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Is There a Bully in Your Workplace?

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 4/23/2014
workplace bully

Chances are there is a bully in your workplace, and that’s bad for business. The Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) defines bullying as repeated mistreatment involving physically or verbally abusive conduct that is threatening, intimidating or humiliating, or that interferes with or prevents work from getting done. According to the WBI’s 2014 Workplace Bullying Survey:

  • 27% are or have been victims of workplace bullying
  • 21% have witnessed workplace bullying
  • 23% are aware of workplace bullying
  • 65 million workers are affected by workplace bullying

Though the frequency of workplace bullying may come as a surprise to some, the consequences should not. Workplace bullying typically increases employee turnover, decreases productivity, reduces job satisfaction, undermines morale, increases workers’ compensation costs and increases employment-related litigation costs.

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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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Who is a Supervisor under Title VII? Why does it Matter?

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 7/17/2013
supervisor and employee

Who is considered a supervisor under Title VII? Since our last article discussing Vance v. Ball State University, the U.S. Supreme Court has given us the answer. According to the Court, a supervisor is a person

empowered by the employer to take tangible employment actions against the victim; to effect a significant change in employment status, such as hiring, firing, failing to promote, reassignment with significantly different responsibilities, or a decision causing a significant change in benefits.

Vance involved allegations of racial harassment and discrimination in violation of Title VII. Though the parties disputed the precise nature and scope of the harasser’s duties, it was clear that the harasser did not have the power to hire, fire, demote, promote, transfer or discipline the plaintiff. Given the harasser’s inability to take a tangible employment action against the plaintiff, the Court held that the harasser does not qualify as a supervisor under Title VII. 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...

Is Your Unpaid Intern Really an Employee?

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 3/12/2013
woman training man in the workplace

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes federal standards for minimum wage and overtime compensation. Under the FLSA, interns in the for-profit private sector will generally be viewed as employees entitled to compensation except in very limited circumstances.

Whether an individual working in an internship or training program is considered an employee that should be paid minimum wage and overtime compensation under the FLSA depends on the facts and circumstances. When making this determination, the following criteria must be applied to each particular situation:

  1. The internship, even though it includes performing actual work, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
  2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
  3. The intern works under close supervision of existing staff and does not displace regular employees;
  4. The employer derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern, and its operations may occasionally be impeded by the intern;
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
  6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.
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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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Is Overtime Pay Required for Managers?

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 9/17/2012

Employers who rely on job titles when determining whether an employee is exempt from federal overtime pay requirements risk being named as defendant in a wage and hour lawsuit.

Employers often assume that the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA’s) executive exemption automatically applies to any employee given the title of “manager.” The reality, however, is that the manager title has virtually nothing to do with whether an employee qualifies for the executive exemption. More...

Updated Child Labor Regulations: Is Your Organization Keeping Up with the Kids?

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 9/15/2010

On July 19, 2010, the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Final Rule pertaining to child labor regulations became effective. More...

Amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act: Reasonable Break Periods Required for Nursing Mothers

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 4/19/2010

On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Act). More...

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Categories: 2010

Waiting to be Engaged or Engaged to Wait? The Fair Labor Standards Act Makes a Distinction – Do You?

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 12/14/2009

To the uninitiated, compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) appears to demand little more than the simple task of multiplying the number of hours worked by the appropriate wage. More...

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Categories: 2009

To Cut or Not to Cut: Reducing Wages During Difficult Economic Times

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 6/22/2009

As an alternative to laying off employees, we are considering the option of implementing a 4-day workweek, along with a commensurate reduction in pay. Is such a course of action permissible under the Fair Labor Standards Act? More...

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Categories: 2009

Salary Deductions May Jeopardize Exempt Status Under FLSA

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 9/11/2008

Pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act's executive exemption, our salaried store managers are not eligible for overtime compensation. More...

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Categories: 2008

FLSA - Outside Sales Exemption

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 9/4/2008

Our outside sales employees travel to prospects' places of business for the purpose of making sales. They are paid strictly on a commission basis and do not receive a fixed salary. Are these employees exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act's overtime pay requirements? More...

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Categories: 2008

Calculating Overtime Pay When Holiday Pay is Included

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 4/15/2008

During a recent pay period, a non-exempt employee, because she worked on a paid holiday within that workweek, became entitled to 40 hours of regular pay plus eight hours of holiday pay. More...

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Categories: 2008

Fair Labor Standards Act Compliance Training

by David Khan on 12/31/2003

In 1938, Congress enacted the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This federal legislation mandates payment of minimum wage, overtime pay, restrictions on the employment of children, and record keeping. More...

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Categories: 2004

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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