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Millions of White Collar Employees Could Lose FLSA Overtime Exemption

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 8/18/2015
FLSA-Overtime-Exemption-Fair-Labor-white-collar

In March 2014, President Obama directed the Secretary of Labor to “modernize and streamline” the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime exemption regulations governing executive, administrative and professional employees. On July 6, 2015, the Department of Labor (DOL) published its proposed regulatory changes to these so-called ‘white collar’ overtime exemptions, and despite their significance, they are quite simple.

The DOL essentially proposed three general changes to the white collar overtime exemptions.

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Categories: 2015, Human Resources

State Minimum Wages Going Up in 2015

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 11/12/2014
money in pocket

The current federal minimum wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is $7.25 per hour ($2.13 for tipped employees). Some states, however, have established their own minimum wage, and employees in these states are entitled to whichever minimum wage is higher. Given the existence of multiple minimum wage rates, employers, particularly those operating in more than one state, must know which minimum wage rate (or rates) may apply to their operations.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures:

  • 38 states introduced minimum wage bills and 34 states considered minimum wage increases during the 2014 legislative session.
  • 23 states and D.C. have minimum wages above the federal minimum wage as of August 1, 2014.
  • 18 states have minimum wages that are the same as the federal minimum wage.
  • 3 states have minimum wages below the federal minimum wage, so the federal minimum wage applies.
  • 5 states do not have a state minimum wage.
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Categories: 2014, Human Resources

OSHA Issues New Reporting and Recordkeeping Rules

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 10/1/2014
doctor holding medical records

Employers will soon have new rules to follow after experiencing workplace injuries and illnesses. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently published regulations regarding the reporting and recordkeeping requirements under the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s (“Act”). These new rules, which become effective on January 1, 2015, modify an employer’s obligation to report workplace injuries and illnesses to OSHA and to routinely keep records of injuries and illnesses.

Reporting Requirements

Though a majority of workplace injuries and illnesses do not have to be reported to OSHA, some do. Like the current rules, the new rules require employers to notify OSHA within 8 hours of an employee’s work-related death. Under the new rules, employers are no longer required to notify OSHA of any work-related hospitalization of 3 or more employees. However, under the new rules, employers will be required to notify OSHA within 24 hours of any work-related incident that results in:

  • the in-patient hospitalization of one or more employees (the formal admission to a hospital or clinic for care or treatment, rather than merely observation or diagnostic testing);
  • an employee’s amputation (the traumatic loss of a limb or other external body part); or
  • the loss of an employee’s eye.
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When Does Disability Leave Become an Unreasonable Accommodation?

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 7/9/2014
court room

When has an employer done enough to avoid liability for disability discrimination? Though hard and fast rules are rare in employment discrimination cases, particularly those involving disabilities, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that employers are almost never required to provide more than 6 months leave to an employee with a disability.

The quality versus cost argument is nothing new especially when it comes to insurance. Consumers who pay less tend to get less, whether in the form of coverages, limits or financial security. And, when people choose cost over quality, it usually means they are uninformed about what they really need.

In Hwang v. Kansas State University, an assistant professor working under a one year employment contract was diagnosed with cancer. KSU gave Ms. Hwang a six-month paid leave of absence so she could get treatment. On the advice of her doctor, Ms. Hwang requested additional time off. According to Ms. Hwang, KSU refused her request and effectively terminated her employment.

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Warning: Whistleblowers Must be Handled with Care

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 6/4/2014
judge's gavel

Though dealing with a disgruntled employee can be hard, various anti-retaliation protections make it even harder when an employee’s complaints or conduct is protected by law. A 2013 Congressional Report identified 40 different federal whistleblower and anti-retaliation laws, including:

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Religious Garb and Grooming Accommodations under Title VII

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 3/12/2014
woman putting on sari

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, charges of religious discrimination brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act are steadily increasing. These charges often involve religious dress and grooming practices, such as:

  • wearing religious clothing or articles, such as a Muslim hijab (headscarf), a Sikh turban or a Christian cross
  • observing a religious prohibition against wearing certain garments, such as a Muslim, Pentecostal Christian, or Orthodox Jewish woman's practice of not wearing pants or short skirts
  • adhering to shaving or hair length observances, such as a uncut hair and beard (Sikh), dreadlocks (Rastafarian) or peyes/side locks (Jewish)

    Title VII, which protects all aspects of religious observance, practice and belief, defines religion very broadly. It protects not only traditional, organized religions, but also religious beliefs that are new, uncommon, not part of a formal church or sect, only subscribed to by a small number of people, or may seem illogical or unreasonable to others.

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The New Form I-9: What’s Different?

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 4/30/2013
paperwork

Those of you following us on Facebook or Twitter know that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) recently revised the Employment Eligibility Verification Form (Form I-9). Though optional since early March 2013, the revised Form I-9 will become mandatory on May 7, 2013. As of this date, employers must stop using prior versions of the Form I-9 and begin using the version dated 03/08/13. (The version date can be found at the bottom of the form.)

I-9’s are used by employers to verify the identity and employment authorization of every new employee hired in the United States, regardless of citizenship. This process is authorized by the Immigration Reform and Control Act to preclude the unlawful hiring, recruiting or accepting a fee for the referral of aliens who are not authorized to work in the United States. More...

Individual Liability under the Fair Labor Standards Act

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 4/3/2013
alarm clock

Did you know that individuals can be held personally liable for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)? The FLSA’s broad definition of employer includes “any person acting directly or indirectly in the interests of an employer in relation to an employee.” The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently considered when it is appropriate to hold someone personally liable for wage and hour violations under the FLSA.

In Lamonica v. Safe Hurricane Shutters, Inc., former employees sued their employer to recover unpaid overtime wages under the FLSA. The employees also sued two of the corporate-employer’s directors, arguing that they sufficiently controlled the corporation to justify holding them personally liable under the FLSA. To support their case against the directors, the employees showed that: More...

Court Interprets FLSA’s Break Requirement for Nursing Mothers

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 1/29/2013

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals recently became the first federal appellate court to consider a significant, though rarely publicized, provision of the Affordable Care Act—the reasonable break time requirement for nursing mothers under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

In Miller v. Roche Surety and Casualty, an employee sued her employer alleging a violation of her rights as a nursing mother under the FLSA. Under the FLSA, employers are required to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child. This requirement, which extends for 1 year after the child's birth, requires an employer to provide “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public,” so that the employee may express breast milk.

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Employers May See More Sexual Harassment Lawsuits

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 11/20/2012

An employer’s liability for sexual harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act depends on whether the harasser is a supervisor. If the alleged harasser is the victim’s co-employee, the employer may have various defenses to liability. However, if the harasser is a supervisor, Title VII’s strict liability standard may be triggered and the employer may be left defenseless.

So, who is considered a supervisor under Title VII?

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Florida's Minimum Wage Increasing on January 1, 2013

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 10/24/2012

Effective January 1, 2013, Florida’s minimum wage will be $7.79 per hour. This represents an increase of 12 cents over the 2012 minimum wage of $7.67 per hour. The minimum wage for tipped employees will increase by the same amount to $4.77 per hour.

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Demanding Access to an Employee’s Facebook Account May Give Employee Access to Employer’s Bank Account

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 7/26/2012

Social media websites like Facebook have become the new water cooler. Once discussions (and gossip) about the workplace, supervisors and co-workers moved online, employers started getting curious about who was saying what to whom. More...

Title VII Liability for Considering Criminal Histories in Employment Decisions?

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 5/21/2012

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently issued its Enforcement Guidance on employer use of arrest and conviction records in employment decisions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII). A survey cited by the EEOC found that 92% of responding employers subjected all or some of their job candidates to criminal background checks. More...

Paying Employees for Travel Time

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 1/6/2012

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers are required to pay employees the appropriate minimum wage and overtime rate for every compensable hour worked. Determining the number of hours worked by an employee is ordinarily a routine matter. However, when travel time is involved, employers must understand that the FLSA treats different types of travel, well, differently. More...

Florida’s Minimum Wage Increasing on January 1, 2012

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 11/15/2011

Effective January 1, 2012, Florida’s minimum wage will be $7.67 per hour. This represents an increase of 36 cents over the 2011 minimum wage of $7.31 per hour. The minimum wage for tipped employees will increase by the same amount to $4.65 per hour, up from the 2011 minimum hourly wage of $4.29. More...

UPDATE: Florida’s Minimum Wage is Going up on June 1, 2011

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 5/10/2011

Florida employers must prepare for an increase in the minimum wage. On May 3, 2011, Florida’s Agency for Workforce Innovation announced that effective June 1, 2011, Florida’s minimum wage will be $7.31 per hour, which is six cents more than the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. This increase is not only unexpected, it is unusual.More...

At Last! The EEOC Publishes Final ADA Amendments Act Regulations

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 4/14/2011

Enacted on September 25, 2008, the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) directed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to amend its regulations to reflect the changes made to the Americans with Disabilities Act by the ADAAA. Though the ADAAA became effective on January 1, 2009, the final regulations were not published by the EEOC until March 25, 2011. They will not become effective until May 24, 2011.

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Categories: 2011, Human Resources

Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act: Answers to Your GINA Questions

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 3/7/2011
Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), which became effective November 21, 2009, prohibits the use of genetic information in employment, restricts covered entities from requesting, requiring, or purchasing genetic information, and strictly limits the disclosure of genetic information. Under GINA, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is required to issue implementation regulations within one year of the effective date. On November 9, 2010, the EEOC issued its final regulations, which became effective on January 10, 2011.More...

'Tis the Season-for Celebration or Litigation?

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 10/18/2010

The halls have been decked, and employees have donned their gay apparel; everyone appears to be in good cheer at the office holiday party, held on a Saturday night at an off-site location. More...

Avoid Sexual Harassment Through Training

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 10/1/2010

Over the last 10 years, incidents of sexual harassment in the workplace have dramatically increased. Statistics from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) indicate that the number of sexual harassment complaints received has risen by 30%. More...

The Human Equation's newsletters and publications are intended as an information source for the clients and friends of the firm. Their content should not be construed as legal advice, and readers should not act upon the information in these publications without professional guidance. Please note that newsletters and publications that are archived by The Human Equation are not updated after initial publication and may not contain the most current information available.

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