The US Department of Labour has announced a final rule (the new rule) that updates several regulations regarding what forms of payment employers can exclude in the time-and-a-half calculation for overtime pay. The new rule clarifies that employers can exclude a range of employee perks and state-mandated payments in calculating overtime under federal law. Employers should review their pay practices with the new rule in mind.
The 2019 California legislative year has officially come to a close. Unsurprisingly, there are dozens of new employment laws hitting the books on 1 January 2020 which will introduce a number of changes, including a ban on arbitration, an extension of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) statute of limitations and a new bill which amends the definition of 'race' under the FEHA. This article highlights 10 of these new laws and provides key takeaways for covered employers.
In the three-year saga over anticipated changes to the minimum salary threshold for overtime exemptions under the Fair Labour Standards Act, the latest – and probably final – development occurred on 24 September 2019, when the US Department of Labour issued its new final rule updating the regulations in this regard. The new regulations will become effective on 1 January 2020. As such, employers must evaluate their workforces to identify positions that will need to be reclassified or modified.
Assembly Bill (AB) 5 has finally been signed into law, making it more difficult for California businesses to classify workers as independent contractors. AB 5 codifies and expands the California Supreme Court's holding in Dynamex and applies the 'ABC' test to most independent contractor questions under California employment law. Now that it has been signed into law and its retroactive effect codified, employers must audit their independent contractor arrangements and pay close attention to the exemptions.
The National Labour Relations Board recently issued a decision that expands the Supreme Court's decision in Epic Systems Corp v Lewis and further authorises employers to limit employees' ability to file or opt in to a class or collective action against their employer. In light of the decision, employers may not only require employees to enter an arbitration agreement that requires one-on-one arbitration, but also impose such an agreement after, and in response to, employees filing or opting in to a class or collective action.
For US employers with 100 or more employees, extensive new information relating to their prior Equal Employment Opportunity-1 filings must soon be submitted. Specifically, in addition to categorising employees by race or ethnicity, gender and job type, employers must now assemble and submit aggregated employee data regarding compensation and annualised hours worked. Assembling the required data may be much more complicated than many employers are expecting, so it is important to begin planning now.
This article reviews the impact of the #MeToo movement, and other corporate culture concerns, on employers and its connection with the Supreme Court's decision in Epic Systems. There is concern that the court's decision will, in many cases, deprive women and men who have been victims of sexual assault or harassment in the workplace of their right to bring collective or class actions, as Epic Systems has forced employees to bring their claims through one-on-one arbitration.
As employers doing business in California know, California's employment regulatory scheme is the most comprehensive of any US state. In particular, the California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) allows employees to sue employers for civil penalties on behalf of themselves and other employees. Most significantly, PAGA provides for the reimbursement of attorneys' fees to employees who successfully bring suit. However, Epic Systems may mean a change in favour of standalone PAGA cases.
One year after the Supreme Court's landmark decision in Epic Systems – which paved the way for employers to force employees to waive their right to bring class actions – this article revisits the court's decision and the pros and cons of mandatory arbitration programmes with class action waivers.
Senate Bill 121 has amended New Jersey's longstanding Law Against Discrimination to prohibit any contractual provision that conceals "the details relating to a claim of discrimination, retaliation, or harassment". Notably, the new law applies to all existing and future agreements, except collective bargaining agreements. The law also preserves the enforceability of certain restrictive covenants, including non-competition agreements and provisions protecting confidential and proprietary information.
The Department of Labour has issued proposed revisions to the definition of 'joint employer' under the Fair Labour Standards Act in order to clarify the joint employer relationship. The joint employment rule allows multiple employers to be responsible for paying hours worked by a shared employee under certain circumstances.