Warming Up to OSHA’s New Cold Stress Guide

Anna Svensson

Unless you spent the last month on a Caribbean island, you know that a majority of the country was in a deep freeze in late December and early January. Numerous record lows were set and some states, such as the Dakotas and Minnesota, experienced wind chills significantly below zero.

Although temperatures have returned to average in most parts of the country, winter will be with us for a few more months; and the recent freeze is likely to be repeated. The extreme temperatures serve as an important reminder that employers need to take appropriate measures to protect workers from cold stress before it causes harm. While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) does not have a specific standard that covers working in cold environments, under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers have a duty to protect workers from recognized hazards, including cold stress hazards. Continue reading “Warming Up to OSHA’s New Cold Stress Guide”

Sexual Harassment and the #MeToo Movement: Immediate Action Items for Employers

Scott F. Cooper and Brooke T. Iley

As the breaking news reaffirms in graphic detail on an almost daily basis, we are in a transformative time when it comes to how claims of harassment are reported and handled in the workplace. From Hollywood to Rockefeller Center, and everywhere in-between, employers must be prepared. On December 15, 2017, Blank Rome’s Labor and Employment co-chairs, Scott Cooper and Brooke Iley, held an emergency briefing by webinar entitled: “The #MeToo Movement: Are You Prepared?” Continue reading “Sexual Harassment and the #MeToo Movement: Immediate Action Items for Employers”

Public Company Alert: New Tax Law Re-Writes the Rules under Tax Code Section 162(m)

Andrew J. Rudolph

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “Act”), which has been approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives, includes a provision that eliminates the “performance-based” exception to the $1 million limit on compensation deductions, and makes certain other important related changes. Under current law, compensation deductions for a publicly-traded employer for its top executives (other than the Chief Financial Officer) is limited to $1 million, plus compensation that qualifies as performance-based. Qualified performance-based pay generally includes stock options and stock appreciation rights, and restricted stock, restricted stock units, and cash incentive bonuses conditioned on the satisfaction of pre-established quantitative performance conditions approved in advance. Continue reading “Public Company Alert: New Tax Law Re-Writes the Rules under Tax Code Section 162(m)”

Employers Score Major Win as Predicted Changes at National Labor Relations Board Start to Come True

NLRB Reverses Landmark Browning-Ferris Decision and Loosens Test for Joint Employer Status

Scott F. Cooper

On Thursday, December 14, 2017, employers scored a significant victory at the National Labor Relations Board. The Board, in a straight 3-2 partisan vote, reversed its 2015 decision in Browning-Ferris Industries and eliminated the rule that employers and their contractors or franchisees can be deemed a “joint employer” even when one company does not exert direct control over the second entity’s workers.

In Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors Ltd. and Brandt Construction Co., NLRB Chair Philip Miscimarra, joined by the two newest NLRB board members, William Emanuel and Marvin Kaplan, significantly reduced the scope of joint employer status in reversing BFI. The issue over the scope of joint employer status at the Board has been simmering for some time, as NLRB Chair Miscimarra wrote a dissenting opinion in the 2015 BFI decision, which was issued under the Obama administration when Democrat members held the Board majority. Continue reading “Employers Score Major Win as Predicted Changes at National Labor Relations Board Start to Come True”

Congress’ New Tax Law—Excise Tax Coming on Compensation of Tax-Exempt Organization Executives

Daniel L. Morgan

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “Act”), which was agreed upon by the House/Senate Conference Committee last week, includes a provision that imposes an excise tax equal to the corporate tax rate—which is 21 percent under the Act—on certain compensation paid to employees of tax-exempt entities, including not only 501(c)(3) organizations, but also 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) organizations, as well as governmental employers and political organizations.

Under the Act, an employer subject to the new rules would be required to pay the excise tax with respect to compensation paid to any of its five most highly compensated employees (referred to under the Act as “Covered Employees”) in two separate instances. Continue reading “Congress’ New Tax Law—Excise Tax Coming on Compensation of Tax-Exempt Organization Executives”

NLRB Chairman Miscimarra’s Last Stand – Bye-Bye “Micro Units”

Jason E. Reisman

Well, I was wrong. In my last post, I said that it looked like the “quickie election” rules were up next for the National Labor Relations Board to address. Clearly, those rules are still on the radar, as public input is in progress.

However, Republican-appointed Chairman Phil Miscimarra is making up for all of the labor-friendly opinions during Obama’s administration where he found himself in the minority, left to argue seemingly in vain in some classic dissenting opinions. Now, he’s been leading the majority charge to “right” as many Obama Board “wrongs” as possible before stepping away from the Board on Saturday. Continue reading “NLRB Chairman Miscimarra’s Last Stand – Bye-Bye “Micro Units””

NLRB Kicks Things into Gear – To Benefit Employers!

Jason E. Reisman

After swearing in the new general counsel, Peter Robb, last month, and given the full complement of members, the National Labor Relations Board has kick-started its efforts to right the wrongs of the Obama Board and make life a little easier for employers.

Led by Chairman Phil Miscimarra (a Republican who unfortunately is stepping down at the end of his term next week), the NLRB has attacked and reversed two critical issues that have plagued employers for the last several years: Continue reading “NLRB Kicks Things into Gear – To Benefit Employers!”