As we enter the holiday season, we gather around the bubbler to sing about a few of our favorite (and not so favorite) things in the world of employment and labor law.  Unfortunately, they’re not as sanguine as raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens…

Some retail employers will be on Santa’s naughty list after the Sixth Circuit found that sales employees paid on a 100% commission or draw basis cannot be required to repay outstanding draws after termination of employment.  The Senate decked the halls of the NLRB by confirming a new General Counsel, who will serve a critical policy role and is expected to move away from enforcement of the NLRB’s broadened joint-employer standard.   This could be the last Christmas employees have to visit EEOC offices in person to file discrimination charges after the EEOC launched a new online portal, putting employers on alert of the possibility of increased charge filings in 2018.  It’s a wonderful Christmas time for minimum wage workers in Montgomery County, Maryland, in DC’s metro area, who joined the small but growing ranks of jurisdictions increasing its minimum wage to $15.00 per hour beginning in 2021. Retail employees in New York might get a silent night away from work thanks to new employee scheduling regulations proposed by the New York State Labor Department that will limit “just in time” or “on call” scheduling and require additional pay for employees scheduled on short notice.  While California employers may have longer than 8 nights, they don’t have quite a month to prepare for new regulations that will take effect January 1, 2018, which expressly prohibit employers from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history prior to a conditional offer of employment.

Employers beware.  A recent case serves as a reminder as we wind down the calendar year that employers should closely review their policies and procedures applying to employees paid on a 100% commission or draw basis.  In Stein v. HHGreg Stores, the United States Appeals Court for the Sixth Circuit ruled that, while a retail employer’s draw on future commissions to meet minimum wage requirements was lawful, the company policy requiring repayment for outstanding draws after an employee had been terminated was not.

Continue Reading Sixth Circuit Draws the Line: Draws on Future Commissions and Post-Termination Payback Policies

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.

Today we continue with our Year in Review segment, which looks at the key labor & employment law developments from 2016 in New York, the DC Metro Area, Massachusetts, and California, while offering our thoughts about 2017.  Today we turn to the DC Metro Area.  In addition, please join us in NYC on April 6, 2017 for Mintz Levin’s Third Annual Employment Law Summit as we address some of the key labor & employment issues impacting employers in 2017.  Register here

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The District of Columbia, Maryland (including Montgomery County) witnessed an active 2016 with respect to new and amended workplace laws that impose additional responsibilities on employers, and expand employee rights and avenues of enforcement.  Employers should be aware of these new requirements and take immediate action to comply with them.  We highlight below the most significant updates in both D.C. and Maryland; there were no changes or additions of significance in Virginia.

Continue Reading 2016 DC Metro Area Employment Law Year In Review

Over the next two weeks we will release our Year in Review segment, which will look at the key labor & employment law developments from 2016 in New York, the DC Metro Area, Massachusetts, and California while offering our thoughts about 2017.  Today we kick off this segment with New York.  In addition, please join us in NYC on April 6, 2017 for Mintz Levin’s Third Annual Employment Law Summit as we address some of the key labor & employment issues impacting employers in 2017.  Register here

2016 brought big changes for New York State and City employers, including expansive new discrimination protections and substantial increases in the minimum wage and exempt salary thresholds.  While New York employers who successfully navigated 2016’s rush of legislative, regulatory and judicial obstacles might feel they’ve earned the right to shift their focus back from compliance issues to running their businesses, they should not lose sight of the additional challenges expected in 2017.

Continue Reading 2016 New York Employment Law Year In Review

Since a Texas federal judge blocked the U.S. Department of Labor’s overtime rule from taking effect in November, human resource managers, payroll professionals and employment attorneys (including over here at Employment Matters) have been abuzz about the fact that, at least for now, employers do not need to make sweeping changes to their compensation practices to comply with the rule.  What has been less discussed, however, is the impact on New York employers of the New York State Department of Labor’s amendments to New York’s Wage Orders, which become effective on Saturday, December 31, 2016, and which will, among other things, significantly increase the State’s minimum wage rate as well as its the minimum salary thresholds for individuals classified as exempt executives and administrative employees.

The NYSDOL had proposed these changes several months ago and the comment period ended back on December 3rd.  But the final rule was issued just yesterday, unchanged from its proposed form.  With the clock ticking, New York employers must and should pay immediate attention to these changes and should act quickly to fulfill their ongoing notice and posting obligations while adjusting compensation levels accordingly.  We summarize the Wage Order amendments below.

Continue Reading New York State Minimum Wage Rate and Exemption Salary Thresholds Set to Increase

California and New York have each passed laws that will gradually raise their state’s minimum wage rate to $15 per hour.  This is a stunning development coming just four years after a small group of New York fast food workers initiated the call for the increase.  The new laws will impact millions of Americans and put pressure on other jurisdictions and business to make similar increases in other parts of the country.  We briefly break down the new laws below.

Continue Reading California and New York Approve Phased-In $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage, Highest in Country’s History

A U.S. Department of Labor final regulation prohibiting third-party home care agencies and other third-party employers from taking advantage of the Companionship and Live-In Domestic Worker minimum wage and overtime exemptions is set to go into effect on October 13, 2015.

Continue Reading Update on the Fight Over the Companionship and Live-In Domestic Worker FLSA Exemptions: Final Rule Set to Go Into Effect on October 13, 2015

A panel appointed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recommended a minimum hourly wage increase to $15 for fast food service workers on Wednesday.  The recommendation comes just three months after Governor Cuomo tasked the state’s acting Labor Commissioner to empanel a Wage Board to investigate and make recommendations on increasing the minimum wage in the fast food industry.

Continue Reading New York Becomes First State to Raise Minimum Wage to $15 … For Fast Food Workers

On January 14, 2015, Judge Richard J. Leon of the DC Federal District Court issued another favorable opinion for home care employers by vacating a Department of Labor regulation that would have narrowed the definition of “companionship services.” The decision comes on the heels of another decision by Judge Leon last month in which he vacated another proposed regulation that would have prevented third-party home agencies from applying the companionship exemption to its employees.

Continue Reading The Companionship Exemption Remains: DC District Court’s Most Recent Decision in Home Care Association of America v. Weil Marks Second Victory for Home Care Employers; DOL Appeals