Employers often struggle over compliance with state wage deduction laws, and these potential violations carry with them considerable penalties. In Massachusetts, for example, employers face triple damages for violations of wage and hour laws. This post uses hypothetical examples to demonstrate how narrow the range of permissible activity is under California, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington D.C. laws even when a deduction to an employee’s salary appears as a common sense one or otherwise fair to both parties involved. Employers with employees located in these and other states should consult with legal counsel before making any deductions from employee wages, even if the employee authorizes such a deduction.

So, for example, can employers deduct from employee wages for the cost of uniforms? Personal expenses on corporate credit cards? Broken printers? Let’s explore…

Continue Reading Exploring Wage Deductions in California, Massachusetts, New York and Washington, D.C.

In Levin v. ImpactOffice LLC, the federal court in Maryland ruled that a former employee’s claim survived a motion to dismiss where she alleged that her former employer violated the Stored Communications Act (“SCA”) when it accessed personal emails in her Google Gmail account after she surrendered her company-issued mobile phone. This case offers an important reminder to employers to think twice before accessing an employee’s personal email account – even if it’s through a company-owned device. Continue Reading Employer’s Accessing of Employee’s Personal Email Account from Company Mobile Phone May Have Violated Stored Communications Act

A recent decision by Massachusetts’ highest court provides another reason why employers should carefully review their employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) policies. Unless the policy expressly covers counterclaims, employers should be aware that, at least in Massachusetts, the insurer’s “duty to defend” a claim brought by an employee or former employee against the employer will not cover claims that the employer seeks to bring in response against the employee. Continue Reading Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Holds Insurers’ Duty to Defend Does Not Extend to Counterclaims

A few months ago, a three-member Third Circuit appellate panel in Acclaim Systems, Inc. v. Infosys, upheld a district court decision, which dismissed tortious interference claims against an employer for engaging with four individuals subject to non-compete agreements, because the employer had no knowledge of the non-competes at issue when it on-boarded them. While the Third Circuit designated this opinion as persuasive and therefore not binding precedent, the decision applies a commonsense approach to a legal claim very familiar to employment law practitioners—tortious interference with contractual relations.

Continue Reading See No Evil, Hear No Evil: Third Circuit finds Employer Not Liable for Tortious Interference Claim Where Employer had No Knowledge of New Hires’ Non-Competes

In a recent case, a Maryland Federal court permitted a plaintiff to proceed to trial on her failure to accommodate claim under Maryland’s Fair Employment Practices Act (MFEPA), finding that under Maryland law the employer was required to perform an individualized assessment in order to determine whether the employee – a qualified individual with a disability – was able to perform the essential functions of any available job, not just the job in which she had worked. Continue Reading Federal Court: Maryland Fair Employment Practices Act Requires Employer to Consider Jobs Other than Employee’s Current Job When Assessing Possibility of Reasonable Accommodation

SEC Acting Chairman Michael S. Piwowar issued a public statement on February 6, 2017 requesting input on any unexpected challenges that companies have experienced as they prepare for compliance with the CEO pay ratio rule, which will become required disclosure in public company 2018 proxy statements. Piwowar also directed SEC staff to “reconsider the implementation of the rule” based on comments submitted.

This public statement and request for comments is a first step in considering changes to the rule, as part of the Republican Party’s effort to modify or roll back certain provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd Frank). Any SEC modifications to the CEO pay ratio rule would take time to implement and may be challenged. The easiest route to prevent its implementation would be for Congress to repeal this provision of Dodd Frank.

For our sibling blog ADR: Advice from the Trenches, my colleagues Kate Beattie and Don Davis have authored an analysis of employee class action waivers now that the Supreme Court has agreed to take up the issue this term.  For our prior analyses of class action waivers, see our prior Employment Matters posts on this topic.

 

On February 9th (in Boston) and February 16th (in New York), our Immigration Law colleagues will be offering live seminars designed for in-house counsel, immigration specialists, HR professionals, talent managers, and other internal stakeholders to review changes affecting the hiring and continued employment of foreign nationals. Find out more about it on our Immigration Law blog.

In a stunning turn of events for employers, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas has entered a nationwide injunction, ruling that the Department of Labor’s new overtime rule, which was slated to go into effect on December 1, is unlawful. As a result, at least for now, the rule will not take effect. This is a welcome (but perhaps temporary) victory for employers who will be able to continue to treat as exempt from overtime “white collar” workers who are paid a salary of at least the current minimum level of $23,660 per year without raising their salary to the proposed new minimum of at least $47,476. But the ruling may be unsettling for employers who already have re-classified employees or raised employees’ salaries to meet the requirements of the anticipated – – but for now dead on arrival – – new rule. Continue Reading BREAKING NEWS: New Overtime Rule Derailed; Will not Take Effect on December 1.

The head of our Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Alden Bianchi was recognized as the Federal Tax Contributor of the Year by Bloomberg BNA for his article, “Information Reporting Under the Affordable Care Act: I.R.C. §6055 and §6056,” which was featured in the Compensation Planning Journal. His work highlighted two new reporting requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that are of particular interest to employers. Lisa Fitzpatrick, Vice President and General Manager of Bloomberg BNA Tax & Accounting, stated that Alden is a “true thought leader in federal taxation” and has offered their subscribers “deep insights and practical expertise.” Alden has written extensively about the employer responsibilities under the ACA on the Employment Matters blog. You can access his blog posts on ACA compliance here.