It’s not surprising that employers don’t approve of employees “shredding the gnar”* when they’re supposedly unable to work because of a serious medical condition. And that’s exactly what happened in Botelho v. Mayorkas, where a former Behavior Detection Officer for the TSA who worked at the Honolulu International Airport was fired for Family and Medical Leave Act abuse after his employer discovered that he was making snowboarding movies while apparently using FMLA to take an extended vacation. Continue Reading Extraordinary Employee Misconduct: Making Snowboarding Movies While on FMLA?

The U.S. Department of Labor recently highlighted a federal court ruling that private arbitration agreements will not prevent the federal Secretary of Labor from bringing suit against an employer for violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (and presumably other federal laws within the DOL’s jurisdiction, like the Family and Medical Leave Act).

Continue Reading Employers Beware! Private Arbitration Agreements Won’t Stop DOL Lawsuits

Here’s another installment in our occasional series on the I-can’t-believe-they-did-that actions of employees. Now, I know that there’s a more common term for these types of pictures of a guy’s personal junk, but one of my law partners (let’s call her “Lulu,” shall we?) insisted that I not use it. Even with asterisks. So … let’s see what lessons we can draw from this situation, shall we? Beyond the obvious, of course.

Continue Reading Extraordinary Employee Misconduct: No Pics of Your Privates at Work!

As many employers implement a COVID-19 vaccination-or-weekly-testing mandate (soon to be required of all employers with 100+ employees, as we discussed here), a recurring issue is whether the time that employees spend getting that weekly test must be paid under federal and state wage and hours laws. And the answer is a lawyerly, “Well, it depends.” (Of course).

Continue Reading Do Employers Have to Pay For COVID-19 Testing Time?

A day after President Biden announced his COVID-19 Action Plan (which we discussed here), leaders from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration held a short briefing to discuss its forthcoming Emergency Temporary Standard that will require employers with 100+ employees to (1) mandate vaccinations or weekly testing, and (2) provide paid vaccination leave. The President’s announcement regarding these requirements was sorely lacking in details, but the OSHA briefing provided a few (not many) useful tidbits for nervously wondering employers.  (Be aware, however, that the ETS is not yet written, and it is possible that some of what they said today might not end up being accurate….) Continue Reading A Few More Answers from OSHA on the Impending Vaccination ETS…

An issue that we’ve run into recently is what to do about employees who are vaccinated – but not with one of the FDA-approved vaccines (whether under Emergency Use Authorization (Moderna and J&J) or regular approval (Pfizer-BioNTech)). Perhaps they are participating in a clinical trial or maybe they were vaccinated in another country. Employers are wondering – is this really a valid vaccine? Can we require employees to go get a “real” vaccine?

Continue Reading Foreign COVID Vaccinations and Clinical Trials? What Employers Need to Know

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

And I’m pretty darned sure that many employers feel the same way. This issue has been coming up a lot lately with the burgeoning requests for medical exemptions in the context of COVID-19 vaccine mandates.  TO BE CLEAR,  I am NOT questioning those employees with actual medical conditions that legitimately prevent them from getting a vaccine – I’m talking about those folks who just don’t want the shot, and get their doctors to write some nonsense note that has no actual basis in medical fact.  And frankly, this has been an issue generally beyond the vaccine. (It even showed up in my recent blog post about the employee who wanted to bring his dog to work).  So what can we do?

Continue Reading I’m Tired of Doctors Who Just Say Whatever the Employee Wants…

A National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) hearing officer recently recommended that the union election at an Alabama Amazon warehouse be run a second time. The hearing officer, an employee of a NLRB Regional Office, sided with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) that Amazon’s actions interfered with a fair election. Specifically, the hearing officer found that Amazon’s installation of an unmarked mailbox as a ballot drop-site that was within the view of company surveillance cameras, hiring of private police, threatening of employees, and changing county traffic lights (come on, how many companies have the pull to get county traffic lights changed?) to impede RWDSU access to voters amounted to objectionable conduct.

Continue Reading NLRB Hearing Officer Recommends Second Union Election at Amazon – But Will It Happen?

Trying to stay on top of federal workplace guidance on COVID-19 is confusing and challenging for employers, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has just changed the playing field again – although the new guidance is intended to conform with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recently-revised recommendations for fully-vaccinated individuals (as discussed in our August 4, 2021 blog post).

Continue Reading Again? What Employers Need to Know About OSHA’s Latest Update to Its COVID-19 Workplace Guidance