Posts from March 2016.
Time 2 Minute Read

On March 25, 2016, OSHA published a final rule which significantly reduces the permissible limits of silica dust to which workers can be exposed.  The rule will take effect 90 days after publication, and will be codified at 29 CFR Parts 1910, 1915, and 1926.

Time 4 Minute Read

In Dover Energy, Inc., Blackmer Division v. National Labor Relations Board, the Board held that Blackmer violated section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) when it threatened Tom Kaanta, a Blackmer employee and United Auto Workers Union shop steward, with disciplinary action if he continued to make “frivolous” information requests to the company’s lead negotiator during collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) negotiations. On March 22, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reversed and held that the NLRB’s factual findings were not supported by substantial evidence.

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On March 17, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit decided Graziadio v. Culinary Institute of America, holding that sufficient evidence existed to find that the Culinary Institute of America’s (“CIA”) human resources director was an “employer” under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) and could therefore be held individually liable for violations of the FMLA. In reaching this decision, the court found that the economic-realities test used to analyze whether an individual is an “employer” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) should also be used to determine whether an individual is an “employer” under the FMLA. The Second Circuit vacated and remanded the Southern District of New York’s summary judgment decision on the question of individual liability for further consideration under the economic-realities standard. The application of this test likely means an increased risk of individual liability for human resources directors, supervisors, and other members of management charged with violating an employee’s rights under the FMLA.

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We have written on several occasions in this space about the NLRB’s controversial new joint employer standard and the damaging impact it may have on business-to-business relationships in the United States.  This morning, Labor & Employment partner Kurt Larkin testified before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Small Business Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations in a hearing on the negative effects the new standard may have on small business.  The House is currently considering an amendment to the National Labor Relations Act that would return the joint ...

Time 4 Minute Read

The United States Department of Labor (the “DOL”) has announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) to implement Executive Order 13706, which requires federal government contractors to provide employees with up to 7 days of paid sick leave annually. As a result, the DOL estimates that employers will be compelled to provide additional paid leave to 828,000 employees, including 437,000 employees who do not currently receive any paid sick leave.


Time 4 Minute Read

On March 1, 2016, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) sued employers for the first time for sexual orientation discrimination. The EEOC filed lawsuits in federal courts in Pittsburgh and Baltimore against manufacturing and health care employers for unlawful sex discrimination on behalf of employees alleging they were harassed and discriminated against based on their sexual orientation.

Time 2 Minute Read

On February 12, 2016, the West Virginia legislature overrode Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s veto of the Establishing West Virginia Workplace Freedom Act and in doing so became the 26th state to enact “right-to-work” legislation.

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On March 1, 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) settled administrative charges against a popular telecommunications equipment supplier, Qualcomm Incorporated, under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”). According to the SEC, in addition to unlawfully providing meals, gifts and entertainment to foreign officials in an effort to win new business, Qualcomm also offered full-time employment and paid internships to family members and friends of foreign government officials in an effort to curry favor. In some cases, it appears these friends and family members would not have otherwise qualified for employment at Qualcomm and special accommodations were made to hire them. To settle the case, Qualcomm agreed to cease and desist from future violations, paid a $7.5 million civil monetary penalty and agreed to other heightened compliance measures.

Time 3 Minute Read

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers who use a tip credit to satisfy their minimum wage obligations for tipped employees must follow certain rules related to those tips.  One of those rules relates to  the use of tip pools – i.e., pooling of tips received by multiple tipped employees and then dividing the total among the pool participants based on a specified formula.  Under Section 3(m) of the FLSA, employers who rely on the tip credit and who require their tipped employees to contribute their tips to a tip-pooling arrangement must ensure that the only employees who participate in the pool are those that “customarily and regularly” receive tips.  This typically means that managers, hostesses, cooks, dishwashers, and other non-tipped employees cannot participate in the tip pool if the employer wants to rely on the FLSA’s tip credit.

Time 2 Minute Read

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has issued proposed rules regarding the extent to which employers may offer inducements for providing information about the current or past health status of an employee’s spouse without violating the Genetic Information and Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”).


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