HR Legalist

HR Legalist

Employment Law Updates
& Best Practices for Employers

Temporary Worker Visa Update: USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for Cap-Subject H-1B Visas

Posted in H-1B, Immigration

On Monday, September 18, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a news release announcing an immediate resumption of Premium Processing for all H-1B visa petitions subject to the fiscal year 2018 cap. As summarized previously by HR Legalist, the H-1B status allows U.S. employers to hire foreign workers in “specialty occupations” where a bachelor’s or higher degree (or equivalent) is normally required. The “cap” refers to both the “regular cap” of 65,000 employees per year, and the 20,000 cap for individuals who have earned a U.S. master’s degree or higher (the “advanced degree exemption”).  Petitioners subject to the statutory cap, including most for-profit and private companies, must proceed through a computer-generated lottery process each April. Continue Reading

Workers’ Comp Release Doesn’t Cover FMLA Claims, Says Third Circuit

Posted in Family Medical Leave Act

Overview and Case Analysis

On Monday, September 11, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held, in a precedent-setting opinion, that a workers’ compensation compromise and release agreement (C&R) did not prevent a former Boscov’s employee from filing claims against its employer for violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Pennsylvania common law. The employee alleged that Boscov’s interfered with, and retaliated against him for exercising his FMLA rights and further retaliated against him for filing his workers’ compensation claim. Continue Reading

FLSA Successor Liability – More Than You Bargained For

Posted in Fair Labor Standards Act

A common method for business expansion is for one company to acquire another company’s operations and then merge the operations into the acquiring company.  However, even when care is taken to structure such acquisitions to limit or avoid the potential liabilities of the company being acquired, the transaction can result in the purchasing company being faced with unexpected employment claims, including claims made for unpaid minimum wage and overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  A purchaser of the assets of an existing company can be held liable for the acquired company’s violations of the FLSA as a successor in interest under federal common law.  In a recent case out of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, a company that purchased the assets of a Philadelphia exotic dance nightclub discovered this fact the hard way. Herzfeld v. 1416 Chancellor, Inc., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88732 (E.D. Pa. Jun. 9, 2017). Continue Reading

Wage and Hour/FLSA Update – DOL’s White-Collar Salary Threshold Struck Down (Again)

Posted in Fair Labor Standards Act, Government, Wage & Hour

On August 31, 2017, a federal judge in Texas struck down an Obama-era Department of Labor rule that would have roughly doubled the salary threshold, under which all workers are guaranteed overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), to over $47,000 per year.  In fact, this is the second time that the Eastern District of Texas has blocked the rule, which was originally slated to go into effect on December 1, 2016.  As reported by HR Legalist, in November of 2016, District Judge Amos L. Mazzant (an Obama appointee) issued the first order that preliminarily blocked the rule. Continue Reading

Back to School, Back to Work – Parental and Family Rights in the Workplace

Posted in Discrimination, Employee Leave Management, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Family Medical Leave Act, Paid Sick Leave, Parental Leave, Workplace Policies

The end of August marks the beginning of the yearly “back to school” ritual.  Working parents in particular are hoping for a smooth transition, as this is also the time of year when vacations end and workloads tend to pick up.  But as those of us with children know, balancing work and family responsibilities can be anything but predictable – even when school is in session.  Here is what employers should know about what the law requires with respect to employee family obligations.

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Political Speech, Discrimination and the Law: How Employers Should Respond to Charlottesville

Posted in Cat's Paw Liability, Civil Rights, Discrimination, Diversity, General Labor and Employment News and Updates, Political Discrimination, Social Media, Terminations, Workplace Policies

The recent tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia and other news regarding the activities of white supremacists and similar groups, have served as a rude awakening for many that our national reality has shifted. These events, which occurred in the public square and have been widely documented through social media, are unfortunate examples of bigoted and discriminatory viewpoints being expressed openly.  Setting aside the larger political debate that these events have stirred, these developments raise a plethora of thorny issues for employers. Continue Reading

Immigration Visa Update: USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for Cap-Exempt H-1B Visas

Posted in Government, H-1B, Hiring, Immigration

In a July 24, 2017 news release, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced an immediate resumption of Premium Processing for certain cap-exempt H-1B (Temporary Worker) Visa petitioners, including: institutions of higher education; nonprofits related to or affiliated with an institution of higher education; or nonprofit research or governmental research organizations. Premium Processing will also resume for petitions that may be exempt if the beneficiary will be employed at a qualifying cap-exempt institution, organization or entity. With Premium Processing, petitioners will know if their visa petition is approved or denied within 15 days of the date USCIS receives the petition. Continue Reading

Wage and Hour Update: DOL Proposes Changes to FLSA Tip-Pooling Rule

Posted in Wage & Hour

On July 20, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced that in August it plans to propose rescinding current restrictions on tip-pooling by employers who pay tipped employees the full minimum wage directly.  Under the current rule, tips are considered employee property and cannot be distributed to other workers or retained by the employer, even if the employer pays tipped employees their full minimum wage without any reduction for tip credit.  Although this latest announcement does not change or reverse the current rule, it signals that a change is on the way. Continue Reading

Yet Another New Form I-9 in Effect

Posted in I-9

In November 2016, HR Legalist announced that United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) issued a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.  The most significant change was to make the form easier to complete and print using a computer.  Today, July 17, 2017, USCIS has introduced yet another revised Form I-9.  Employers will be able to use this revised version or continue using the most recent Form I-9 with a revision date of “11/14/16 N” until September 2017.  After that date, employers must use the revised form with a revision date of “07/17/17 N.”   Also, employers must continue following existing storage and retention rules for any previously completed Form I-9. Continue Reading