Fisher Phillips in the News
In its newly unveiled overtime rule, the Department of Labor (DOL) raised the overtime threshold and expressed a commitment to review the threshold more frequently in the future. Marty Heller spoke to SHRM and Law 360 about what this all might mean for employers as they prepare for the rule’s Jan. 1, 2020 effective date.
New Jersey (October 14, 2019) – Fisher Phillips, a national labor and employment law firm representing employers, announces the addition of Alyssa Musmanno as an associate in the firm’s New Jersey office.
James McDonald, regional managing partner of the Irvine office, told the Associated Press in an interview that employees are not guaranteed free speech in the workplace.
LOS ANGELES (October 10, 2019) – Fisher Phillips, a national labor and employment law firm representing employers, is pleased to announce the addition of three employment litigators in the firm’s Los Angeles office. Nicole Golob Minkow and Nicole Kamm join the firm’s California Litigation Practice as partners and Hannah Sweiss joins as an associate.
Workers at a Philadelphia media station who delivered their petition to management declaring their intent to unionize, and management’s refusal to voluntarily recognize the union, has caught the attention of labor and employment watchers and news media.
IRVINE (Oct. 8, 2019) – Fisher Phillips, a national labor and employment law firm representing employers, announces the additions of Lyle Chan and Kari Gibson as associates in its Irvine office.
The 2019 Supreme Court session has officially been called to order, and Randall Coffey has been fielding questions from reporters—SHRM, Law360 and Business Insurance—about how the Court’s term will impact employers.
ATLANTA (October 7, 2019) – Fisher Phillips, a national labor and employment law firm representing employers, today announces various office and committee leadership changes along with the appointment of partners Kathleen McLeod Caminiti and J. Hagood Tighe as co-chairs of the firm’s Wage and Hour practice group.
Effective Oct. 1, 2019 OSHA put a new weighting system in place for workplace safety and health inspections for fiscal year 2020.
In September 2019, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock and Councilwoman Robin Kniech (at-large) proposed to raise the citywide minimum wage starting on Jan. 1, 2020. It is estimated that more than 100,000 Denver residents would see higher wages under this proposal.
Forbes partnered with market research company Statista to compile the inaugural list of top U.S. corporate law firms based on survey responses from 2,500 lawyers. Fisher Phillips not only made the list but was also noted as one of the most recommended firms for Labor & Employment.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has this year issued a flurry of proposed rules and opinion letters in an apparent attempt to clarify and modernize the Fair Labor Standards Act, culminating in the late-September release of its long-awaited rule on the salary threshold for white-collar exemptions and permissible exclusions.
- Columbus Partner Advises Ohio Employers on Preparing to Deal with Workplaces that Include Medical Marijuana Users9.30.19
With the opening of Ohio’s first medical marijuana dispensaries, the state’s employers must now be prepared to deal with a workforce that includes legal users.
- Kansas City Partner Encourages Employers to Adopt New USDOL Overtime Rules Well Before January Deadline9.27.19
The U.S. Department of Labor’s long-awaited overtime rules – the agency’s first salary exemption increase since 2004 – bumped the salary threshold for exempt employees from $455 per week to $684 per week, or $35,568 per year. Announced the week of September 23, 2019, the new rules take effect January 1, 2020.
In its final rule on overtime pay, the US Department of Labor raised the salary threshold for highly compensated employees. In an interview with SHRM, Kathleen Caminiti, co-chair of the firm’s Wage and Hour practice, explained that a duties test remains for high-compensated employees, though it’s not as exacting as the test for executive, administrative and professional exemptions.
The US Department of Labor finalized its much-anticipated overtime rule, making an estimated 1.3 million more American workers eligible for time-and-a-half pay. The final rule allows employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments, including commissions, that are paid at least annually to satisfy up to 10% of the salary level.
BOSTON, (September 23, 2019) – Fisher Phillips, a national labor and employment law firm representing employers, announces the addition of Jennifer A. Scully as an associate in the firm’s Boston office.
The NLRB has announced its intention of rewriting the definition of “employee” to prevent graduate and undergraduate students at higher education institutions from forming unions.
Human Resource Executive tackled the topic of men excluding women in the workplace out of fear of being accused of sexual harassment. In the article, attorney Michelle Anderson explains that such behavior is a form of gender discrimination, opening up employers to litigation.
- Firm Again Recognized for Its Commitment to Advancing Women in the Profession9.20.19
ATLANTA (September 20, 2019) Fisher Phillips was named among the “Top 100 Law Firms for Women” by Women Inc. Magazine. The list celebrates firms with a proven commitment to advancing women in the profession through female representation and leadership.
The Tenth Circuit ruled that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) applies to employees working in the marijuana industry despite violation of the Controlled Substances Act.
IRVINE (Sept. 18, 2019) – Fisher Phillips, a national labor and employment law firm representing employers, announces the addition of David Crockett as an associate in its Irvine office.
In its Law Firm Leaders Q&A series, Law360 spoke with Fisher Phillips Chairman Roger Quillen about the firm’s recent growth spurt, its strategies for luring top talent and the one quality he thinks associates need to have to succeed. During his tenure, the firm has opened 30 offices and continues to grow. Roger credits that growth to needing to be where our clients are and expanding where top talent is looking to make a jump to the firm’s national platform.
James C. Fessenden recently spoke with the Daily Journal regarding Assembly Bill 170, a bill that gives newspaper publishers until Jan. 1, 2021 to switch delivery drivers and other distributors from independent contractors to employees. AB 170 is a companion bill to AB 5 and is awaiting signature from Gov. Gavin Newsom.
San Diego Partner James C. Fessenden recently spoke with Law360’s Pro Say Podcast regarding California Assembly Bill 5. The bill, which would codify the Dynamex ABC test into state law, pass the legislature on Sept. 11 and is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Courts across the U.S. are issuing conflicting rulings on whether employees who are morbidly obese are protected disability under the ADA. Four circuit courts of appeal have held obesity can only be considered a disability if there is an underlying physiological condition.
Some companies are starting to experiment with interviewing job candidates via text. Attorney Erin Price talked to Legaltech News about the risks and rewards.
Fisher Phillips, a national labor and employment law firm representing employers, announced today that Clarence M. Belnavis has been named Managing Partner of the firm’s Portland office. He reassumes the role after serving as Managing Partner of the Portland office from 2007 to 2009.
California Assembly Bill 5 passed the Legislature and is headed to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk. The bill codifies the Dynamex ABC test into state law and could switch millions of California gig economy workers from independent contractors to employees. James Fessenden spoke with local and national media outlets on the legal workings of the bill and its potential impact on employers if it is signed into law. James explains that overcoming “Prong B” of the ABC test will be the biggest hurdle for companies. Under that prong, companies will have to distinguish their business model from the worker’s duties in order to pass the test. James says the law puts the burden on businesses to prove that exemption.
PORTLAND (Sept. 12, 2019) – Fisher Phillips, a national labor and employment law firm representing employers, announces the addition of Natalie Horwitz as an associate in its Portland office.
LOS ANGELES, (September 10, 2019) – Fisher Phillips, a national labor and employment law firm representing employers, is pleased to announce that Los Angeles Managing Partner Todd Scherwin was recognized by Law360 as a 2019 Rising Star in Employment Law. The designation honors career accomplishments of attorneys under 40 whose legal accomplishments transcend their age. Scherwin was selected from over 1,300 submissions and was one of five attorneys selected for Employment Law. He joins 175 attorneys across the country honored in the 2019 class of Rising Stars.
The Department of Labor (DOL) has increased its pursuit of harsher penalties, like jail time, for employers who fail to pay delinquent safety fines.
It’s no secret that social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have become a global phenomenon. According to a 2015 study, Americans check their social media accounts an average of 17 times per day. Considering the highest usage was observed in those between the ages of 25 and 54, it’s easy to conclude that Americans’ social media compulsion is infiltrating the workplace, as people struggle not to sneak a peek throughout the day.
The NLRB overturned an administrative law judge’s ruling in Velox Express, Inc. and Jeannie Edge finding that employers do not violate the NLRA by misclassifying employees as independent contractors. In response to the NLRB’s ruling, Todd Lyon, co-chair of the firm’s Labor Relations practice told HR Dive that the ruling is a “good win for employers.”
The August 2019 Immigration and Customs Enforcement operation, in which ICE officers arrested nearly 700 workers across Mississippi, was the largest immigration enforcement action ever undertaken in a single state. The coordinated sting left employers nationwide wondering if their workplaces, too, could be raided.
Houston, Texas (August 22, 2019) – Fisher Phillips, a national labor and employment law firm representing employers, announces the addition of Hollie Reiminger as Of Counsel in the firm’s Houston office.
Lex Machina released its “Employment Litigation in the Southeast Report,” naming Fisher Phillips one of the busiest employment litigation firms in Florida, Georgia and Texas.
New Jersey Acting Governor Sheila Oliver signed into law Assembly Bill 2903 that ramps up penalties for violations of the state’s wage theft law. Employers in the Garden State are now facing increased financial penalties and first offenders could see prison sentences between 10 and 90 days.
A growing number of states and cities are banning questions about an applicants salary history. The move is designed to help close the pay gap by stopping new salaries from being set off previous ones, but in some cases, employers are still asking the question when they shouldn’t be.
ATLANTA, (August 15, 2019) - Fisher Phillips, a national labor and employment law firm representing employers, announced today that 96 attorneys have been selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2020 edition. The attorneys, selected from Fisher Phillips’ offices across the country, were honored for their practices in Employment Law – Management, Labor Law – Management, and Labor and Employment Litigation unless otherwise noted.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (August 13, 2019) – Fisher Phillips, a national labor and employment law firm representing employers, is pleased to announce the addition of Mark Trocinski as an associate in its Memphis office.
ATLANTA (August 9, 2019) – Fisher Phillips, a national labor and employment law firm representing employers, announces the addition of Micah Dickie as an associate in its Atlanta office.
SAN DIEGO (Aug. 7, 2019) – Fisher Phillips, a national labor and employment law firm representing employers, announces the addition of Kathryn Evans as an associate in its San Diego office.
Administrative law judges have struck down 16 of the 17 confidentiality rules that they’ve examined in cases applying the NLRB’s December 2017 decision in Boeing. The rulings provide clues about whether the myriad rules employers impose to control employee conduct in unionized and nonunionized workplaces will ultimately survive board review under the Boeing framework.
- Decision Striking Down EEOC’s Criminal Background Guidance in Texas Likely to Impact Employers Across the Country8.7.19
Texas sued the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) over 2012 guidance cautioning employers to limit the use of criminal background checks during the hiring process for state jobs. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a decision siding with Texas and ruling that blanket bans against hiring those with criminal records could not be enforced against the state.
Starting January 2020, New Jersey employers will no longer be allowed to ask prospective employees about their salary history. Under the new law, Assembly Bill 1094, combined with the Diane B. Allen Pay Equity Act, New Jersey now has some of the strongest wage discrimination protections in the country.
The workplace is one of the many fronts of battle against the U.S. opioid epidemic. Employers need to be aware that workers suffering from addiction are protected under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, unless they’re currently using drugs illegally addition. In an interview with Bloomberg Law regarding best practices for managing the addiction in the workplace, Courtney Leyes explains that a “zero tolerance” approach may put employers at risk.
Margaret Burnham recently spoke with the Vancouver Business Journal regarding the Washington Supreme Court’s landmark decision that makes obesity a protected class under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD).
- Memphis Partner Advocates for Strong Policies, Common Sense to Avoid Both Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace8.1.19
The #MeToo movement is driving some men to avoid women in the workplace and some companies to fear hiring women at all, recent research shows. In an interview with WMC-TV, partner Courtney Leyes advises companies to have and rely on strong workplace policies.
The NLRB has had a busy July, issuing rulings on bargaining orders, bonuses and violations of the National Labor Relations Act, to name a few. Law360 spoke with Steve Bernstein, partner and co-chair of the firm’s Labor Relations practice for a breakdown of these rulings.
The Washington State Supreme Court recently ruled that it is illegal to refuse to hire an obese individual if they are otherwise qualified for the job. While there are few laws that directly address obesity discrimination, states are taking different approaches to protecting a new class of Americans. HRDive covered this spreading shift in policy and spoke with Myra Creighton and Margaret Burnham on what employers should do to minimize the risk of litigation.
- Fisher Phillips Attorneys Selected by The National Black Lawyers to Top 100 and Top 40 Under 40 Lists7.31.19
CLEVELAND (July 31, 2019) - Cleveland partner Jazmyn Stover and associate Brittany Brantley have been recognized by The National Black Lawyers (NBL) for their success in and contributions to the legal community. Stover has been selected for inclusion in the 2019 Top 100 Lawyers List and Brantley has been selected for inclusion in the 2019 Top 40 Under 40 Lawyers List. The lists, published annually, honor the top 100 attorneys from each state and the top 40 attorneys under the age of 40 in each state who excel in their profession and promote diversity.
The NLRB has had a busy year, issuing several precedent-shifting ruling so far in 2019. In its roundup of the remaining cases before the NLRB, Law360 examines the issues at stake for employers.
Fisher Phillips, a national labor and employment law firm representing employers, announces the addition of attorneys Amanda N. Buchan, Ryan R. Jones, Radhika V. Mehta, Gulsah Senol and Eryne Walvekar who join as associates in its Seattle office.
As technology continues to advance into all facets of daily life, data security is an ever-increasing concern, and the workplace is no exception. While employee identification badges have been around for decades, employers are increasingly using other forms of biometric data, like fingerprint and palm print scans, facial recognition, iris scans and voice prints, to confirm identity for security purposes or to track employee attendance.
A new wave of lawsuits and regulatory actions could begin rolling into the local courts after the city of Chicago became the latest government to establish an ordinance setting new rules for how employers can schedule their workers. The Chicago City Council approved its new Fair Workweek Ordinance.
- Memphis Partner Says Clear Policies, Treating Women with Dignity Are Keys to Avoiding #MeToo and Discrimination Claims7.25.19
Recent research has shown that, as a result of the #MeToo movement, some male bosses may be more inclined to avoid one-on-one meetings with women in the workplace. This approach can put a company in a position of discriminating against female employees. In an interview with WREG-TV, partner Courtney Leyes explains that Title VII requires men and women to be treated the same in the workplace. Men who treat women with respect and dignity will not run a risk of either harassment or discrimination claims, and all companies should have clear policies and set well-defined expectations of acceptable workplace behaviors, she said.
The job market is tight and employers are looking to sweeten their benefits packages to attract and retain talent. In an article published by Quartz about the potential popularity of universal paid time off policies that aren’t specific to caregivers, attorney Cynthia Blevins Doll, says millennials are driving employers to consider a more agnostic approach to paid leave. “They are looking for any number of benefits that may or may not be because of caregiving responsibilities,” she says. “They like flexibility, they like flexible hours, they like paid time off.”
The DOL clarified that the time drivers spend in sleeper berths does not count as compensable time, unless they are actually performing work or are on call. The guidance is expected to be influential in court challenges on driver sleeper-berth pay issues. Andy Scott told Transportation Topics that these cases were just starting to gather strength.
The EEOC saw nearly 40,000 complaints of retaliation in 2018, the largest category of workplace mistreatment. To avoid becoming part of this statistic, Christine Howard spoke with Law360 on best practices for avoiding retaliation complaints. She recommends that employers be decisive.
SAN DIEGO (July 22, 2019) – Fisher Phillips, a national labor and employment law firm representing employers, announces the addition of Christopher Jevsevar as an associate in its San Diego office.
As the newly crowned world champion U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team members received their winners’ medals, chants of “equal pay!” reverberated through the stadium. While equal pay issues generally don’t garner worldwide attention, increasing attention is being shown to these issues across the United States.