gavel-1238036The U.S. District Court in Minnesota ruled, on June 22, 2016, that the Department of Labor’s new interpretation of the advice exemption from the persuader rule is “untenable” and “flawed.”   The Court did not issue an injunction against the new interpretation, which goes into effect July 1, 2016, but that was based on its finding that the DOL suspended the most objectionable reporting requirement after the lawsuit was filed.  The challenge to the new interpretation was filed by Worklaw Network, a national alliance of labor and employment firms of which we are a member.  Our firm, along with Seaton, Peters & Revnew, P.A. of Minneapolis, represented Worklaw, as we discussed in a prior post, “Shawe Rosenthal and Worklaw Just Sued the DOL.” Continue Reading Court Finds DOL’s New Persuader Rule “Flawed”

2000px-Venus_symbol.svgOn Tuesday (June 14, 2016) of this week, the White House Council on Women and Girls together with the Department of State, Department of Labor, the Aspen Institute, and Civic Nation held the Summit on the United State of Women.   On that same day, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced a Final Rule updating the OFCCP’s sex discrimination guidelines.  According to the OFCCP’s Fact Sheet, the revisions were to bring the guidelines, which are from what the OFCCP called the “Mad Men” era (1970’s), up to date.

The OFCCP published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on January 30, 2015 and received 553 comments on the proposed rule.   The Final Rule will take effect on August 15, 2016. Continue Reading OFCCP Issues Final Rule Updating Sex Discrimination Guidelines

That’s an eye-catcher of a title, isn’t it? As reported by the New York Times, Babeland, an adult toy store, became the first sex shop to become unionized. Workers at three New York City locations voted to be represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, one of the country’s largest retail unions.vienna-2-1552451

Why did they choose to unionize? There were several typical reasons – wanting more transparency around hiring, promotions and discipline, as well as better ways of addressing workplace disputes and grievances.

But there were some other, less typical reasons. One is the customers. I’m sure you aren’t surprised to hear that Babeland’s customers can be, well, difficult. Some of them seem to believe that it’s ok to sexually harass sex shop workers. The workers want management to provide better training and support in dealing with these folks. Continue Reading Sex Shop Workers Unionize

In a perplexing – if not shocking – decision, the National Labor Relations Board determined that there is substantial difference between an employee having the opportunity to vote in a mail ballot election, and his or her vote in fact being counted.

In Premier Utility Services, LLC, the employer, a utility company with 101 employees living and working in New York City’s five boroughs, participated in a mail ballot election from October 20 to November 4, 2015 to determine whether Communications Workers of America, Local 1101 would represent the petitioned-for employees.  However, as of November 4, 2015, the NLRB Regional Office had received only four (!) ballots.  As a result, the parties postponed the tally of ballots until November 12, 2015, a somewhat usual departure from the NLRB’s usual election procedures.  By November 12, 2015, the NLRB only received 34 ballots out of the possible 101.  Nevertheless, the Region counted the ballots and the Union received a majority of the votes counted, 20-14.Mail

Following the count, the NLRB Regional office received an additional 55 ballots, including 48 ballots that were postmarked before November 4, the end of the original voting period.  The Regional Director, however, refused to count the 48 ballots that were postmarked before November 4 because they were received after November 12.  As a result, the union was certified as the bargaining representative based on only 34 votes out of 101 eligible voters, even though a large number of additional ballots had been timely mailed!!!

Continue Reading NLRB Refuses to Count Timely-Mailed Ballots

dollar_sign_imageOn May 17, 2016, the Department of Labor announced the release of its long-awaited revisions to its overtime exemption rule. The new rule doubles the salary requirement for white collar (executive, administrative and professional) employees from $23,660 per year ($455 per week) to $47,476 per year ($913 per week).  The required minimum salary for the highly compensated employees’ exemption also has been raised from $100,000 to $134,004. These salary levels will be subject to automatic adjustments every three years. The new rule does not change the duties test for any of the exemptions. It will take effect on December 1, 2016. Our firm will be holding a complimentary webinar on Wednesday, May 25 to discuss the changes and offer practical suggestions on how to comply with the new rules. Continue Reading NEW OVERTIME RULE

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On a related note to my previous post on pet bereavement leave, my daughter told me about another leave available to those dog-crazy folks in the U.K – “paw-ternity leave.” (Which is very different than “peternity” leave – another name for pet bereavement leave!) Essentially, this type of leave is a maternity/paternity leave for pets.

As first reported by the Mirror, a research study by pet insurance provider Petplan found that almost 1 in 20 new pet owners in the U.K. are offered “paw-ternity” leave by their employers. This leave can be used to settle in and care for a new pet, vet appointments, training, etc. It ranges from a few hours to a few weeks, and is provided in addition to the worker’s usual vacation leave allotment. The article specifically identifies two different companies that formally provide this type of leave – pet food manufacturer Mars Petcare and IT company Bitsol Solutions. Continue Reading “Paw-ternity” Leave?

male-709687_640This week, the EEOC issued a Fact Sheet regarding Bathroom Access Rights for Transgender Employees under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which the EEOC has stated prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity.  Title VII applies to all federal, state, and local government agencies in their capacity as employers, and to all private employers with 15 or more employees.

In siding with other federal government agencies that have released similar guidance (OSHA, the Office of Personnel Management, and the Department of Education), the EEOC stated that an employer should allow an employee to use the bathroom that corresponds with the employee’s gender identity. Continue Reading The EEOC’s Fact Sheet on Transgender Access to Bathrooms

“I’ve known Bob Rumson for years and I’ve been operating under the assumption that the reason Bob devotes so much time to shouting at the rain was that he simply didn’t get it.  Well, I was wrong.  Bob’s problem isn’t that he doesn’t get it.  Bob’s problem is that he can’t sell it.”

President Andrew Shepherd (played by Michael Douglas) in The American President.

The NLRB’s Quickie Election Rule just celebrated its first anniversary and you know what?  The union election win rate remained the same–about 65%.  The total number of union petitions filed to hold elections jumped all the way from 2,141 in the year before the new Rule up to 2,144 last year– a “whopping” gain of 3 elections.   NLRB statistics do confirm that the median time from the filing a petition to the election decreased substantially, from 38 days down to 24 days. Continue Reading NLRB’s Quickie Election Rule Turns One

As you may know, I enjoy the cases where the tables are turned – like my colleague Jason Usher’s post on “Union Violates Employee’s Labor Rights” or my blog on “EEOC Sued For Failing to Accommodate Employee’s Disability.” Here’s another.

From time to time, my clients have had to deal with lying employees. They lie in an investigation, they lie to the federal agencies like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Department of Labor, they lie in depositions and at trial. And they’re good at it – it’s often hard to prove that they are lying, which is incredibly frustrating to my clients and to m Continue Reading Lying Employee Faces Prison Time

The Maryland 2016 legislative session endedshadow-dollar-sign-1239535 on Monday.  A friend of mine mentioned that she heard the General Assembly passed an equal pay law in Maryland. But guess what? There is already an Equal Pay for Equal Work law in Maryland – it’s been in place for almost 25 years!! The current law already prohibits employers from discriminating against employees of one sex who work in the “same establishment” and perform work of comparable character or work in the same operation, in the same business, or of the same type by paying a lesser wage than an employee of another sex.

The equal pay bill mentioned, House Bill 1003, expands the prohibitions on discriminatory pay practices. It also adds an entirely new pay transparency provision. Specifically: Continue Reading “New” Equal Pay Bill for Maryland