Labor and Employment Law

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By Erin Kilgore and Ed Hardin

“Throw me something, mister!” A labor dispute between dock workers and shipping companies on the West Coast has delayed shipments of signature Mardi Gras beads to the Big Easy (along with countless other items stuck in gridlock).

The longshoremen in question have been working without a collective bargaining agreement

By Michael D. Lowe

The U.S. Department of Labor, in conjunction with the IRS and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has issued new model COBRA notices. The revised notices provide information to qualified beneficiaries regarding other coverage options, including marketplace exchanges, Medicaid and other group health plans.

The revisions also direct individuals with

By Edward H. Warner

Yesterday (March 25, 2014), the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. (“Hobby Lobby”) and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius (“Conestoga”), two consolidated cases which challenge requirements under the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). Specifically, each case involves private companies that challenge the federal health care

By Michael D. Lowe

On February 12, 2014, President Obama followed up on comments made during his State of the Union address and signed an Executive Order increasing the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors. The Order, which increases the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour, covers all employees who perform services

By Brian R. Carnie

On February 10, 2014, the Treasury Department released final regulations on the employer mandate provisions under the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare). While the final rules retain much of what was outlined in the proposed regulations issued in December 2012, the most significant news is the additional one-year delay for certain

By Scott D. Huffstetler

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced yesterday that it is issuing proposed amendments to its rules and regulations governing union election procedures.  On its website, the NLRB reported that “[i]n substance, the proposed amendments are identical to the representation procedure changes first proposed in June of 2011."  Those of you

By Lee Vail

On December 9, 2013, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) requested comments concerning potential changes to its Process Safety Management (“PSM”) program that could have a significant impact on oil field operations. See 78 Fed. Reg. 73756 (Dec. 9, 2013). Among the many “modernizations” of the PSM standard, OSHA is seeking comment on the elimination of exemptions that directly affect oil field operations. Current exemptions of concern include:

  • atmospheric storage tanks;
  • oil-and-gas production facilities; and
  • oil-and-gas well drilling and servicing.

PSM applies to “a process which involves a Category 1 flammable gas (as defined in 1910.1200(c)) or a flammable liquid with a flashpoint below 100 °F (37.8 °C) on site in one location, in a quantity of 10,000 pounds (4535.9 kg).” 29 CFR 1910.119(a)(ii). The addition of atmospheric storage tanks is significant as a tank as small as 35 Barrels of crude oil will cause the “process” to exceed the 10,000 pound threshold. As a consequence, other process equipment that contains less than 10,000 pounds of flammable materials that is connected to the tank (via piping) may also become subject to PSM requirements.


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By Erin L. Kilgore

“Pumping,” or expressing breast milk, is now protected under Title VII. In a matter of first impression, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal recently held that an adverse employment action taken against a female employee because she was expressing milk constituted sex discrimination in violation of Title VII. See Equal Employment