Employment Law: 10 Updates You Should Be Thankful For Today

As the busy week winds down and the holiday season winds up, we begin preparations for Turkey Day by asking ourselves the age-old question: what makes us grateful? Family? Without a doubt. Friends? Indeed. A good job? Yes. Fine employees? Ditto. The following ten employment law updates? You bet:

1. NLRB Protects Many Employee Facebook Postings (Lane Powell PC – Labor & Employment Law):

“Under the Obama administration, the NLRB … has identified social media cases as a big priority. The agency is also lodging many challenges to company social media policies if the policy explicitly forbids or ‘reasonably tends to chill’ an employee’s right to engage in ‘concerted activity.’” Read more»

2. Demystifying the Law: Questions That Shouldn’t Legally Be Asked at Job Interviews (Lawyers.com):

“’Do not ask job applicants questions about any protected status under federal, state or local law,’ says Laura Ann Gross, a lawyer at Donnelly & Gross, P.A. ‘While federal laws generally apply to employers with at least 15 to 20 employees, many state and local laws apply to smaller employers and protect additional statuses. For that reason, a good rule of thumb is to avoid questions and discussions about an applicant’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, disability, age, marital status and sexual orientation.’” Read more»

3. 5 Signs That You’ll Lose Your Sexual Harassment Case (Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLP):

“I always tell employers to review the company harassment policy every time they receive a complaint of harassment. This is so they can be sure they are doing everything that the policy says the company will do.” Read more»

4. Employment Law Alert (Ruskin Moscou Faltischek):

“Holiday parties are a good opportunity for employees to socialize with supervisors and managers on a more personal level and to build their reputation and network within the Company. Unfortunately, holiday parties can also be fraught with pitfalls for employers.” Read more»

5. Personal Liability for Hard-to-Spot Overtime Risks (Alan Bush):

“What are the chances you have an overtime violation that’s under your radar? In 73% of its recent wage and hour investigations, the DOL found violations… And the federal overtime law, the FLSA, puts your personal skin in the game. Depending on the circumstances, an overtime claimant can impose individual liability on managers, officers and even directors.” Read more»

6. Overtime Roulette: Seven Mistakes that Could Cost You (Jaburg Wilk)

“Employers are responsible for compensating employees for all time worked. Even if the employer does not request that an employee do the work, but allows it or benefits from it, the employer is responsible for compensating the employee.” Read more»

7. When Are Student Assistants “Employees” Under The FLSA? (Franczek Radelet P.C.):

“Last month, a federal judge in New York granted preliminary approval for a settlement in which Hofstra University agreed to pay up to $485,000 to a class of 256 undergraduate and graduate students who allegedly were not paid minimum wage and overtime in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act… [W]hen must a student be considered an ‘employee’ for purposes of minimum wage and overtime?” Read more»

8. The Continuing Fight Over Employer-Employee Arbitration Agreements (Hopkins & Carley):

“Earlier this year, in Moreno v. Sonic Calabasas, the California Supreme Court [found] an arbitration agreement that required an employee to waive his right to a hearing before the Labor Commissioner on a wage claim both ‘contrary to public policy and unconscionable.’ On Monday, the United States Supreme Court vacated the California Supreme Court’s opinion and sent the case back to the California Supreme Court for reconsideration in light of a recent decision by the United States Supreme Court.” Read more»

9. How to Write an Employee Handbook: A Sweeping Novel or a Short Story? (Warner Norcross & Judd – Michigan Employment Law):

“There is no right or wrong way to write an employee handbook. In fact, there is no law that requires you to have one at all. Still, I think every employer should write one. It is just a good idea and might even help you if you get into legal trouble.” Read more»

10. Brief Filed in Litigation Challenging the NLRB’s Final Rule Requiring All Employers to Post Notice of Employee Rights Under the NLRA (Morgan Lewis):

“On August 25, the National Labor Relations Board issued a Final Rule that requires all employers subject to the Board’s jurisdiction—i.e., the vast majority of employers doing business in the United States—to post a notice in the workplace informing employees of their right, among other things, to ‘[o]rganize a union,’ to ‘take action … to improve your working conditions by, among other means, raising work-related complaints directly with your employer or with a government, and seeking help from a union,’ and to ‘strike and picket.’ …  After the Rule was announced, three separate lawsuits were filed in federal court to block its implementation: two in Washington, D.C. and one in South Carolina.” Read more»

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