Leaf raker, babysitter, waitress, retail salesperson, lawyer. I have had many jobs. Each has had value. Often, the pay and benefits did not match the value. When the value of the job exceeded the remuneration, I looked to find the next job. Continue Reading The Value of Labor Goes Beyond Wages

Last week we had our firm’s Fantasy Football draft.  Ezekiel Elliott went at the end of Round 2, behind usual top running back picks David Johnson and La’Veon Bell, but also behind lesser runners Melvin Gordon and Jordan Howard. Everyone knows that Zeke would have been a top five draft choice had he not already been suspended by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (aka the most hated man in Foxboro, MA), whose decision was then upheld by a labor arbitrator.  I’m kicking myself for taking Atlanta’s running back Devonta Freeman instead of Elliott. Why, you say?  Continue Reading What, Did the Judge Draft Ezekiel Elliott for his Fantasy Football Team?

The consensus amongst employers in the recent past has been that, because federal law categorizes marijuana as an illegal substance, employers could take adverse action against individuals who tested positive for marijuana (refusing to hire, disciplining or terminating). In that same vein, because marijuana was illegal under federal law, the thought was that an employer had no obligation to provide accommodations to workplace policies, such as drug testing policies, to individuals who tested positive because of medical marijuana use.  (Except in Nevada, because it is the only U.S. jurisdiction whose statute requires accommodations for medical marijuana users).  However, a recent case, Barbuto v. Advantage Sales & Mktg., LLC, has seemingly caused the traditional line of thinking to go up in smoke. Continue Reading Do Employers Have to Provide Accommodations for Medical Marijuana Use?

A Texas federal court has struck down the Obama-era Department of Labor (DOL) revised overtime exemption rule, which sought to more than double the salary level required for overtime-exempt workers.

The Current Test for Overtime-Exempt Status: In order to be exempt from overtime, a white-collar employee must meet three tests: (1) the salary basis test – the employee must be paid on a salary basis, not subject to reductions for fluctuations in quantity or quality of work; (2) the salary level test – the employee’s salary must currently be at least $455 per week (equaling $23,660 per year); and (3) a duties test – the employee must perform certain duties specific to the executive, administrative or professional exemption in question. There is also a highly-compensated employee exemption under which an employee must currently make at least $100,000 per year and perform at least one exempt duty. Continue Reading DOL Overtime Rule Struck Down

I am often surprised (and highly amused) by the excuses offered by employees to justify their misconduct. And by the fact that they’re often willing to litigate over them! A recent example of this can be found in the case of Alamillo v. BNSF Railway Co.

The employee worked an “extra board” schedule, meaning that he would report to work when called, rather than the usual 5-day a week regular schedule. An extra board employee who fails to answer three phone calls within a 15-minute period is marked as having “missed a call.” Under the company’s policy, five missed calls within a 12-month period may result in termination. Continue Reading Extraordinary Employee Excuses

Instead of covering the top sports headlines of the day, ESPN has once again made the headlines and found itself embroiled in controversy. This time, the network removed a broadcaster from the September 2 football game between the Virginia Cavaliers and William & Mary set to play in Charlottesville, Virginia. It did so because his name is Robert Lee. He is Asian American. Continue Reading What’s in a Name? Ask Robert Lee

So, following the violent events and controversy surrounding the white nationalist/supremacist rally in Charlottesville, it was reported by Berkeleyside that an employee was fired from his job because of his participation in the rally. (The story was subsequently updated to state that the employee voluntarily resigned during a conversation with his employer about his involvement at the rally). But the initial story raised questions about whether an employer can take action against an employee for engaging in off-duty activities that an employer may find repugnant – such as participating in a white supremacist rally. Continue Reading Workplace Lessons From Charlottesville

Last year, Fiona’s sister told her that a herd of goats, complete with a  goat herder, had moved into the park next to her house. They were brought in to clear certain park areas of overgrown vegetation. What a charming, effective, and environmentally-friendly solution! Apparently Western Michigan University had the same thought, because it also brought in goats to clear areas of the campus. But a union has decided to butt in and has filed a grievance against the University, claiming that the goats were performing “union work!” (We can see it now, brave goats crossing a picket line to get to their jobs!) Continue Reading Animal Subcontracting – Getting the Union’s Goat!

Departing employees do a lot of dumb things with email.  Sometimes they use an employer’s systems, which they know are regularly monitored, to ask their attorneys how to set up claims against their employers.  Sometimes, after they email a slew of confidential or trade secret information to themselves on their way out the door, they click delete on the sent messages only to leave all of the evidence in the “deleted” folder.  In today’s blog, we ask employers to leave it to departing employees to do dumb stuff with email. Continue Reading Don’t Access My Emails And Tell Me It’s Legal

OSHA initially launched the “Heat Illness Prevention” campaign in 2011 to help educate employers and employees on the dangers that may arise when working in hot environments.  This year, OSHA re-emphasized its plan of action and published a “Quick Card,” which outlines several ways for employers to maintain the safety of their employees.  Heat illness can take many forms including heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heat rash. Continue Reading OSHA’s Guidelines for Employees Working during the “Dog Days of Summer”