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  • 9.2.19

    The New Jersey Panic Device Law defines hotel to include not just hotels, but also inns, boarding houses, motels, and other similar establishments that offer and accept payment in exchange for rooms, sleeping accommodations, or board and lodging and that retain rights of access and control over their premises. Regardless of the type of “hotel,” the establishment must also have at least 100 guest rooms in order to be subject to the Panic Device Law. If your business has fewer than 100 guest rooms, compliance with the Panic Device Law is unnecessary.

  • 9.2.19

    The surge in popularity of the gig economy in recent years has largely been a positive trend. The gig economy has made it possible for us to Uber from place to place, hire housecleaners or handymen as needed, find a dog walker or babysitter at the last minute, and have just about any meal you want delivered to your door quickly. All with the touch of an app.

  • 9.2.19

    Over the past few years, we have seen a steadily increasing number of states enact legislation legalizing marijuana for recreational or medical use. There are currently a total of 34 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands that permit the use of medical marijuana, while 12 states permit the prescription of low-THC cannabidiol (CBD) products for certain medical conditions.

  • 9.2.19

    Until just last year, it was common for public sector collective bargaining agreements to require employees who elected not to belong to a union, but were still covered by the CBA, to pay “fair share” fees to the union as a condition of employment. The practice had been blessed by the U.S. Supreme Court in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (1977), which reasoned that all employees within a bargaining unit benefit from union representation in negotiations. Therefore, it had been permissible for public employers to require payment of fees equivalent to union dues through an agreement in the CBA in exchange for that representation.

  • 9.2.19

    Crowdfunding, in the most basic sense, is the practice of raising money from a large number of people through any number of internet-based platforms. It has become an increasingly popular way for individuals, businesses, charities, and organizations to raise money for specific goals and objectives.

  • 9.2.19

    Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) are account-based health plans funded with employer contributions to reimburse eligible participants and dependents for medical expenses. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, HRAs were not uncommon. 

  • 9.2.19

    We live in a technological world—this is not news. We now communicate more through our electronic devices than we do in person—this is also not news. Yet, one interpersonal mechanism necessary for securing a job has remained largely sacrosanct—interviews. While you may be reading this thinking, “Well, what about Skype or video interviews? I’ve had at least one of those,” you have acutely identified the growing trend of “interview by anywhere.”

  • 9.2.19

    When faced with a problem or question, do you reach for a resource book or simply Google it to find a solution? Chances are, you Google it (or ask Alexa). Typing in a quick search for an answer is not only easier but usually significantly quicker. Similarly, chatbots powered by artificial intelligence (AI) may provide an easier and quicker way for employees to obtain fast answers to their questions, rather than having to dig up their old employee handbook from onboarding and painstakingly read through the 100-page PDF in search of the applicable policy.

  • 9.2.19

    These days, technology occupies nearly every part of our lives. There is an app for everything, and we can order virtually anything we want on demand and have it arrive on our doorstep nearly immediately. We want things, we want them now, and we want them without having to put much thought into the automated process that led us there.

  • 9.2.19

    When the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a memorandum last year announcing that agency inspectors are now authorized to use camera-carrying Unmanned Aircraft Systems—or drones—to collect evidence during inspections in certain workplace settings, employers across the country should have collectively raised their eyes to the sky. This development means that OSHA inspectors are not only authorized to conduct in-person inspections of your workplace, they can fly remote-controlled aircraft above your worksite to track down safety violations. While most would agree that workplace safety is of the utmost importance, the use of drones to inspect a worksite raises new concerns for employers.

  • 9.2.19

    It’s hard to keep up with all the recent changes to labor and employment law. While the law always seems to evolve at a rapid pace, there have been an unprecedented number of changes for the past few years—and this past month was no exception.

  • 9.2.19

    A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a popular vehicle for paying health care costs. Employees find HSAs attractive because they can control the amount of money contributed, determine when to withdraw money, and enjoy the benefits of what is essentially a tax-favored savings account – money can be contributed, earned, and distributed for qualified expenses on a tax-free basis. Not to mention the fact that HSAs are portable. 

  • 9.2.19

    In today’s business climate, work always seems to be on the mind. But should it be? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the productivity of the average American worker has skyrocketed by an astounding 400% since 1950. And yet, in the furious midst of our all-out race to the top, some of us have found ourselves running head first into the old familiar phrase: “work-life balance.”

  • 8.1.19

    Perhaps the most shocking aspect of employment-related cases from the 2018-2019 Supreme Court term that just wrapped up was the number of unanimous decisions – seven of the eight rulings – were agreed upon by all of the Justices. And most them contained similar reasoning to reach the unanimous result. Whether addressing the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, arbitration agreements under the Federal Arbitration Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and even the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, SCOTUS’s recent decisions indicate a strong theme: it means what it says. Don’t imply exemptions in the statutes that don’t exist; don’t use ambiguities to waive rights; and only read statutory exemptions and limitations as they were intended to be interpreted.  

  • 8.1.19

    Climate change may make our summers hotter, but the ICEman still cometh. Since late 2017, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has significantly increased the number of Notices of Inspections issued to employers nationwide. This spike in I-9 audits has also resulted in an increase in assessed civil penalties and punitive fines to employers with non-compliant I-9s. While ICE audits and fines are on the rise, this article will walk you through options to assist with breaking the ICE and decreasing assessed fines.  

  • 8.1.19

    Employee burnout is now an officially diagnosable condition. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), which recently updated its definition, employee burnout is not a medical condition. Instead, the WHO calls burnout an “occupational phenomenon.”

  • 8.1.19

    When dealing with a difficult adversary, sage advice suggests that one should consider “killing them with kindness.” That advice does not work out well, however, when healthcare managers are too kind when addressing (or ignoring) employee performance shortcomings

  • 8.1.19

    A federal appeals court recently rejected a physician’s employment discrimination lawsuit against a hospital that revoked her privileges because it found her not to be an “employee” eligible to bring such a claim. The lessons you can learn from this decision might help your organization defend a similar claim in the future.

  • 8.1.19

    Pre-dispute arbitration agreements are commonly found in customer contracts and employment contracts, including in many nursing home agreements. For those unfamiliar, arbitration is an alternative dispute resolution method to filing a case in court, where the parties state their case in front of and then receive binding decisions from a neural arbitrator or panel of arbitrators.

  • 8.1.19

    In a recent web alert, we discussed the compliance challenges that many dealerships face when dealing with employees with disabilities. However, as many dealers have found, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not apply to employees only. Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination based on a disability in places of public accommodations.

  • How To Prepare Your Dealership For An OSHA Investigation
    8.1.19

    Have you ever heard the expression “a good craftsman never blames his tools”? Well, that doesn’t apply to Buzz Kutt, one of your technicians who continually blames others for his own inability to turn hours. Now that summer is here, Buzz has come to you for the umpteenth time to complain about the heat in the shop. You believe Buzz has others stirred up about this issue as well. 

  • 8.1.19

    It’s hard to keep up with all the recent changes to labor and employment law. While the law always seems to evolve at a rapid pace, there have been an unprecedented number of changes for the past few years—and this past month was no exception.

  • 7.1.19

    During the Obama administration, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rocked the HR world for employers, both union and non-union, by interpreting federal law to create broad restrictions on employer work rules, social media policies, trade secret and confidentiality policies, and employee handbooks generally. If a rule or a policy had any “chilling effect” on an employee’s rights with respect to wages, benefits, terms and conditions of employment, and protected concerted activity, the Board would find that it violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

  • 7.1.19

    Although the draconian state law on wage statements often makes it feel like the deck is stacked against the business community, a California Court of Appeals recently provided a rare win for employers when it comes to what information must be provided on the statements. The Court upheld a trial court decision that found the employer did not violate Labor Code Section 226 by using its fictitious business name as the “employer name” on its wage statements, or by providing an employer address that did not contain a mail stop code or ZIP+4 code. 

  • 7.1.19

    It’s been tough to keep up with developments concerning the fallout from the Dynamex case and California’s new ABC test for determining employee/independent contractor status. The past few months have seen several recent regulatory and judicial developments, while high-stakes negotiations over legislative relief continue in Sacramento.

  • 7.1.19

    If you’ve received a PAGA notice, you can count yourself as one of several thousands of California employers who receive one every year. In fact, 2018 saw a record number of PAGA claims—over 5,700, a 15 percent jump from 2017—filed with the Labor and Workforce Development Agency. The steadily increasing number can be explained by three characteristics unique to PAGA actions: the absence of class certification requirements, that they are not arbitrable, and cannot be waived. The astronomical potential penalties attached to PAGA actions also helps fuel these types of representative actions. Luckily, there is a 10-step process you can take if you receive such a notice to put your organization in the best possible position.

  • 7.1.19

    For decades, the problem of scheduling has plagued employers and employees alike. Employees prefer predictable and reliable schedules, while employers need flexibility. To address this tension, regulators have recently begun to pass predictive scheduling laws that seek to strike a tenuous balance between these interests. Given the recent rise in popularity of these laws, it is important for you to understand what these laws are, where you are most likely to encounter them, and what steps you can take to make sure you’re abreast of the most up-to-date compliance strategies.

  • 7.1.19

    It is officially summertime. And with warm temperatures and the draw of fun in the sun comes one of the largest challenges for leave and absence managers: Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) fraud and abuse. Unfortunately, misuse of FMLA is at its peak this time of year, and when it becomes a chronic problem, it can drive up costs because of lost productivity and the need for hiring replacement workers, while also negatively affecting workplace morale.

  • 7.1.19

    Equal pay for equal work is a hot topic for employers. In the last few years, several states have passed equal pay laws, while the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is paying more attention to equal pay issues on the federal level as reflected in recent enforcement actions. Just last month, the EEOC filed two gender-based pay discrimination suits in Maryland federal court, alleging in one suit that a security company compensated male guards at a higher rate than women and in a second suit that an asset dealer paid a female manager less than her male subordinates. The agency’s increased attention on employers’ equal pay obligations should serve as a wakeup call to employers to ensure that their pay practices pass muster.

  • 7.1.19

    The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced proposed regulations on overtime that would render more than 1 million new workers eligible for overtime pay. Coupled with a historically tight labor market, this new rule has the potential to place even greater strain on employers already struggling to attract and retain new talent for their respective workforces.

  • 7.1.19

    It’s hard to keep up with all the recent changes to labor and employment law. While the law always seems to evolve at a rapid pace, there have been an unprecedented number of changes for the past few years—and this past month was no exception.

  • 6.3.19

    If you could have any super power, what would it be? Many would ask for perfect timing, because timing is everything. An individual with great timing would be hilarious, an amazing investor, great at any timing-based sports, always in place at the right time, and never wasteful of the one thing we cannot get more of—time.

  • 6.3.19

    As a manager, you’re trained to identify discrimination and harassment when you see it. You see it when a manager in another department isn’t being fair to subordinates of another race. You’re familiar with your obligations when you find out that two of your top salespeople are dating. You know that your company’s policies prohibit delivery vendors from harassing your office manager. But what happens when the threat comes from inside? What about when your own subordinates don’t respect you because of gender bias?

  • 6.3.19

    Many companies, especially those in the technology industry, have created buzz over the last few years by offering employees “unlimited” paid time off (PTO). Traditionally, an employee’s time off has been separated into vacation and sick days, designated when the time is taken off work. In these scenarios, an employee may only take the number of vacation days allotted to that individual and, unlike paid sick leave, unused vacation at termination is paid out to the employee. Some companies provide PTO for “illness and wellness,” and a set number of PTO days are provided for use at the employee’s discretion.

  • 6.3.19

    Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), employers have a right to be given the opportunity to accompany an OSHA compliance safety and health officer (CSHO) during an inspection of the workplace. In most cases, there is no issue with compliance: when a CSHO shows up to conduct an inspection and presents their credentials to the employer, the employer knows that OSHA intends to conduct an inspection and has an opportunity to guide the walk-around. 

  • 6.3.19

    Hotel and restaurant employers commonly require employees to wear uniforms, some as simple as a shirt with company logo, others requiring a more complete look: jacket or blouse and pants or skirt, or dress. Some employers, however, fail to consider the consequences of imposing the cost of the uniform on an employee. Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), an employer violates the law when a uniform deduction cuts into a non-exempt employee’s minimum wage or overtime wages. Thus, an employer must carefully consider the amount of deduction and the impact it will have on an employee’s statutorily protected wages.

  • 6.3.19

    It is never good to put off dealing with a problem employee. Whether it is misconduct, poor performance, or simply an attitude that impairs your team’s ability to work together well, the time to act is now. Waiting to act puts your organization at risk that the employee will engage in some sort of protected conduct that could “immunize” them from discipline. Claims of retaliation are growing every day and are particularly problematic because an employee who has an invalid underlying complaint plus a retaliation claim can still actually win the retaliation part of the case while losing on the underlying complaint.

  • 6.3.19

    Yes, indeed—the labor market is tight. And with the nationwide unemployment rate below 4 percent, 263,000 new jobs created in April 2019, and a sizzling economy, the labor market is likely to get even tighter. This is especially true for the hospitality industry, which has traditionally relied upon a steady stream of lower-skilled and younger applicants eager to enter into the job market. In fact, the National Restaurant Association predicts that jobs in the food service industry will top 15 million in 2019, and lists recruiting and retaining employees among the top challenges for operators.

  • 6.3.19

    It’s hard to keep up with all the recent changes to labor and employment law. While the law always seems to evolve at a rapid pace, there have been an unprecedented number of changes for the past few years—and this past month was no exception.

  • 6.3.19

    The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), passed at the end of 2017, effectively repealed the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by reducing the tax penalty to zero. Thus, while the ACA still requires individuals to obtain health insurance, there is no tax penalty for ignoring the law. Importantly, however, the penalty was not eliminated until 2019, so individuals could still be assessed taxes under the ACA for failing to maintain coverage through 2018.

  • 6.3.19

    The Internal Revenue Service recently amended its Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS) to allow more retirement plan qualification failures to be self-corrected, including retroactive plan amendments. This is welcome news for employers. The changes to EPCRS in Revenue Proc. 2019-19 are intended to facilitate plan compliance while reducing associated costs by allowing plan sponsors more opportunities to self-correct. The changes took effect on April 19, 2019, and supersede Revenue Procedure 2018-52.

  • 6.3.19

    Spring training is a time-honored tradition for Major League Baseball. The league has long used springtime to fine tune the skills of returning players, while teaching new players about what the team expects of them. Independent and private schools could benefit from a similar approach – offering “back to school” training for their employees at the end of the typical summer offseason during that window of time when educators prepare for the new school year and right before the students return.

  • 6.3.19

    California’s San Diego Unified School District recently disclosed that it had sustained a data breach when multiple phishing emails from malicious hackers were used to gather login information of staff members throughout the district. The breach exposed Social Security numbers and addresses of more than 500,000 students and staff. The school district is not the first educational institution to fall victim to a cybersecurity breach, and it will not be the last. 

  • 6.3.19

    The need to consider Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodations can happen at any time during the employment relationship. Generally, an employee will ask for an accommodation before problems with performance emerge. Sometimes, however, an employee decides to notify you of the need for an accommodation when an investigation is underway, when they are being disciplined, or worse yet, when they are told their employment is terminated. If an employee you were in the process of disciplining told you they needed an accommodation, what would you do?  

  • 5.1.19

    You may recall several years ago when the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) issued revised regulations concerning the “white collar” exemptions to minimum wage and overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that were slated to go into effect on December 1, 2016. Among other things, those revisions significantly would have increased the minimum salary requirement for employees who qualify for the “executive,” “administrative,” or “professional” exemptions, from $455 per week (which annualizes to $23,660) to $913 per week (which annualizes to $47,476 per year).

  • 5.1.19

    There is honor and dignity in work. Successful dealerships understand this axiom and build workplaces where their employees are respected. As a result, they experience lower employee turnover, less employment-related litigation, and fewer problems caused by meddling unions. Their employees are also happier and more productive. This article outlines 10 tips for building a respectful workplace and reaping these benefits.

  • 5.1.19

    An increasingly common series of questions employers have been asking of late relate to their employees’ use of CBD. Will use of CBD products impair employees? If an employee or applicant tests positive on a drug test and blames seemingly innocuous use of CBD, what should we do? Should it be permissible to allow use of CBD products in a zero-tolerance workplace?

  • 5.1.19

    Workplace technology has been ever-changing in the past few decades: from desktop computers, to mobile phones, to laptop computers, to smart phones. Now, smart watches are capable of receiving text messages and phone calls, tracking sleep, tracking daily fitness activity and more (cue “Black Mirror” montage). What does it mean for employees’ privacy when the technology is advancing at such an astronomical rate?

  • Spring 2019

    Is arbitration even worth it anymore? In the recent past, most employers would have said “yes” without a second thought. Curiously, however, some of the Nation’s most prominent companies have recently been moving away from this practice and ending mandatory arbitration policies that had been in place for over a decade—begging the question of “why now?” Based on this sudden change, it’s important to make sure you understand the reasons behind this trend, the pros and cons of arbitration itself, and the upcoming potential changes in the legal landscape to look out for.  

  • 5.1.19

    Healthcare employees are nearly five times more likely than workers in other fields to be victims of workplace violence, according to federal government statistics. Because of this disparity, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued guidelines in 2015 for preventing workplace violence in the healthcare and social services industries. Since that time, the agency has heightened its focus on this area and has issued an increased number of employer citations relating to incidents involving workplace violence.

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