Kagan Supreme Court nomination – what does it mean for employers?

If you follow this blog, you know we are often reporting on changes to labor laws. Not only are new laws passed, but sometimes we also see the Courts apply a new interpretation to an old law. So with Elena Kagan now a member of the High Court, it’s time to get out our magnifying glasses and do some detective work to see what employers can expect from the newest Justice.

Fortunately, our partners at Fisher & Phillips have done some investigating for us and have written a solid report that will help employers. Their article, “How Will Kagan Treat Employers” addresses:

  • Who is Kagan Replacing, And Why Does That Matter?
  • What can Kagan’s Background Tell Us About Her Future?
  • Kagan’s Recent Role As Solicitor General Offers Some Clues
  • And more!

Click here to read the article.

Extreme close up: wages and hours

It’s been a crazy last few months with changes to wage and hour rules and “interpretations.” It’s not going to be long before I wake from a nightmare screaming, “No FLSA! Get away! Let go of me!” and put the neighborhood on high alert. Thankfully, our partners at Baker & McKenzie have taken us weary soldiers under their protection and issued their quarterly wage and hour newsletter that includes an overview of all the highlights of the past few months, including the:

  • IRS and their audit letters
  • “Plan, Prevent, and Protect” strategy
  • Paycheck Fairness Act
  • New interpretation of donning and doffing “clothes”
  • Employee Misclassification Prevention Act
  • And more!

To get all the details on what’s been shakin’n’bakin’ these past few months, read the Baker & McKenzie wage and hour newsletter by clicking here.

The ADA – what can you ask?

“How are you feeling today?”

“How much alcohol do you drink?”

“Do you have a doctor’s note?”

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) allows you to ask certain questions of your employees, but finding the line between what’s appropriate and what’s not is often tough. Some questions are obviously appropriate (“How are you feeling today?”) and some inappropriate (“You’re gay? So are you HIV positive?”). But what about all those questions that straddle that line? Especially when determining if the disability will affect performance?

“Speaking of Disabled: The ADA’s Limitations On Disability-Related Inquiries of Current Employees” by our partners at Troutman Sanders LLP will help you get a handle on the do’s and don’ts of this important topic. The article outlines what questions:

  • employers may ask
  • employers should never ask
  • employers may ask depending on the type of job.

To read the article, click here.

Got a question?

We are lucky because the readers of this blog are dedicated and intelligent HR professionals and kick-butt employers. But even the wisest HR gurus have questions! Do you have a question we could pose to our “panel of experts?” What’s happening in your office that you could use the feedback from your peers on?

You can post your questions in the comment section below. It’s anonymous, too, so you can feel free to ask anything you want and remain judgment free!

Put those teens to work!

It’s almost that time of year when the kids are heading back to school, but some teens will be looking for a second job – perhaps to help them finance next year’s spring break trip or to finally get a car of their own – and they’ll want to be working for you. But in May of this year, the government issued new standards on child labor. Are you up to date? If you missed the change, it’s time to catch up and ensure you remain in compliance. The Department of Labor (DOL) has a new Interactive Advisor that you can use to help navigate the changes, finding out what you can and can’t do. You’ll find:

  • what the FLSA requires
  • frequently asked questions
  • state child labor laws
  • child labor publications
  • and more!

To get a one-on-one with the Child Labor Rules Advisor, click here.


Worker misclassification – what does that mean?

Earlier this year, the IRS announced a plan to audit 6,000 businesses over the next three years in regards to misclassification of independent contractors, and soon they’ll have even more money to do it – the Department of Labor’s proposed budget for 2011 includes $25 million hit their audit goal. Yikes.

Some employers are unaware of what an independent contractor really is. You see lists that generally describe the “test” that is used, but it’s not plain English and understandable. Thankfully, our partners at Fisher & Phillips have written “Misclassifications Matter,” a two-page article that outlines the realities of the onslaught of investigations and clearly lays out how you can distinguish between an independent contractor and an employee. Find out what “behavioral control” really means and how to stay out of trouble!

To read the article, click here.

Survey the battlefield, make a plan

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) works hard to enforce the discrimination laws, but for years, they have been struggled to respond to claims – from 2001 through 2009, the EEOC went from 2,850 investigators to just 2,200. But there’s a new wind coming in. When Obama was just a senator beginning his presidential campaign, he made it clear that the EEOC was not doing its job well and he would work to ensure workers got the support they needed. He’s been true to his word. In 2010, the EEOC received a $23.4 million budget increase (and has requested another $18 million in 2011) and quickly hired more investigators making their caseload more manageable. Simply put: they’re beefing up.

Our partners at Troutman Sanders LLP have written “Meet the ‘New EEOC’” which goes in depth on what the EEOC looks like now and what employers can expect in the future. With discrimination and retaliation claims growing, now is the time to get informed. Click here to read the article.