OSHA Publishes Comprehensive New Guide to its Training Standards for Private Sector Employers

Under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) of 1970, private sector employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. Those duties include providing proper training for employees on how to perform their jobs safely. Now the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the federal government agency that sets…

“Economic Realities” Test Applies to Independent Contractor vs. Employee Relationship

For employers classifying providers of personal services as “independent contractors” rather than employees, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) has just issued a warning: In its view, “most” American workers are really employees. The Department’s Wage and Hour Division issued a 15-page interpretative “guidance” memorandum on July 15, seeking to clarify the sometimes difficult…

The Obama Workplace Revolution: Employers Need to Update Employees’ Overtime Classifications

While President Obama has not been able so far to obtain necessary Congressional support for increasing the federal minimum wage, he is moving expeditiously to increase the number of American employees eligible for overtime pay. This he can do by himself through executive action — without Congressional legislation. Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act…

Uber Gets Rear-Ended Trying to Classify its Drivers as Independent Contractors Without Benefits

Any first year lawyer could have told Uber management that classifying their drivers as independent contractors – rather than employees — was an extremely risky business gamble. Now Uber (Uber Technologies, Inc., a Delaware corporation) is having to face the consequences of its calculated bet thanks to an unfavorable decision by the California Labor Commissioner.…

Careful before you fire an openly racist employee – the feds may come after you

A company that fired an employee for violating its workplace anti-harassment policies by making racist remarks on a picket line has been ordered to give him his job back with back pay plus interest. The fired employee, who was a member of the United Steelworkers union, had made the racist statements in 2012 while on…

U.S. Labor Department Updates FMLA Forms, Now good through May 31, 2018

The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor, which is responsible for administering and enforcing the Family Medical Leave Act for most employees, has published new FMLA forms on its web site. The revisions are not very dramatic, notably including references to the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA). The revised…

Retaliation Claims in the Workplace: A growing threat for employers

In 2014, 3,261 claims of workplace retaliation were filed against employers in Florida with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC concluded that fully 63% of them had no basis, and yet employers were forced to spend considerable amounts of time and money in defending them. Texas, Florida, and California were the…

Lakeland Eye Clinic will Pay $150,000 to Settle Transgender Discrimination Suit

In its continuing legal crusade to prevent workplace discrimination against transgender employees, the EEOC has sued a Lakeland, Florida, eye care facility and quickly settled the case for a $150,000.00 payment and the institution of an employee training program. The settling employer is Lakeland Eye Clinic, P.A. (“LEC”), an organization of health care professionals including…

If You Call Your Boss a “Nasty M-F” You Will Get Fired, Right?

No, not if you are engaging in “protected, concerted” activity, according to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). In another in a continuing series of decisions protecting employees who post negative comments online on Facebook about their employers, a three-member panel of the NLRB has ordered that Hernan Perez be reinstated to his server’s job…

It’s Time to Update Employee Handbooks

It is always a good idea for private sector employers to review their employee handbooks or manuals periodically to make sure that they are in compliance with constantly changing local, state, and federal workplace laws and court and agency decisions. A recent memorandum issued by the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB),…