HR Legalist

HR Legalist

Employment Law Updates
& Best Practices for Employers

Major Overtime Rule Changes are Coming – Are you Prepared?

Posted in Fair Labor Standards Act

Salary Graph Shows Increase In Work Earnings

Since 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) has set the federal minimum wage and mandated overtime pay (time and a half) for employees who work over 40 hours during a 7-day period.  The FLSA exempts employees from the minimum wage and overtime requirements if they are:

(1) paid a fixed salary (the “salary basis test”);

(2) paid at least the minimum salary (the “salary level test”); and

(3) assigned certain job duties and responsibilities (the “duties test”), including the so-called “white collar” exemptions for executive, administrative and professional employees. Continue Reading

New Family Medical Leave Act Forms Now Available Online from the Department of Labor

Posted in Family Medical Leave Act

Patient infoEffective immediately, employers have new versions of the seven DOL-issued Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) forms to use.  The revised forms are:

Continue Reading

Same-Sex Marriage is the Law of the Land: What’s Next for FMLA Benefits?

Posted in Family Medical Leave Act

United We StandFMLA Rights:

Earlier this year, HR Legalist announced the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Final Rule (29 C.F.R. § 825.102) that changed the regulatory definition of “spouse” under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to include all marriages that were lawfully recognized in the place where they were performed, regardless of where the couple actually lives.  The Final Rule was set to go into effect on March 27, 2015. Continue Reading

NLRB Rules that Racism is a Protected Activity

Posted in Discrimination, NLRB

ConfrontationAlthough no one reading this article would disagree with the premise that employers cannot and should not tolerate bigotry from anyone in their workforce, the NLRB apparently thinks otherwise.  In a troubling decision handed down earlier this month, National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) Administrative Law Judge Thomas M. Randazzo ruled that Cooper Tire & Rubber Company (“Cooper Tire”) violated the National Labor Relations Act (the “Act”) when it terminated an employee who hurled racist epithets at African-American replacement workers while the employee was on a picket line.  (See Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., Case 08–CA–087155. June 5, 2015)Incredulously, Judge Randazzo then fashioned a remedial order that required Cooper Tire to rehire the racist employee and pay him back pay – wages he would have earned had he not been terminated.  Considering that the employee was terminated in March of 2012, Cooper Tire may have to pay the racist employee more than three years of wages. Continue Reading

PA Judge Nixes Employees’ Negligence Claim for Data Security Breach

Posted in Employee Confidential Information, Security Breach

Red "SECURITY BREACH" revealed in green computer code through aOn May 28, 2015, in the first known ruling of its kind, a trial court in Allegheny County held that Pennsylvania law does not recognize a civil cause of action against companies for failing to secure its employees’ confidential information.

In Dittman v. UPMC, a class of plaintiffs brought negligence and implied contract claims against the defendant hospital for failing to implement and monitor an adequate security system, and for failing to properly detect a data security breach.  The purported class was composed of 62,000 University of Pittsburgh Medical Center current and former employees who had their personal information (Social Security numbers and confidential tax information), stolen from the company’s computer systems.  The Plaintiffs alleged that some even suffered actual losses when fraudulent tax returns were filed with the stolen information. Continue Reading

Heads or Tails? New Guidance from the Supreme Court Nearly Flips Religious Accommodations Law on Its Head

Posted in Hiring, Workplace Policies

Arabic businesswoman in officeOn Monday, June 1, 2015, the United States Supreme Court held that an employer may not refuse to hire an applicant if the need for a religious accommodation was a motivating factor in the employer’s decision, unless the accommodation would pose an undue hardship. In EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., U.S., No. 14-86 (June 1, 2015),  the justices almost unanimously reversed the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit that held that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) failed to make its religious accommodation claim under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (Title VII”) based on Abercrombie & Fitch’s (“Abercrombie”) failure to hire Samantha Elauf, a Muslim woman who was denied a job at an Abercrombie & Fitch retail store because she wore a hijab, or headscarf, for religious reasons. Continue Reading

FINRA Launches BrokerCheck Media Blitz

Posted in FINRA

iStock stock market thumbs up_23118882_The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) is the largest independent, not-for-profit regulator of securities firms conducting business in the United States.  FINRA is authorized by the United States Congress to provide regulatory oversight over registered brokers and firms, bring disciplinary actions against offending brokers/firms, and otherwise seek restitution for investors harmed by unfair business and trading practices. Continue Reading

Employment Retaliation Claims – Still Alive and Well (and Potentially Dangerous)

Posted in Retaliation

Man running from fingerFederal law and most state laws protect employees who complain about discrimination and harassment from retaliatory adverse employment actions (such as demotion or termination).  Because retaliation claims can succeed even when the underlying discrimination claims fail, they are popular with both plaintiff’s attorneys and the EEOC.  In 2013, the United States Supreme Court issued an opinion, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar, 133 S. Ct. 2517 (2013), requiring employees claiming retaliation under federal law to prove retaliation was the “but for” cause of the adverse action, not just a “motivating factor” in the employer’s decision. Continue Reading

Video Interview: Terri Gillespie Discusses Workplace Policies for Transgender Employees with LXBN TV

Posted in Discrimination, Workplace Policies

Following up on our recent post on the subject, Terri Gillespie had the opportunity to discuss workplace policies for transgender employees with Colin O’Keefe of LXBN. In the interview, Ms. Gillespie discusses what policies employers should have in place and the accommodations that should be made.

More than Just a TV Show: How Bruce Jenner’s Story Sheds Light on the Importance of Workplace Policies for Transgender Employees

Posted in Discrimination, Workplace Policies

Jenner shutterstock_59443381Last month in a nationally televised interview, U.S. Olympic icon Bruce Jenner revealed to the world that he is a transgender woman.  While the coming out process for the rest of the nearly 700,000 transgender Americans may not garner the attention that Jenner’s announcement did, it is very likely that these individuals must come out to their employers at some point before, during or after their transition.  However, if these employees do choose to come out, they are not protected from workplace discrimination or harassment based on their gender identity or expression by any federal law, and only 20 states offer such protections to transgender employees.    Locally, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, the Delaware Discrimination in Employment Act and the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance do prohibit discrimination based on an employee’s gender identity or expression. Continue Reading