HR Legalist

HR Legalist

Employment Law Updates
& Best Practices for Employers

DHS Announces Immigration Benefits Just Weeks Before Trump is Inaugurated

Posted in Immigration

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently issued a final rule related to certain employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant visa programs.  The rule is set to go into effect on January 17, 2017, just days before Donald Trump’s inauguration as President.  The final rule is intended to conform regulations with long standing DHS practice and the statutory provisions of the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998, or AC21, which introduced a number of measures intended to better enable U.S. employers to employ and retain high skilled foreign workers who are beneficiaries of employment-based immigrant visa petitions.  It remains to be seen if Mr. Trump will push to eliminate these measures and/or fundamentally change the current employment immigration system that is currently in place. Continue Reading

Season’s Greetings: Three Recent Wage and Hour Developments that Employers can be Thankful For

Posted in General Labor and Employment News and Updates

Overview

With leaves falling, temperatures dropping, and Thanksgiving less than a day away, Americans are rapidly gearing up for the 2016 Holiday Season—the magical time between Black Friday and New Year’s when retailers kick into high gear, homes and storefronts are decorated to the nines, radio playlists take on a different tune, and we all eat with impunity. This year’s holiday season also marks a time for reflection and prediction, as legal commentators (and just about everyone else) contemplate the many changes the incoming presidential administration might bring. Continue Reading

Christmas Comes Early — Texas Court Blocks New Overtime Rule Nationwide Saving Employers Millions of Dollars

Posted in Fair Labor Standards Act

Overtime Clock 000067070143_Full Yesterday, Texas District Court Judge Amos L. Mazzant issued an order that immediately blocks the implementation of the Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) new overtime rule to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), which was scheduled to go into effect on December 1, 2016. In order to comply with the new overtime rule, employers across the country were preparing either to raise certain employee salaries substantially, or, in the alternative, pay overtime to employees who had previously been classified as exempt. Continue Reading

New I-9 Form Now in Effect

Posted in I-9, Immigration

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.  The previous version of the form will be accepted only until January 22, 2017.

What’s different about the new Form I-9? The form has been updated to make it easier to complete and print using a computer.  Changes include prompts to ensure accuracy of information, drop-down lists, on-screen instructions, and other enhancements.  The new form includes a supplemental page for the preparer and/or translator.  The form’s instructions have also been separated from the form, consistent with other USCIS forms.  Continue Reading

Predicting the Unpredictable — Labor and Employment Law Under President-Elect Trump

Posted in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Government, NLRB

It’s been almost two weeks since Donald Trump was elected president, and information has been starting to emerge about his potential administration and policies. This week, HR Legalist examines some of the potential developments that employers can expect in the areas of labor and employment law during the Trump administration.  Of course, our readers should bear in mind that these are merely predictions based on statements made by President-elect Trump on the campaign trail and may not come to fruition during his presidency. Continue Reading

EEOC Continues to Slam the Brakes on Employer Dress Code Policies

Posted in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Workplace Policies

Nearly all employers maintain a dress code, oftentimes for different reasons. For example, service employees may be required to wear uniforms so that customers can easily identify them. Likewise, construction and manufacturing employees may be required to wear protective clothing to mitigate safety risks. Although state and federal anti-discrimination legislation recognizes an employer’s legitimate need for a dress code, the EEOC continues to take aim at employers who fail to engage in the interactive process when employees request a religious accommodation. The interactive process consists of good faith dialogue between the employer and the employee regarding potential accommodations that may be acceptable to the employee without placing an undue hardship on the employer’s business. Continue Reading

Fast Food Franchisor may be on the Fast Track to a Decision Concerning Joint Employer Status

Posted in NLRB

The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB’) recently issued several precedent-breaking decisions that have the potential to expose franchisors to joint employer liability across the county.

On October 12, 2016, a new development arose in the appeal of one such NLRB matter between franchisor McDonald’s USA, LLC (“McDonald’s”), its franchisees, and a number of employees, over this joint employer dispute. After 65 days of hearings before the NLRB, the parties agreed to sever the complaints involving franchisees in New York and Philadelphia from the complaints that arose in Chicago, Indianapolis, Sacramento and Los Angeles. (McDonald’s USA, LLC, NLRB ALJ, No. 02-CA-093893, order 10/12/16). Those cases will be held in abeyance until a final determination is reached on the New York and Philadelphia matters.  Administrative Law Judge Lauren Esposito approved the agreement to sever in the interest of efficiency. Continue Reading

“Backlash Discrimination” and “Complex Employment Relationships” at the Heart of the EEOC’s 2017-2021 Strategic Enforcement Plan

Posted in Discrimination, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

On October 17, 2016, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC” or “Commission”) unveiled the adoption of its 2017-2021 Strategic Enforcement Plan (“SEP”). The SEP, which was approved by a 3-2 vote, outlines the Commission’s goals and strategies for enforcing the anti-discrimination laws under its purview for the next four years. On the whole, the agency’s chief substantive enforcement priorities remain largely unchanged. Similar to the 2012-2016 iteration, the updated SEP reaffirms the Commission’s focus on the following six substantive areas:

  1. Eliminating Barriers in Recruitment and Hiring;
  2. Protecting Vulnerable Workers, Including Immigrant and Migrant Workers, and Underserved Communities from Discrimination;
  3. Addressing Selected Emerging and Developing Issues;
  4. Ensuring Equal Pay Protections for All Workers;
  5. Preserving Access to the Legal System; and
  6. Preventing Systemic Harassment.

Continue Reading

Employer Best Practices For Curbing “Locker Room Talk” At the Office

Posted in Workplace Policies

As you are probably aware, “locker room talk” has become a recent issue in the news. Hopefully, we can all agree that the office is not the place for such crude remarks.  But how can managers effectively curb such offensive language – especially if the office environment is full of banter among co-workers? Continue Reading