Navigating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has always been a challenge for employers. The FLSA is a comprehensive national statute governing how to properly pay employees, and it has only gotten more complicated in recent years.
When employees curse excessively in the workplace, or even a little bit, some companies may want to use their own “f-word” — as in “firing.” Others may barely notice, and some may not want to deal with it. Yet employers need to carefully consider their responses to profane and obscene language in the workplace.
When California Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed legislation requiring paid sick days for millions of workers across the state, he declared it a victory for employees. While Brown touted the benefits of the new law for employees, the California Chamber of Commerce named it one of the state’s top “job killers.”
Tattoos, piercings, suggestive clothing, and other employee wardrobe choices can present sticky issues for employers. While companies generally have wide latitude to create and enforce dress codes, they may face unexpected landmines if they don’t plan ahead and consider the implications of their dress codes policies, or lack thereof.
NLRB actions and court decisions have taken the issue of joint employers, independent contractors, and leased employees far beyond a single industry. These changes could profoundly impact the liability and responsibility companies have regarding contractors and contingent employees.
In keeping with his promise of a “year of action” during this year’s State of the Union address, on July 31, President Obama signed an executive order — entitled Fair and Safe Workplaces — that vastly extends the federal government’s enforcement reach over private federal contractors’ employment policies.
Positive workplace policies have long been uncontroversial. Typically, these policies set the expectation for employees that they will represent their employer in a positive light, and won’t make negative comments or engage in gossip. This seems common sense — what could go wrong?
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and now some courts are considering obesity a disability, and employees who are severely overweight may qualify for protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Taken separately, workers’ compensation laws, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) represent complicated laws that are often difficult to figure out. When workers must be absent from the workplace under two or three of these laws, the situation becomes even more complex.
More states are legalizing medical marijuana, and recreational use is legal in two others. A tangle of federal laws adds to the confusion. Being aware of the legal issues involved and the changing legal landscape is important for employers to ensure that their drug testing policies are legal and enforceable.