Government Agencies Stepping up in Light of Hurricanes

Jonathan A. Clark, Andrew J. Rudolph, and Michael A. Kadlec

In the wake of the catastrophic flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey, there are several steps that employers can take to help their impacted employees. To assist employers, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), the Department of Labor (“DOL”) and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (“PBGC”) have each issued guidance on relief in response to Hurricane Harvey.

Tax-Free Disaster Assistance to Employees

Section 139 of the Internal Revenue Code (“Code”) allows an employer (or other entities) to provide tax-free disaster relief to its employees in those instances where the payments constitute qualified disaster relief payments. Continue reading “Government Agencies Stepping up in Light of Hurricanes”

The DOL’s Overtime Rule is Dead. . . Long Live the DOL’s Overtime Rule!

Frederick G. Sandstrom

On August 31, 2017, a federal judge in the Eastern District of Texas struck down the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) final rule that would have transformed millions of white collar jobs into non-exempt positions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The rule, issued by the DOL in response to President Obama’s mandate to the Secretary of Labor to “modernize and streamline” the existing overtime regulations, was originally scheduled to go into effect on December 1, 2016, and would have increased the minimum salary requirement for the FLSA’s white collar exemptions from $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $913 per week ($47,476 per year). Conservative estimates were that application of the rule would have made 4.2 million employees eligible for overtime pay that previously were deemed exempt. The same federal judge had previously enjoined the rule in late November of last year, shortly before it was to go into effect. Continue reading “The DOL’s Overtime Rule is Dead. . . Long Live the DOL’s Overtime Rule!”

Blank Rome Launches Labor & Employment Blog

Blank Rome’s Labor & Employment practice is pleased to announce the launch of our new blog, Blank Rome Workplace, which will offer insight and analysis on emerging employment issues across varying industries, ranging from new regulatory developments to litigation and enforcement trends.

“Labor and employment issues are complicated and evolving at an ever-quickening pace.  Every day, federal, state, and local legislatures and courts change the ground rules for properly employing people,” said Scott Cooper, Partner and Co-Chair of Blank Rome’s Labor and Employment practice. “Blank Rome Workplace will provide timely updates, analysis, and practical advice to clients, outside counsel, and human resource executives seeking to navigate the ever-changing landscape.” Continue reading “Blank Rome Launches Labor & Employment Blog”

Employees after the Disaster . . . !

Scott F. Cooper

There is an old saying that natural disasters bring out the worst in nature and the best in people. As Hurricane Harvey has shown us, massive devastation is often followed by extraordinary human achievements.

As conditions return to normal in Texas and Louisiana, there are some legal and practical things employers should keep in mind to avoid making an already bad situation worse. These six tips apply just about any time Mother Nature unleashes her fury, including snow, ice, and fire. Continue reading “Employees after the Disaster . . . !”

All (Employers) Hail the OMB as It Stays Implementation of New EEO-1 Wage Reporting

Jason E. Reisman

Last week, the Office of Management and Budget in the White House informed the EEOC that it was delaying implementation of a rule the EEOC finalized last year, which would require significant additional information be included in annual EEO-1 reports. The EEOC’s new rule required employers to provide information on W-2 wage data and hours worked for employees within 12 specified pay bands. The first EEO-1 reports with such data were set to be due March 31, 2018. Continue reading “All (Employers) Hail the OMB as It Stays Implementation of New EEO-1 Wage Reporting”

Conflicting Marijuana Laws Leave Employers High on Confusion

First in a Series of Blogs

Asima J. Ahmad

Over half of the states in the country allow for the limited possession of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Several states, including New York, Connecticut, and Illinois, even provide explicit workplace protections to prevent adverse employment actions against medical marijuana patients. However, the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”) makes it a federal crime to use, possess, or distribute marijuana. Under federal law, marijuana remains classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, regardless of whether it has any acceptable medical uses. So what should an employer do when an applicant or employee fails a drug test due to marijuana use, or after being informed that an applicant or employee needs to use marijuana as part of his or her medical treatment? These questions are slowly making their way into courthouses across the country, and two recent cases may prove to be instructive. Continue reading “Conflicting Marijuana Laws Leave Employers High on Confusion”

“In Term” Covenants Not to Compete Void or Valid?

California Employers May Restrict Their Employee’s Ability to Compete During the Term of Employment

Caitlin I. Sanders

Overview of California Noncompete Law

California employers know well that they cannot restrict their former employees from competing after the employment relationship ends. With limited exceptions, California law invalidates every contract under which a person is prevented from engaging in his or her profession, trade, or business.

California Business and Professions Code section 16600 codifies California’s longstanding public policy favoring open and uninhibited competition in the employment context. California’s public policy declaration can be summed up as follows: “The interests of the employee in his own mobility and betterment are deemed paramount to the competitive business interests of the employers….” Diodes, Inc. v. Franzen, 260 Cal. App. 2d 244, 255 (1968). Continue reading ““In Term” Covenants Not to Compete Void or Valid?”