Once upon a time, employees in all states but Montana (always bucking the establishment!) were presumed to be employed at-will, absent some sort of employment agreement (e.g. individual contract for a term, a collective bargaining agreement, policies that contemplate termination for cause, etc.). That means that either the employer or the employee may terminate the employment relationship at any time, for any or even no reason (as long as it’s not illegal – like, say, discrimination or retaliation). And so our well-meaning but foolish Employer is terribly excited by that principle because they want to get rid of an Employee. But … as with all good fairy tales, there is a dark side.Continue Reading At-Will Employment Is a Fairy Tale…
Apparently, emojis have become such an accepted means of communication that a Canadian court found to create an enforceable contract for $82,000 (plus interest and costs)!! Continue Reading Contract by Emoji?
There have been a couple of interesting situations in the news recently involving employees who have been ordered by a court to repay wages to their employers. One involved a Canadian employee who submitted fraudulent timesheets. Another involves law firm associates who failed to meet their billable hours requirement. And a third involves police officers in a New York town who swiped time clocks for each other to falsely claim time worked. These cases provide some insights for employers – good and bad. Continue Reading Can You Force Employees to Repay Wages?
Maryland’s highest court has ruled that the federal Portal-to-Portal Act has not been adopted or incorporated into Maryland’s Wage and Hour Law, Wage Payment and Collection Law, or the corresponding state regulations – meaning that employers may be responsible for more wages for their Maryland employees under state law than under federal law.
Continue Reading Maryland Employers Beware – State Wage Laws Do Not Incorporate Federal Portal-to-Portal Act and Its Exclusions from Compensation
A National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board’) decision that was once thought to be a significant win for employer property rights may ultimately result in increased property access for off-duty contractor employees, following a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Opens Door to Biden Board to Expand Property Access for Off-Duty Contractor Employees
On July 9, 2021, President Biden signed a wide-ranging Executive Order intended to promote competition in the American economy. The E.O. contains 72 initiatives across the whole of government, several of which have a direct employment impact – specifically on non-compete agreements, occupational licensing requirements, and wage-sharing activities between employers.
Continue Reading President Biden Issues Challenging Executive Order Seeking to Ban or Limit Non-Competes, Occupational Licensing Requirements, and Wage-Sharing
On May 21, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis that employment agreements containing waivers of the right to bring class or collective actions over employment-related disputes are enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). In so doing, the Court rejected the National Labor Relation Board’s position that such waivers violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) – a position subject to much controversy in the courts and federal agencies.
Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Approves Use of Class Waivers in Employment Agreements
I know I’m dating myself, but as a lawyer of a certain age, I like a legal agreement to be in paper, with handwritten signatures. The growing use of electronic agreements and signatures is certainly easy and convenient, but it still gives me a little queasy feeling – like the agreement doesn’t really exist. (Don’t even get me started on bitcoin…) I don’t mean to suggest that electronic agreements and signatures aren’t valid. They certainly can be, as I discussed in detail in a prior blog post, Electronic Signatures v. Handwritten Signatures. But, as I also explained in that post, the use of electronic methods does open the door to questions about whether employees actually entered into the agreements in question, as happened in the recent case of Gupta v. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC.
Continue Reading Wait – That E-mail Is a Legal Agreement?
The issue of whether employees can be required to sign arbitration agreements that contain waivers of their right to file a class or collective action over employment-related disputes is one that has drawn much attention – and much conflict – in recent years. The Obama administration, it seemed, steadfastly opposed such waivers. Under the Trump administration, which (regardless of your politics) has had a slow and bumpy transition of federal agency leadership, the agencies do not appear to be operating from the same playbook – as evidenced by recent actions by the National Labor Relations Board, (NLRB), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB).
Continue Reading The Government Seems Confused About Class Action Waivers
Teenagers! In the world of social media, they seem to have no sense of privacy. They will share anything and everything with their multitude of Facebook “friends.” And in one case, doing that cost the teenager’s father $80,000 for breach of the confidentiality provision in his settlement agreement.