Labor and Employment Law

The Fair Labor Standards Act turns 75 today, June 25. The FLSA is a depression-era piece of legislation. Through the FLSA, Congress intended to raise working conditions and spur hiring.  Congress sought to do this by prohibiting child labor, establishing a minimum wage, and requiring payment of a premium for hours worked over a particular

A few weeks ago, in a piece entitled “Thorny Roses: Interns and Potential Wage Liability”, I wrote about PBS talk show host, Charlie Rose, and his production company’s $250,000 settlement of a class-action lawsuit brought by a former unpaid intern who claimed minimum-wage violations. On Monday, the assault against unpaid internships continued when a

PBS talk show host, Charlie Rose, and his production company recently agreed to pay as much as $250,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by a former unpaid intern who claimed minimum-wage violations under New York State labor laws.

The Complaint, brought on behalf of a potential class of 189 interns, alleged that The Charlie Rose Show used unpaid interns to perform background research to prepare Rose for guest interviews, escort guests through the studio and set, break down the set, and clean up after each taping. The Complaint also alleged that unlawful unpaid internships are prevalent in white collar professions, “especially in fields like politics, film, fashion, journalism and book publishing.”

So, how can an employer avoid Charlie’s folly when bringing on interns?

Continue Reading Thorny Roses: Interns and Potential Wage Liability

In the ever-evolving social media landscape, employers now have a new area of concern: Vine, a video-sharing app introduced by Twitter.  On May 21, 2013, the American Bar Association Journal published an article alerting employers to this new outlet for employee expression and the potential issues employers are facing as a result.  ABA Journal Article

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) released a revised Employment Eligibility Verification form, Form I-9, on March 8, 2013. The revised form contains formatting changes, the inclusion of additional data fields for employee email addresses and telephone numbers, and improved instructions. Employers must begin using the new form by May 7, 2013, but should

“What is in a name? That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet . . .”

-William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Roses aside, classifying someone as an “employee” or an “independent contractor” (or rather misclassifying them) can have significant effects. The misclassification of employees as independent contractors is the

On January 30, 2013, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Health and Human Services (the “Departments”) issued proposed regulations to amend to exempt group health plans established or maintained by certain “religious employers” with respect to the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) requirement to cover contraceptive services. The ACA currently requires non-exempt, non-grandfathered group health plans to provide, without cost-sharing by employees, certain preventive health services including contraceptive services, sterilization, and abortion services. In response to concerns that this requirement violates religious beliefs of employers, the Departments have promulgated proposed amendments to the regulations.

The proposed regulations amend the criteria for the religious employer exemption. The current definition of “religious employer” requires that the employer:

  1. Has the inculcation of religious values as its purpose;
  2. Primarily employs persons who share its religious tenets;
  3. Primarily services persons who share its religious tenets; and
  4. Is a non-profit organization described in Section 6033(a)(1)(a)(3)(A)(i) or (iii) of the Internal Revenue Code.

The proposed regulations revise the definition of “religious employer” to eliminate the first three prongs listed above, but maintain prong number four. Section 6033 of the Internal Revenue Code refers to churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches, as well as to the exclusively religious activities of any religious order. The Departments have represented that with the revised definition there will “no longer be any question as to whether group health plans of houses of worship that provide educational, charitable, or social services to their communities qualify for the exemption.”

Continue Reading A New Definition to “Religious Employer” under the Affordable Care Act

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) is seeking public input into a Quality Control Plan it is developing as part of its Strategic Plan for the fiscal years 2012-2016. The Strategic Plan provides the framework by which the EEOC accomplishes its mission to stop and remedy unlawful employment discrimination. The Quality Control Plan will

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is seeking public comments regarding a proposal for a new online whistleblower complaint form. The form, which would allow whistleblowers to electronically submit whistleblower complaints directly to OSHA, is part of OSHA’s proposal to revise the information collection requirements for handling retaliation complaints filed with OSHA under various

February 5, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor issued its final rule rolling out new amendments to the FMLA regulations that correspond with military related leaves of absence.  The FMLA was amended in 2008 and 2010 to provide leave rights for military families.  The amended regulations implement changes made to the FMLA.  In addition, the