conditions of employment. Continue Reading

Supreme Court Says Employers Don’t Always Have To Pay Under The FLSA (Really!)

Posted in Fair Labor Standards Act

What do you know, the Supreme Court has issued another employer-friendly decision on an interesting wage-and-hour issue!  This time, on December 9, 2014, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Fair Labor Standards Act does not require employers to pay employees for the time spent completing post-shift security screens designed to prevent theft.  Needless to say, this decision represents a solid victory for employers and – despite the seemingly narrow issue of post-shift security screening – one that could have a broad reach and favorable implications for employers in the foreseeable future. Continue Reading

Congress Acts To Help Employers That Are Compelled By State Or Local Laws To Exclude Employees With Certain Criminal Histories

Posted in Hiring

Employers across a number of industries are required by state or local laws to exclude from their workforce employees with certain criminal backgrounds.  For example, Ohio state law prohibits school districts from employing teachers who have been convicted of specific crimes regardless of when the conviction occurred.  The specific crimes include growing or dealing marijuana and convictions for domestic violence.  Continue Reading

Placing “Limits” on “Unlimited” Vacation Policies

Posted in Workplace Policies

With flexibility and work-life balance becoming increasingly important to employees, employers are rethinking the concept of vacation time as a fringe benefit; and some employers are responding to the needs of their employees by enacting “unlimited vacation” policies. Most members of America’s workforce have grown accustomed to the traditional vacation leave policies where employees earn or accrue vacation days based on seniority or a set formula – companies offering unlimited vacation take a strikingly different approach. The key feature of an unlimited vacation policy is its flexibility – employees can take any form of paid time off (PTO) such as personal leave, sick time or vacation, in any manner or combination they wish and theoretically without any limitations. Continue Reading

WARNING: Don’t Forget About OSHA’s Crowd Safety Requirements During The Black Friday Frenzy

Posted in Uncategorized

Every year, Black Friday, the annual day-after Thanksgiving sales event, draws a record number of shoppers. In 2013, the National Retail Federation reported that 137 million shoppers participated in Black Friday. With the number of customers reaching record highs and prices at seasonal lows, employers should beware of the inevitable crowd management issues that Black Friday presents.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers have a general duty to provide a safe workplace for employees.  This duty includes maintaining a work environment that is free of recognized hazards that are likely to cause serious bodily injury or death. In recent years, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has made it clear to employers and retail store owners that crowd control preparation and precaution is necessary to avoid the obvious safety risk presented by the large crowds that are drawn by the holiday’s major sales event.  Continue Reading

Bah Humbug! The Top 5 Things to Keep in Mind When Planning an Office Holiday Party

Posted in Uncategorized, Workplace Policies

Last year HRLegalist offered Eight Tips for a Problem-Free Office Holiday Celebration. This year we’ve complemented that most excellent advice with a few more suggestions to help your company foster a festive holiday spirit while avoiding headaches – of the legal and literal variety!

Office holiday parties can be an opportunity to celebrate and bond with employees, but the combination of gift giving, religious celebration, and alcohol can leave employers open to a host of problems if the annual season’s festivities aren’t planned with an eye for detail. HR departments and the office party planner should consider the following when getting into the holiday spirit: Continue Reading

Executive Action on Immigration Expected as Early as This Week

Posted in Immigration, Uncategorized

President Obama is preparing to announce a 10-point plan to overhaul U.S. immigration policy via executive action, according to a draft proposal, that could add as many as five million new legal workers. The president is expected to make the announcement shortly after his return from the Asia Summit. Our readers doubtless are aware that the United States is home to roughly 12 million illegal immigrants. Voices from across the political spectrum have long called for reform of the nation’s immigration system. As Chief Executive, the president is responsible for administration of our immigration system. Invoking his executive authority, the president proposes a 10-point plan to expand employment authorization, increase the number of skilled worker visas, heighten border security, and increase deportations of criminal aliens.  Four of the president’s proposed measures are of particular note because they will result in a dramatic increase in the number of foreign workers who will be joining the legal workforce, paying taxes, completing I-9s, driving cars, enrolling in schools, obtaining car and health insurance, and participating more robustly in the U.S. economy. These four measures are: Continue Reading

Updated New Jersey Poster Required – Minimum Wage Increase Coming!

Posted in Uncategorized, Wage & Hour

An updated Wage and Hour Law Abstract poster has recently been issued by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The poster now reflects the new minimum wage of $8.38, which is effective January 1, 2015—this is an increase of 13 cents an hour from the current minimum wage of $8.25. Employers are required to provide all employees with notice of the new minimum wage by posting the updated poster on or before January 1, 2015. Note:  If the notice is posted before the new minimum wage takes effect, New Jersey employers must continue to post both the current and updated Wage and Hour Law Abstract posters until January 1, 2015. The posters can be viewed hereContinue Reading