January 20, 2021
Although the EEOC recently gave employers the green light to require employees receive COVID-19 vaccinations once available, some states are... Read More
January 14, 2021
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to compensate employees for all time spent performing work, regardless of whether... Read More
January 14, 2021
After a delay due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the EEOC announced that it will reopen EEO data collections... Read More
January 11, 2021
Could this happen to you? More and more individuals who participated in the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol... Read More
December 28, 2020
As we blogged here last week, Congress came to an agreement on a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package, and on... Read More
December 22, 2020
You have likely already heard rumblings about the House and Senate deal reached over the weekend on a new $900B... Read More
December 17, 2020
Did you know myHRcounsel can draft your employee handbook? If you have an existing handbook that requires an update, we... Read More
November 17, 2020
Voters in another four states, Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota, opted for legalization of marijuana in the recent... Read More
November 16, 2020
The short answer is yes, you can have a policy that requires employees get a COVID vaccination (or other vaccinations, such... Read More
November 12, 2020
A new presidential administration can signal many changes for employers. While litigation persists, it appears likely employers should prepare for... Read More
November 03, 2020
If your store policy requires everyone in the store to wear a mask at all times, you should be consistent... Read More
October 02, 2020
During the COVID-19 pandemic we have seen multiple shifts in views by the public and employees. Initially, the issue was... Read More
September 21, 2020
On Friday evening, the world lost a titan of the law. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away after serving more... Read More
September 20, 2020
In updated CDC guidance, the new guidance states that “if you have been in close contact, such as within 6... Read More
September 11, 2020
The EEOC has once again weighed in with updated guidance for employers to remain compliant when dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic in the workplace. The EEOC’s most recent FAQs are largely based on its webinar from March 2020, so much of the guidance may already be familiar to employers.
August 31, 2020
One question that’s been front and center for many employers as we approach fall, is how the FFCRA’s expanded FMLA (EFMLA) and emergency paid sick leave (EPSL) provisions will apply when employee’s children may or may not be going back to in-person instruction. The Department of Labor, seeking to clarify this on behalf of employers, released three new FAQs last week that are instructive.
Presidential Memorandum on Deferring Payroll Tax Obligations in Light of the Ongoing COVID-19 Disaster
August 24, 2020
On August 8, 2020, the President issued a Memorandum Deferring Payroll Tax Obligations in Light of the Ongoing COVID-19 Disaster, directing the Secretary of Treasury to use his authority to defer the withholding, deposit, and payment of the employee share of Social Security taxes on applicable wages paid from September 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020. As currently written, this measure is merely a temporary deferral, and not forgiveness of any tax obligations.
August 06, 2020
In April 2020, the State of New York sued the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), claiming it “unlawfully narrows workers’ eligibility for emergency family leave and paid sick leave guaranteed by the [FFCRA].”
Earlier this week, a federal judge for the Southern District for New York agreed with the State of New York and struck down four main regulations:
July 28, 2020
The United States Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued additional guidance related to COVID-19 and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Below are some non-exhaustive highlights.
July 27, 2020
While many parents remain in limbo regarding the status of their child’s school this fall, some of your parent-employees have undoubtedly received confirmation as to whether their child will be attending full time in-person classes, full time distance learning, or a hybrid of the two. Your employees may be asking for teleworking arrangements or a period of continuous leave to stay home and care for school aged children whose schools have chosen a full time distance learning model.
July 23, 2020
Joining the long list of states with mask mandates, on July 22, Minnesota Governor issued Executive Order 20-81, which requires people in Minnesota to wear a face covering in all public indoor spaces and businesses, and even some outdoor spaces, unless they are alone or otherwise qualify for an exemption or accommodation. The face covering requirement is intended to supplement, and not replace, other prevention efforts such as physical distancing and hand washing. This Executive Order is effective starting July 25, and it remains in effect until the peacetime emergency declared in Executive Order 20-01 ends or until cancelled by a proper authority.
July 17, 2020
Much like the rest of us, the U.S. Department of Labor apparently needed a break from COVID-19 news, so it has turned its attention to FMLA classic and released new model notices and forms for administration of FMLA leave.
Here are some highlighted changes:
July 07, 2020
The original deadline to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan was June 30, 2020, but over the weekend, the President signed S. 4116 into law, extending the program for another five weeks. The program will now remain open until August 8, 2020. This program extension comes on the heels of The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act which already provided good news to borrowers by making important changes to some of the original program terms.
July 02, 2020
Even as many businesses begin the reopening process, COVID-19 is still very much a public health concern. While you may be implementing liability waivers for your customers and clients to limit the risk to your organization, when it comes to your employees, think again.
Supreme Court Rules That Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Prohibits Employment Discrimination Against Gay and Transgender Individuals
June 24, 2020
By now, you’ve likely heard about the landmark Supreme Court ruling issued last week in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia. Bostock is a consolidation of three cases involving employees who were fired either for being gay or transgender. In a 6-3 opinion written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, the Court stated that “it is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.” Of course, discrimination on the basis of sex is specifically prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
June 22, 2020
In response to changes made to the PPP loan program by the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 (which... Read More
SCOTUS Rules that Gay and Transgender Workers are Included in the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
June 15, 2020
In a landmark ruling on Monday June 15, 2020, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that gay and transgender... Read More
June 04, 2020
For many companies who received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, unexpected problems arose alongside the payroll issues the PPP was designed to help solve. PPP provides forgivable loans to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic (for background information, see our blogs about PPP here, here, here, and here). As the program nears the end of the covered period on June 30, however, it has become clear that borrowers are facing unintended complications.
June 02, 2020
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidelines for reopening businesses, schools, day camps, health care facilities, mass transit, child care, and other industries.
The following is a snippet of a few topics addressed in the newly released guidance.
May 19, 2020
By now, you’re likely familiar with the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provides forgivable loans to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic (for background information, see our blogs about PPP here, here, and here). As many business come to the end of their 8-week covered loan period, the SBA released a loan forgiveness application and instructions.
Workers’ Compensation Claims Likely to Skyrocket Thanks to New Legal Presumptions of COVID-19 Infection
May 18, 2020
As more states lift stay-at-home orders and give employers the green light to bring workers back on site, one thing employers need to be on the lookout for is an increase in workers’ compensation claims. Workers’ compensation statutes are no-fault, meaning that employees do not need to prove negligence on the part of the employer to establish liability. It also means the employer cannot use negligence on the part of the employee as a defense to a claim. In practice, then, employees who are injured or become ill on the job are entitled to benefits like wage replacement and medical expenses, and employer liability is limited, in most circumstances, to only those benefits available through workers’ compensation.
May 12, 2020
As stay-at-home orders expire and restrictions loosen, many employers are thinking ahead to their reopening phase. Organizations are generally encouraged... Read More
May 04, 2020
The Federal Reserve has announced that it is establishing a Main Street Lending Program (Program) to support lending to small and medium-sized businesses that were in sound financial condition before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic but who may have been unable to access the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans or who require additional financial support after receiving a PPP loan. Unlike PPP loans, Main Street loans are not forgivable.
April 29, 2020
An F1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa for individuals who wish to pursue an education in the US. Every noncitizen who enters the US to attend school (from elementary school to post-graduate college) must apply for an F1 visa. To obtain an F1 visa, students must be able to show admission to a school approved by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, official residency in a foreign country and intentions to return home, and sufficient financial support to remain in the US during their studies.
April 25, 2020
On April 24, the President signed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (the “Act”) into law. Among other things, the Act allocates over $300 billion to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”), including $60 billion specifically set aside for loans made by community-based banks and smaller lenders. The Act also increases Economic Injury Disaster Loan (“EIDL”) program appropriations by $50 billion, and EIDL grant program funds by $10 billion.
April 13, 2020
The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and related business closures and/or slowdown has been devastating for many. Employers are forced to cut costs, and many are considering reductions in hours, wages, and salaries to remain afloat. While this is a reasonable measure to minimize business interruptions and to keep as many employees on payroll as possible, employers should carefully implement wage, salary, and hour reductions to maintain legal compliance. The following provides general, federal guidance on these cost-cutting options, but employers should note that certain workers may be subject to additional laws (for instance those working on employment-based immigrant visas), and some states and local jurisdictions have stricter laws and regulations with which to comply.
April 13, 2020
At 53 years of age, and as a leader of my sixth business, this is not my first economic crisis or downturn, and in each... Read More
April 07, 2020
On April 1, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) went into effect, requiring employers to provide employees with paid sick leave (PSL) and expanded leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (EFMLA) and enabling employers to recoup the cost of these leaves through tax credits. The IRS has issued guidance for employers with regard to obtaining and processing these tax credits.
April 07, 2020
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has issued an interim final rule to announce implementing regulations for the new Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which was created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to offer low-interest loans to small businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis. The PPP encourages businesses to maintain employee numbers and compensation by offering loan forgiveness, subject to certain conditions. General information on the PPP and eligibility requirements can be found here.
March 30, 2020
In response to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, governors from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Washington, D.C. have chosen to mobilize National Guard troops to aid the government’s response. Some of the activities Guards members are being asked to assist in include delivering food to those in the hardest hit regions, providing critical personal protective equipment to medical personnel and first responders, supporting testing facilities, and providing transport assistance to support health care providers. In this time of crisis, our troops are being relied upon to assist with many critical functions to ensure the success of the United States’ COVID-19 response.
March 30, 2020
The Relief for Workers Affected by Coronavirus Act (Title II, Subtitle A of the CARES Act) has made several changes to federal unemployment insurance law. The Act extends benefits to groups of individuals who previously would not have been eligible for unemployment insurance benefits, but whose employment has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Act also provides a financial supplement for all unemployment insurance recipients.
March 30, 2020
On March 27, 2020, the president signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”) into law. Below are highlights of the SBA forgivable loan program.
March 30, 2020
Updating the legal information we have been providing on the two "sick pay" laws passed by Congress and the Senate a week ago, we wanted to update businesses who continue to employ their employees on April 1, 2020 (the effective date of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“EPSLA”) ) of the "refundable" payroll tax credits for employers in order to assist with the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees.
March 27, 2020
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses find themselves with limited resources, and many questions over how to allocate them. No employer wants to punish employees who have been loyal to the company, and in which the employer has invested significant resources from hiring to training, but what are the options when an employer is stretched past its financial limit, and what is the difference between the various terms for the separation between an employer and employee?
March 25, 2020
· FFCRA’s paid leave provisions are effective on April 1, 2020 (NOT April 2)
· Employers have fewer than 500 employees if, at the time an employee’s leave is to be taken, they employ fewer than 500 full-time and part-time employees within the United States. In making this determination, employers should include employees on leave; temporary employees who are jointly employed with another employer (regardless of whether the jointly-employed employees are maintained on only one employer’s payroll); and day laborers supplied by a temporary agency (regardless of whether the employer is the temporary agency or the client firm if there is a continuing employment relationship).
March 25, 2020
All State Unemployment Insurance Resources
March 25, 2020
Early on March 25, 2020, after days of negotiations, the U.S. Senate and the White House announced a deal on a nearly $2 trillion stimulus package to provide relief during the coronavirus crisis. The text of the proposal still needs to be completed, but it is expected to be the largest stimulus package in U.S. history.
March 23, 2020
On March 23, the Senate failed for a second time to pass a comprehensive stimulus bill aimed at combating the devastating economic effects of COVID-19.
Department of Labor Issues Guidance Related to COVID-19 or Other Public Health Emergencies and the Fair Labor Standards Act
March 23, 2020
The Department of Labor (DOL) has published the following list of FAQs to provide guidance on FLSA implications during the COVID-19 crisis. Note that additional state or local laws may also come into play depending on your location and situation.
Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service, and Department of Labor Guidance Related to Families First Coronavirus Response Act
March 22, 2020
The U.S. Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced that small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees pursuant to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Act), signed by President Trump on March 18. See our blog for details about the Act here.
March 22, 2020
In these unprecedented times, many businesses are facing closures due to economic conditions and/or government-mandated shutdowns. As a result, terminations and layoffs are widespread. In an effort to stave off continued losses, Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Susan Collins (R- ME), and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) have proposed The Keeping Workers Paid and Employed Act to provide $300 billion to implement a small business emergency economic relief plan. The Act aims to prevent workers from losing their jobs and small businesses from going under due to economic losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
March 22, 2020
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces workplace anti-discrimination laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act, which provide for reasonable accommodation requirements and rules about medical examinations and inquiries.
March 19, 2020
Families First Coronavirus Response Act
Late on Wednesday evening, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act which, among other things, addresses federal emergency FMLA and paid sick leave. Below are the highlights.
March 18, 2020
UPDATE: As of March 20, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security has announced that employers may view Section 2 documents remotely (via fax, email, or webcam) for the purpose of completing Form I-9 within the requisite 3 business days of the employee’s date of hire.
March 16, 2020
Federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave Legislation Introduced
Over the weekend, the House passed a revised version of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act which, among other things, addresses federal emergency FMLA and paid sick leave. Importantly, this bill has not been approved by the Senate yet, so this is all subject to change. Below are the current highlights.
March 09, 2020
With the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus increasing across the United States and abroad, Senator Patty Murry (D-WA) and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) introduced new, emergency paid sick leave legislation that would provide paid sick days immediately to workers in light of the current spread, as well as prepare for future public health emergencies.
March 04, 2020
On the heels of our recent blog about COVID-19, the EEOC weighed in with what employers should know about anti-discrimination laws and coronavirus.
The EEOC enforces certain anti-discrimination laws, including the ADA, which protects applicants and employees against disability discrimination. The ADA also regulates medical examinations and inquiries for all employees and applicants, including those without an ADA qualifying disability.
March 02, 2020
If you keep up with the news, you’ve likely heard a lot about COVID-19, or coronavirus. With the number of new cases continuing to increase worldwide, employers may be wondering what they can do to prepare for the risk of a potential outbreak.
February 27, 2020
Earlier this week, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued its final rule governing joint employment status under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The final rule restores the joint employer standard the NLRB applied for several decades before its 2015 decision in Browning-Ferris.
February 04, 2020
We are excited to announce the following additional offerings coming from myHRcounsel. In our continuing effort to reduce and manage those burdensome expenses (like we have done with legal fees by introducing our flat fee, per employee per month unlimited legal advice), we are launching these additional services to save you money, make sure your vendors are “compliant” with your agreements with them, and aligning ourselves with the fees to provide these services.
February 03, 2020
Last week, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a new Form I-9 (version 10/21/2019). The only changes are the additions of Eswatini and Macedonia, North to the list of countries in the Country of Issuance and Issuing Authority drop down fields on the fillable version of the Form (to reflect those countries’ recent name changes) and an update to the Form’s instructions.
New Jersey Client Employers and Labor Contractors Share Responsibility for Violations of State Wage and Hour and Employer Tax Laws
January 29, 2020
New Jersey Governor recently signed Assembly Bill 5840, which imposes joint and several liability on client employers and labor contractors who provide workers to such client employers for violations of State wage and hour laws or State employer tax laws. Furthermore, the law provides that a waiver of the new provisions is contrary to public policy, and therefore void and unenforceable.
January 29, 2020
New Jersey Governor recently signed Assembly Bill 5839, which creates penalties for violations of state wage, benefit, and tax laws in connection with the misclassification of employees. If the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development finds that a company has misclassified employees (for example by calling an employee an independent contractor), then, in addition to imposing any other remedies or penalties authorized by law, the Commissioner can assess and collect:
January 13, 2020
You may have heard of The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) with respect to union employees and activities. What you may not realize is that the NLRA protects the rights of most employees, even those not represented by a union, to engage in protected “concerted activity.”
January 02, 2020
Are you taking the opportunity to review and reevaluate pay rates in the New Year but don’t know where to start? The point factor method is a quantitative technique to evaluate individual jobs and/or job groups based on elements that are essential to an organization’s operations and success and set appropriate pay rates. Compensable factors are identified in a job analysis, points are assigned to the factors, the factors are weighed based on the job requirements, and a pay structure is established for the position.
December 23, 2019
2020 is almost here, which means a number of states across the county will have minimum wage increases. Keep in mind that many city/county minimum wages may differ from the state minimum wage.
Massachusetts Employers, Act Fast! Deadline Approaching to Apply for Exemption for Paid Family and Medical Leave Contributions
December 16, 2019
If you offer a qualifying private plan to your workforce with benefits greater than or equal to those provided by the Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) law, you can apply for an exemption from collecting, remitting, and paying PFML contributions. Applications for private plan exemptions for the first quarter of contributions must be filed by December 20, 2019. Self-insured employers must provide a bond even if they are granted an exemption. Information on requesting a PFML exemption can be found here.
When Can I Deduct from my Employee’s Paycheck? Part 3: Deductions for Cash Register Shortages and Property Damage
December 10, 2019
Now that you know where and when you can (and cannot) deduct from your employee's wages for uniforms and tools and equipment, we will turn to deductions for cash register shortages and property damage in this week’s installment of our Paycheck Deductions blog series.
December 09, 2019
Are you an employer in Nebraska? Below are some common labor laws for the state of Nebraska that you should apply to your policies.
December 06, 2019
Customers can access a team of attorneys on-call for legal advice in construction, collection and corporate matters at the state and federal level for a monthly flat fee!
December 03, 2019
As if companies doing business in California didn’t already have enough compliance challenges, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) goes into effect on January 1, 2020.
Terminating Employees is Hard – Defending Your Severance Agreement in Court is Harder: Ensure Your Separation and Release of Claims Agreements are on Solid Legal Ground.
November 26, 2019
So the time has finally come. The employee you hired two years ago that held so much promise is showing up late to work, does not contribute in meetings, makes critical errors and is not responding to improvement plans. Despite your best intentions to rehabilitate this employee, it’s just not working out.
November 18, 2019
Illinois’ Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act legalizes recreational marijuana, effective January 1, 2020. Accordingly, Illinois employers may need to adjust their drug policies to remain in compliance with this and other applicable laws. This is because marijuana will soon be considered a lawful product under the Illinois Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act, meaning employers cannot take disciplinary action against employees for using marijuana off-duty and off-premises.
November 04, 2019
Though his predecessor previously vetoed similar bills, California Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed Assembly Bill 51 into law, effectively prohibiting the use of mandatory arbitration agreements for most employment law claims.
October 28, 2019
There are a number of reasons you may want to make deductions from an employee’s paycheck. Perhaps you want to recover the cost of uniforms or tools. Maybe an employee has destroyed property, or their cash register is short at the end of their shift. Or it could be that you advanced wages to a struggling employee. Knowing when, where, and how much you can deduct from an employee’s paycheck can save you time and money, not to mention protect your company’s reputation. Over the next few weeks, we will detail how you can make proper wage deductions and avoid illegal ones.
October 23, 2019
U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Indiana) and Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) introduced a bill on October 16, 2019, called the Workforce Mobility Act, which would significantly limit the use of non-compete agreements nationwide. A few states, such as California, North Dakota, and Oklahoma, already largely prohibit the use of non-compete agreements, and others, such as New Hampshire and Maine, prohibit the use of such restrictive covenants between employers and low-wage employees.
October 11, 2019
Prosecutors and regulatory agencies in several jurisdictions are ramping up efforts to address crime in the workplace, but the crimes they are targeting may surprise you.
October 07, 2019
The U.S. Department of Labor recently issued its Final Rule regarding new salary thresholds that will apply to certain exempt white-collar employees starting January 1, 2020. Current thresholds were last updated in 2004, and the new regulations more closely reflect growth in employee earnings, including increasing minimum wage requirements.
September 20, 2019
Dealing with terminations, layoffs, resignations, or any other type of separation is rarely listed as a favorite aspect of anyone’s job, but it is a reality for virtually all businesses. Handling separations correctly can put your organization in a better position to defend against wrongful termination claims and to demonstrate compliance. While contemporaneous documentation of separations and the underlying reasons for them is always a good idea, in some states, a separation notice is a legal requirement. As described in more detail below, employers in the following states should provide written notice of separation to departing employees.
September 11, 2019
On Tuesday September 10, 2019, California legislators passes a landmark bill which will require app based workers (ex. Uber, Lyft, Postmates) to be treated as employees. Traditionally, these app based companies treated their workers as independent contractors. California Governor Gavin Newsom is a supporter of the bill, and is expected to sign as soon as it moves through the State Assembly.
September 09, 2019
This is an issue raised in the R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC case, for which the Supreme Court will hear arguments next month. In this case, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued a Detroit area funeral home chain because the owner fired an employee due to disclosing her intent to transition from male to female. The lower court ruled in favor of the funeral home, but the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision, arguing that transgender discrimination is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII. The Supreme Court agreed to review the decision.
September 05, 2019
As state legislatures continue their fervor for enacting employment-related laws, they simultaneously create ever more complex webs of legal compliance challenges for employers. In that vein, one trend that continues to obscure the lines of what is or is not a lawful employment practice is the use restrictive covenant agreements. It was not long ago that companies were essentially free to enter into a variety of restrictive covenant agreements with employees to protect business assets. However, with California leading the way, employers now need to have their fingers on the pulse of law changes in the various states in which they operate before deciding to implement new restrictive covenant agreements or consider enforcing an existing one.
August 26, 2019
In addition to the spread of paid leave requirements, many employers must now also comply with fair workweek laws. “Fair workweek” initiatives, also known as “predictive scheduling,” require employers to provide work schedules to employees in advance and pay employees if those schedules change without sufficient notice.
August 12, 2019
Employers desiring to require low-wage earners to sign and comply with non-competition agreements will find that such agreements are becoming increasingly less enforceable. Courts across the country are refusing to enforce non-competes against low-wage employees, and some states are also taking legislative action to prohibit these agreements.
August 09, 2019
Your employee wants to use two hours of PTO to attend a conference or a school event for a minor child. You deny the request, reasoning that PTO should be taken in whole day increments for the purpose of vacations, and allowing the employee to take two hours of PTO may disrupt business operations for the day. Are you complying with the law?
August 05, 2019
One of the most frequently asked questions we get here at myHRcounsel is: do you do employee handbooks? The answer is always an emphatic, “YES!” Anyone who is a client of myHRcounsel gets an attorney-drafted, 50-state compliant, employee handbook. However, inquiring minds still want to know, “What should be in an employee handbook?” Every state’s laws are different, so your company will need different policies for each of the states where you employ workers. To that end, this list is illustrative and not exhaustive and is mostly based on federal laws only. But here we go:
July 29, 2019
Beginning August 1, 2019 in Minnesota, e-cigarettes and vaping will be banned in most indoor workplaces and public places. As part of the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act (MCIAA) that went into effect in 2007, it was amended so that vaping will have the same rules as traditional cigarettes in the state, which means they will no longer be allowed in stores, restaurants, bars, offices or industrial workspaces, or other public spaces. Local law enforcement will have the authority to issue petty misdemeanor citations to proprietors or individuals who knowing fail to comply with the requirements of the MCIAA.
July 15, 2019
California Governor Gavin Newson recently signed the Crown Act into law, making California the first state in the United States to specifically prohibit employers and school officials from discriminating against people based on their natural hair.
June 19, 2019
To our legal clients, our PEO partners, our HCM partners, and our followers via our Weekly Legal Brief, social media posts, and free website of forms, FAQ’s, etc. at www.myhrcounselcompliance.com – you no doubt have seen our warnings about the many non-legal “compliance” solutions in the market claiming that “claim” to provide employers with equivalent legal information and protection for HR/employment “compliance” issues.
June 18, 2019
Staffing agencies jump through hoops to provide their clients with the best, most qualified candidates and stay competitive. Background checks and drug tests are often essential, and expensive. These screening tools assure staffing agencies that their candidates are appropriate for placement, but what should staffing agencies do when the client demands more than just a certification of the candidate’s qualifications?
June 14, 2019
Employers have long been aware of laws prohibiting sexual harassment and discrimination and harassment on the basis of sex, race, religion, disability, national origin, and other protected characteristics. But what about uncivil or intimidating behavior unrelated to protected class status? Many employees complain to employers about coworkers creating “toxic” work environments, but the offending behavior falls outside of the umbrella of state and federal harassment and discrimination laws. How should employers handle these situations?
June 10, 2019
Minnesota employers, be prepared. A broad new wage theft and employee recordkeeping law goes into effect on July 1, 2019. This leaves employers only until the end of June to prepare to comply.
June 10, 2019
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont has promised to sign a bill that has been passed by the State Legislature, which will provide up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for workers in the state. This leave law will allow workers in the state 12 weeks paid leave to care for a new child, a sick family member, or a personal illness.
June 03, 2019
On Tuesday May 28th, Maine Governor Janet Mills signed into law “An Act Authorizing Employee Leave,” (“the Act”). This new law will provide eligible employees with the ability to accrue up to 40 hours of paid personal leave per year. Unlike other paid leave laws around the country, Maine’s will be the first to allow the employees to use the paid leave for any purpose, including non-medical or personal reasons.
May 29, 2019
Effective on January 1, 2020, employers in Oregon with 6 or more employees, must provide reasonable accommodations to employees and job applicants who have limitations due to pregnancy, unless doing so would impose a hardship.
May 20, 2019
On May 9, 2019, Washington governor Jay Inslee signed House Bill 1696, “an act relating to wage and salary information,” adding sections to the existing Equal Pay Act, as amended by the Equal Pay Opportunity Act. The new sections, which will take effect on July 28, 2019, are intended to promote equal pay by limiting inquiries into salary history and requiring wage scale transparency. Starting July 28, 2019, employers with 15 or more employees are:
May 06, 2019
Even though the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) employer reporting deadlines for tax year 2018 are behind us, the work with the ACA never stops. Several years into the reporting process, the IRS is still reviewing employer submissions from 2015 and 2016, and is still sending 226J penalty letters. Employers can receive a penalty letter if their submission to the IRS shows (a) a less than 95% offer of coverage rate, or (b) that a specific employee was not offered compliant coverage.
April 12, 2019
Retail giant H&M just became the latest corporation to face liability for allegedly failing to follow legal requirements regulating its use of fingerprint scan time clocks. A Cook County, Illinois resident is seeking class certification for a lawsuit alleging that H&M failed to abide by the provisions of the Biometric Information Privacy Act between 2012 and 2017. The plaintiff is seeking an unspecified amount in liquidated monetary damages, costs, attorney’s fees, and further relief.
April 08, 2019
We know that employers have a lot to consider when an employee separates, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. One such consideration is when final payment is due to that employee. As the answer varies from state to state, and from one situation to the next, we’ve compiled the table below to make the determination easier. As always, we encourage you to seek legal counsel with questions and specific factual scenarios.
April 01, 2019
On March 18, 2019, the Governor of New Jersey signed a new law that affects settlement agreements and employment contracts. Under the law:
March 20, 2019
On March 13, 2019, Cincinnati, Ohio became the latest jurisdiction to join the growing trend into adopting an ordinance which prohibits employers from asking about or relying on salary history of a prospective employee as they determine the starting pay. This ordinance will go into effect 365 days after becoming law and more detailed rules regarding implementation have been made available.
March 18, 2019
An employee requests the use of sick leave, vacation, or PTO to care for his ill mother. Your first instinct (and the 100% correct one) is to set that FMLA process in motion. But what if your employee wants to “save up” FMLA for scheduled surgery later in the year, or the expected birth of a child in a couple of months? What do you do if your employee says, “thanks, but no thanks” to FMLA?
March 14, 2019
On December 14, 2018, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed two laws which modified the current minimum wage and paid sick leave legislation. The changes are due to take effect on April 1, 2019. The new law, “Paid Medical Leave Act”, will replace the current “Earned Sick Time Act,” which was only recently passed. Under the new law there are several changes that will impact many businesses. For starters, this applies to all businesses with 50 or more employees.
March 08, 2019
Workplace violence is a disturbing, but real issue facing employers nationwide. News stories remind us of this reality with examples such as a recent workplace shooting in Illinois, in which a disgruntled employee shot several coworkers and police officers after learning that his employment was terminated. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that about two million workers report workplace violence every year. OSHA also states that employers must provide a place of employment “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.” So what should employers do about this growing concern?
March 08, 2019
On Thursday March 7, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced the proposal of a new overtime rule. According to the DOL press release, this rule would now make over 1 million American workers eligible for overtime. The new proposal would raise the salary threshold starting on January 1, 2020 to $679 per week, or roughly $35,308 annually. Currently, the salary threshold is at $455 per week or roughly $23,660 annually. The current salary threshold has been in place since 2004.
March 04, 2019
In a tight labor market where attracting top talent has become increasingly difficult, offering employee’s perks other than a higher salary could help an applicant considering multiple offers accept your offer instead of others. One of the perks that some companies have considered offering is unlimited paid time off (PTO) programs. Before you write off the idea as wackadoo, hear me out.
March 01, 2019
myHRcounsel is launching an exciting new partnership with a leading talent management solutions software company to make on-demand legal counsel a reality for its customers
February 23, 2019
Picture this scenario: your employee, a delivery driver, makes regular stops at a production facility. The facility is not owned by your company, and your company does not employ any of the production facility workers. While at the facility, your driver is subjected to unwanted comments and touching by an employee of the facility. Your employee complains, and your HR Manager states they’ll work with management at the production facility to handle it. Your employee later returns to the facility, and the harassment continues. Your employee resigns as a result of the ongoing harassment.
February 21, 2019
On Tuesday February 19, 2019, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law legislation that will expand the current paid family leave, which was enacted in 2008. The new law significantly expands protections for those who miss work due to caring for a newborn child or a sick loved one.
February 18, 2019
On Monday February 18, 2019, the New York City Commission on Human Rights released legal guidance on our protections and enforcement actions against racial discrimination on the basis natural hair and hairstyles. These guidelines will now consider the targeting of people based on their hairstyle at work, school, or in public places racial discrimination.
February 11, 2019
Last week, we reported on why staffing agencies should not disclose background check report results with their clients. This week, we’ll discuss a few ways in which this benefits clients, as well.
February 04, 2019
Staffing agencies encounter this request frequently – a client doesn’t want to commit to hire an applicant until it can review and approve the applicant’s background check report.
A Note from our CEO Mark Young: Legal Advice Versus Non-Legal (Informational Guidance). Does it Matter?
January 25, 2019
To our legal clients, and followers via our Weekly Legal Brief, social media posts, and free website of forms, FAQ’s, etc. at www.myhrcounselcompliance.com – you no doubt have seen my reactions to the many non-legal “compliance” solutions in the market claiming to provide employers with equivalent legal information and protection for the HR/employment issues. We’ve even observed, since our launch in 2015, changes in explanations of these non-legal solutions offerings, and claims of what they can do for employers.
January 10, 2019
The following are new labor laws in 2019 for the state of New York.
January 10, 2019
The following are new labor laws for Virginia in 2019.
January 10, 2019
The following are new labor laws for 2019 in Georgia and Tennessee.
January 07, 2019
If one of your News Year’s resolutions was to go on a “news diet”, then maybe you are one of the few lucky ones who is unaware that the partial government shutdown over border wall funding that started on December 21, 2018, continues, and seems poised to do so for the near future. While you may be thanking your lucky stars that you are not one of furloughed or unpaid federal employees, you may also be wondering how this government shutdown could impact your company. Aside from the litany of personal effects such as the disaster that has befallen the national parks and the possibility that income tax refund check processing will be delayed, there are some impacts that private employers may feel.
January 02, 2019
The following are new labor laws in Kentucky and how you can best prepare for them. These are effective January 1, 2019 unless noted:
January 02, 2019
The following are new labor laws in California and how you can best prepare for them. These are effective January 1, 2019 unless noted:
December 27, 2018
Compiled by our Attorney Brittany Nicholls, the following are new labor laws in Illinois and how you can best prepare for them. These are effective January 1, 2019 unless noted:
December 06, 2018
Do you have employees who are paid the minimum wage? Do you have tipped employees? Do you employ workers in more than one state? Do you make wage deductions, pay on a per job basis, or pay a salary to nonexempt employees, and have to ensure that your employees’ wages do not fall below the minimum wage for hours worked? No matter where you are located, what your industry is, or how many workers you employ, you need up-to-the-minute wage and hour information to comply with federal, state, and local laws and avoid costly lawsuits and intrusive, time-consuming investigations by wage compliance agencies.
December 03, 2018
According to the Hiscox Guide to Employee Lawsuits, U.S. employers face a 10.5% chance of an employee lawsuit in 2016. While you think your business might be safe with only a 10.5% chance at an employee lawsuit, the cost of one of these lawsuits can truly harm a business. The average cost of an employee lawsuit is $160,000! These employment claims can come from a number of areas, including:
November 29, 2018
It’s the most wonderful time of the year...except for HR departments who are unprepared to navigate the minefield of issues surrounding holiday parties and celebrations. While your company may be dreaming of an inclusive, tasteful acknowledgement of the winter holidays, you could wind up facing sexual harassment, religious discrimination, workers’ compensation, and wage and hour claims without expert advice from legal counsel. Here are some helpful hints for enjoying the holiday season while avoiding potential HR pitfalls:
November 28, 2018
On November 16, 2018, the Austin-based 3rd Court of Appeals ruled that Austin's paid sick and safe leave ordinance violates the state constitution. Specifically, the court held that the ordinance is preempted by the Texas Minimum Wage Act.
November 19, 2018
Social media: every employer’s double-edged sword. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter allow you to reach millions of potential customers and clients with one click. But when negative feedback about an employee shows up in your mentions, your first instinct may to be terminate first, ask questions later. Chipotle made that mistake with one of its Minnesota franchises, and is now backtracking on its rash decision.
November 19, 2018
On Wednesday November 14, St. Paul, Minnesota Mayor Melvin Carter signed into law a $15 minimum wage ordinance, which followed a 7-0 vote in favor by the St. Paul City Council. This law will gradually increase wages to $15 per hour over the next 3.5-8.5 years, with the variance dependent on the size of the business, however, contract workers will remain exempt, however tipped employees are not exempt.
November 12, 2018
Could this happen to you? As reported by the New York Post, a Memphis employer found itself on the receiving end of a barrage of complaints after one of its employees was captured on social media wearing a racist t-shirt to the polls on Election Day. The employer investigated and decided to terminate the employee. For some, terminating the employee may seem like a foregone conclusion. Others may be wary that terminating the employee may violate the employee’s First Amendment right to free speech. How do you ensure that you comply with the law and protect your business reputation when it comes to your employees’ off duty activity-both on and off social media?
November 05, 2018
Midterm elections are upon us, and employees may be eligible for paid time off from work to vote. More than 20 states require employers to allow paid time off, some with some restrictions, and other states require at least unpaid time off. See the chart below for information on whether you must provide your employees with paid time off to vote, and what other provisions may apply.
November 02, 2018
On Thursday, November 1, Google employees across the world participated in a walkout in response to the company’s handling of sexual harassment and misconduct claims. Many claim Google has treated female workers inequitably for years, and others are outraged that a Google executive was awarded a $90 million exit package even after the company concluded that a harassment claim against him was credible.
October 29, 2018
Halloween can be a spooky time of year; however, managing employee conduct around this fun and frightful holiday does not have to give your human resources department the chills. When enacting your policies and procedures regarding the Halloween holiday, the most important step you can take is to be proactive.
October 12, 2018
On May 29, 2018, the Duluth City Council adopted Ordinance 10571, establishing minimum standards for paid earned sick and safe time in the city. The ordinance will take effect on January 1, 2020, making Duluth the third city in Minnesota to enact a paid sick and safe time law. The new ordinance applies to private employers with five or more employees, regardless of whether employees work in Duluth or whether the employer is physically located in the city.
October 11, 2018
One of your employees reports a coworker for expressing extreme political views on social media. An employee frequently arrives at work wearing hats and shirts supporting a controversial candidate for office. A notice is posted on your breakroom bulletin board inviting employees to a rally in support of a position on a hot button issue. What should you do? What can you do?
October 11, 2018
Employers who rely on third party agencies to perform background checks on applicants and employees must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Among FRCA’s requirements is the obligation to supply applicants and employees who are subject to background checks with the Summary of Your Rights Under the FCRA.
October 11, 2018
With the election less than a month away, a big issue that employers should take note of, is the recreational marijuana measure that five states will vote on. Currently there are 30 states that have legalized marijuana use to a certain degree, including nine states that have legalized recreational marijuana (Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington).
October 03, 2018
Employers who use outside agencies to conduct background checks must use the new “A summary of your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act” Form. This was effective on September 21, 2018, and is one of the notices that employers must provide under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
September 17, 2018
For 2019, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) employer shared responsibility penalties are set to increase. As a reminder, these penalties apply to any month in which at least one full-time employee of an applicable large employer (ALE) receives a premium tax credit for purchasing coverage through the marketplace and either:
September 10, 2018
Every employer wants its employees to make a great first impression on clients and customers, promote an atmosphere of respect and professionalism in the workplace, and cultivate a general reputation of strong values and trustworthiness. One way employers approach this goal is to implement a dress code, or policy regarding dress and grooming. But employers should be aware of the pitfalls and practicality of implementing these types of policies.
August 28, 2018
We are pleased to announce an exciting new partnership between SyncStream Solutions and myHRcounsel™! With all of the changes in Washington politics in the last couple of years, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, remains the law of the land and applicable large employers are still required to comply with its mandate to offer minimum essential coverage to all full-time employees. One of the most confusing and tedious tasks involved in this compliance is the annual IRS filing requirements. Through myHRcounsel’s partnership with SyncStream, we are now providing our clients with the tools to take the stress out of these annual ACA filings. SyncStream’s comprehensive ACA Dashboard is a cloud-based tool designed to manage all aspects of ACA reporting and compliance including:
August 28, 2018
Do you wonder about the ways to cover expenses for employees who travel? One method is paying per diem. We frequently receive questions on per diem payments and the implications they have for employers and employees.
August 27, 2018
Hiring a new employee can rain a mountain of paperwork on any seasoned HR professional. Oftentimes, one is left asking, what order are all of these supposed to be complete?
August 23, 2018
Employers now have the ability to track employees’ movement and location using GPS and related tracking technology on employees’ vehicles and smartphones. The benefits of electronic tracking include monitoring employees’ performance and productivity, accurate time recording, and ensuring employees’ safety during work related travel. But using electronic tracking technology without the proper legal safeguards in place can lead to fines, sanctions, and costly lawsuits.
What to do when you notice issues or signs exhibited by an employee that you believe may be related to a medical issue?
August 21, 2018
Employers often notice performance, attendance, or other issues that lead them to be rightfully concerned about their employees’ well-being and safety. Managers, supervisors, and other decision makers in the organization should be trained to recognize situations and signals that could point to medical or personal issues requiring engagement in the interactive process under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). The ADA not only prohibits employment discrimination based on disability, but also creates responsibility for employers to make good faith efforts to reasonably accommodate applicants and employees with disabilities.
July 26, 2018
A common question from Staffing Agencies is whether or not they can share background checks or drug tests with clients. I understand wanting to do it, but I would highly recommend against it.
July 23, 2018
Did you know that over 68 million Americans have some type of criminal history? About as many Americans have criminal records as have college degrees. If you ask about criminal history on your applications to eliminate applicants with criminal records you may not just be eliminating one-third of your potential employees-you may be breaking the law!
July 23, 2018
California, New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island have all enacted laws providing paid family leave to employees who need time off to care for a seriously ill family member or bond with a new child. Paid family laws in these states is paid for through employee payroll deductions and pay from 50 to 70 percent of an employee’s weekly wage for six to eight weeks of leave.
July 23, 2018
Come September 1, 2018, Colorado’s latest consumer data privacy legislation, House Bill 18-1128, goes into effect. The new law requires covered entities to establish reasonable security procedures, responsibly dispose of personal identifying information, ensure that third party service providers properly handle personal identifying information, and timely notify affected residents of a security breach.
July 10, 2018
A federal judge in California recently halted enforcement of part of AB 450, one of California’s “Sanctuary State” laws. The law took effect in October 2017 and provides that employers:
· May not allow federal immigration officials to access the employer’s nonpublic work areas unless the officials have a judicial warrant;
July 02, 2018
With the upcoming summer holidays approaching, many employers have questions regarding holiday pay. Are private employers required to give employees time off? Does the law require private employers to pay a premium rate, such as time and a half, to employees who work on holidays? State and federal laws differ with regard to holiday pay.
June 29, 2018
The first minimum wage increase for employers in Minneapolis with 100 or less workers will take effect on July 1, 2018. Workers of these small businesses are required by law to be paid $10.25 per hour effective on July 1. Businesses with 100 or more workers are required to pay their workers $11.25 per hour on July 1, 2018.
June 28, 2018
Are you an employer in Rhode Island? If you answered yes, you better be prepared for the Rhode Island Sick and Safe Leave Time Law, which will be in effect on July 1, 2018. While the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training has stated that it will not enforce fines contained within the statute until January 1, 2019- employees are still able to sue their employers over the new law.
2019 is Closer Than You Think – Washington State Employers Should Begin Preparing for New Paid Family and Medical Leave Law
June 18, 2018
Last year, the State of Washington passed the new Paid Family Medical Leave law (PFML). The law covers all private employers in Washington.
During a year, eligible employees may be entitled to job-protected paid leave as follows:
June 13, 2018
Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) applies to all places of public accommodation (businesses open to the public). The federal circuits are somewhat split on whether the ADA applies to websites, and whether such websites must have a nexus to physical structures. Many recent cases, however, are trending toward requiring website accessibility (see below discussion of a recent summary judgment ruling out of California), and the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) has previously indicated that Title III of the ADA applies to websites that meet the definition of a public accommodation.
June 07, 2018
Do you think that you are ERISA compliant? The DOL has released the 2017 Form 5500, which is very similar to the 2016 Form 5500. While similar, there is a big difference, where if the Plan Name changed from 2016 to 2017- you must note this on the second page of the 2017 Form 5500. What this means is that something’s up with the DOL and health and welfare plans- are they ramping up enforcement?
April 30, 2018
Following the lead of a number of other states and cities across the country, New Jersey is taking steps to implement two new laws that will have a significant impact on employers.
April 20, 2018
Pay equity legislation is a trend that’s sweeping the country. Washington State joined the ranks of other cities, counties, and states by passing The Equal Pay Opportunity Act (EPOA). The law was recently signed by the governor and goes into effect on June 7, 2018.
March 22, 2018
After a two-year hiatus, American Idol is back on the air… Please try to contain your excitement! It’s been in the news lately not so much for its hilarious outtakes of woefully awful singers or the high drama of killing burgeoning singers’ dreams in an instant, but for illustrating a key employment law take-away.
February 27, 2018
On April 1, 2018, new Department of Labor regulations regarding short-term and long-term disability plans covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) go into effect. Employers must make sure that they and their plan administrators and third party administrators are ready to comply with the new regulations
December 14, 2017
What do you need in your HR toolbox that Facebook, Google, United Airlines, Snapchat, and Shutterfly wish they would have had? You may not know it yet, but a biometric information policy could be standing between you and millions of dollars in liability.
December 14, 2017
What do you need in your HR toolbox that Facebook, Google, United Airlines, Snapchat, and Shutterfly wish they would have had?
December 13, 2017
What do you need in your HR toolbox that Facebook, Google, United Airlines, Snapchat, and Shutterfly wish they would have had?