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Labor and Employment Law 2015

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Labor and Employment Law 2015

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This program will cover the hottest topics in labor and employment law for 2015, including EEOC’s strategic initiatives, recent wage and hour developments, the NLRB’s encroachment into the non-union workplace, policy issues to consider in the year ahead, continuing questions about social media challenges, and more. This program will be a fast-paced look at these and various other trends that will impact employers this year and beyond, and will be aimed at enabling participants to get ahead of the curve to identify potential risks within their organizations.

• Goals for this webinar - Agenda
• Agency Update
• EEOC Strategic Initiatives
• Medical Issues in the Workplace
• Wage and Hour Developments
• The NLRB in Your Workplace
• Social Media Challenges
• Unemployment
• Reminders and Next Steps

This program will cover the hottest topics in labor and employment law for 2015, including EEOC’s strategic initiatives, recent wage and hour developments, the NLRB’s encroachment into the non-union workplace, policy issues to consider in the year ahead, continuing questions about social media challenges, and more. This program will be a fast-paced look at these and various other trends that will impact employers this year and beyond, and will be aimed at enabling participants to get ahead of the curve to identify potential risks within their organizations.

• Goals for this webinar - Agenda
• Agency Update
• EEOC Strategic Initiatives
• Medical Issues in the Workplace
• Wage and Hour Developments
• The NLRB in Your Workplace
• Social Media Challenges
• Unemployment
• Reminders and Next Steps

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Labor and Employment Law 2015

  1. 1. 2015  Labor  &  Employment  Law  Update   April  23,  2015   Presented  by:     Alexis  C.  Knapp   SPHR,  MS-­‐HRM,  JD   Shareholder,  Li4ler  Mendelson    
  2. 2. Plans  for  Today   •  Goals  for  this  webinar   •  Agenda   •  Agency  Update   •  EEOC  Strategic  IniFaFves   •  Medical  Issues  in  the  Workplace   •  Wage  and  Hour  Developments   •  The  NLRB  in  Your  Workplace   •  Social  Media  Challenges   •  Unemployment     •  Reminders  and  Next  Steps  
  3. 3. Agency  Update   Same  Song,  Different  Verse?   •  EEOC,  DOL  and  other  federal  agencies   have  bigger  budgets  and  more   invesFgators  than  ever  before   •  Their  tacFcs  are  more  aggressive   •  InformaFonal  campaigns  to  employees   •  LoQy  enforcement  agendas  
  4. 4. EEOC  FY  2014  Charge  AllegaJons   Basis  of  Charge  Filing   FY  2006   FY  2008   FY  2014   RETALIATION   22,555   32,690   37,955   RACE   27,238   33,937   31,073   SEX/GENDER   23,247   28,372   26,027   AGE   16,548   24,582   20,588   DISABILITY   15,575   19,453   25,369   NATIONAL  ORIGIN   8,327   10,601   9,579   RELIGION   2,541   3,273   3,549   TOTAL  CHARGES   75,768   95,402   88,778  
  5. 5. EEOC  Strategic  IniJaJves  &  Noteworthy  LiJgaJon  
  6. 6. EEOC  Strategic  Enforcement  Agenda     (2013-­‐2016)   •  Pregnancy  AccommodaJon  Guidance   •  Health  and  Wellness  Programs   •  Background  Checks   •  ProtecJons  for  Transgender  Employees   •  Severance  Agreements  
  7. 7. EEOC  Enforcement  Guidance  on  Pregnancy  DiscriminaJon  and   Related  Issues  (7/14/14)   •  http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/pregnancy_guidance.cfm •  The “Rules” •  The PDA requires accommodations for pregnant women, regardless of the severity of their pregnancy-related work limitations, if the types of accommodations are provided to other employees with similar abilities or inabilities to work. •  The ADA requires accommodation of pregnancy-related disabilities, regardless of their relationship to a healthy and routine pregnancy. •  Employers may not differentiate between those employees who are injured on the job, and those who are pregnant, in providing accommodations such as light duty.
  8. 8. Young  v.  UPS   The  United  States  Supreme  Court  Speaks   •  What we wanted versus what we got •  Why the facts of Young complicate the answer •  What the Court said about the EEOC’s Guidance •  Commingling disparate treatment (intent) and disparate impact (effects)? •  Mooted by the ADAAA? •  What does “light duty” mean to your organization? •  Where do we go from here? •  And do not forget the EEOC’s current enforcement position—it will be the subject of litigation.
  9. 9. EEOC  TargeJng  Wellness  Programs  Under  ADA   and  GINA   •  ADA  prohibits  “medical  exams  and  disability-­‐related   inquiries”  of  employees  as  part  of  health  plan  unless   parFcipaFon  is  voluntary.   •  GINA  restricts  employers  from  requiring  geneFc   informaFon  and  prohibits  employers  from  using  geneFc   informaFon  to  make  employment  decisions.   •  EEOC  has  sued  three  employers  over  their  wellness   programs  since  August  2014.   •  But  what  about  the  ACA  and  HIPAA,  which  allow  (and   encourage)  such  incenFves?  
  10. 10. EEOC  Issues  Proposed  RegulaJons  on  Wellness   Programs  and  the  ADA   •  Thursday,  April  16,  2015—EEOC            issues  its  proposed  rule  (60  day            noFce  and  comment  period)   •  To  shed  light  on  how  employers  can  use  incenFves  to   encourage  employees  to  parFcipate  in  wellness  programs   without  violaFng  the  ADA   •  Proposing  a  hard  numerical  cap   •  Employers  cannot  use  informaFon  obtained  to  discriminate   based  on  disability  
  11. 11. Criminal  Background  Checks   •  SubstanJve     •  Disparate  impact   •  Aggressive  enforcement  by  the  EEOC     •  Individualized  analysis   •  Relevant  factors   •  No  blanket  policies   •  Other  state  law  issues   •  Procedural     •  Fair  Credit  ReporFng  Act  (FCRA)   •  FTC  enforcement   •  IniFal  disclosure/authorizaFon,  pre-­‐adverse,  adverse   noFces   •  Class  acFon  liFgaFon—frequent  mulF-­‐million  dollar   lawsuits  filed  against  employers  
  12. 12. “Ban  the  Box”  LegislaJon   •  Prohibits  consideraFon  of  criminal   convicFon  as  iniFal  screening  tool  on   applicaFon   •  Rules  vary  widely,  depending  on   jurisdicFon  –  expanding  trend   •  Public  v.  private  employers   •  ...And  there  are  not  as  many   excepFons  as  you  would  think  
  13. 13. EEOC  Focus  on  Transgender  Employees   •  The  EEOC  filed  two  lawsuits  alleging  that   transgender  employees  had  been  fired  in   violaFon  of  Title  VII   •  First  suits  in  history  challenging  transgender   discriminaFon  under  Title  VII   •  Consistent  with  EEOC’s  posiFon  that  gender   idenFty  is  included  in  the  definiFon  of  sex   under  the  law   •  Lawsuits  allege  that  employees  were  fired   for  failing  to  conform  with  employer’s   expected  gender  norms  
  14. 14. EEOC  Challenges  Release  Agreements   •  This  is  not  enFrely  new  –  the  EEOC  has  been  filing   lawsuits  challenging  provisions  of  release  agreements  for   almost  30  years   •  But  the  new  a4acks  are  against  language  the  EEOC  had   previously  approved   •  The  NLRB  is  joining  in  on  the  fun  
  15. 15. Clauses  Under  Aaack   •  CooperaFon  clauses   •  Non-­‐disparagement  clauses   •  Non-­‐disclosure  of  confidenFal  informaFon   •  General  release  applying  to  claims  of  discriminaFon  of  any   kind   •  Promise  not  to  file  a  claim/sue   •  Lengthy,  single-­‐spaced  documents   •  Remedies  including  a4orneys’  fees  
  16. 16. Other  Basic  Reminders  RE:  Release  Agreements   •  One  size  does  NOT  fit  all   •  Reasons   •  Age  of  employee   •  Number  of  affected  employees   •  Midstream  and  final  releases   •  Basic  consideraFon  reminders   •  Do  not  make  promises  or  commitments  about   unemployment,  and  do  not  reference  UIB  in  your   releases     •  State  law  consideraFons     •  Reread  your  templates  before  you  use  them—every   Fme  
  17. 17. ConJnuous  AaenJon  on  Medical  Issues   In  The  Workplace  
  18. 18. Who  is  a  “Spouse”  Under  the  FMLA?   •  United  States  v.  Windsor:  USSC  held  that  the  provision     of  DOMA  denying  federal  benefits  to  same  sex  spouses   was  unconsJtuJonal   •  Relevance?    Leave  to  care  for  a  spouse  with  a  serious  health  condiJon     •  The  FMLA’s  historical  definiJon  of  “spouse”     •  “Spouse  meant  a  husband  or  wife  as  defined  or  recognized  under  State  law   for  purposes  of  marriage  in  the  State  where  the  employee  resides,  including   common  law  marriage  in  States  where  it  is  recognized.”    29  C.F.R.  §825.122   •  The  FMLA’s  2013-­‐2015  definiJon  of  spouse  post-­‐Windsor:  if  the  employee   resides  in  a  state  that  recognizes  same-­‐sex  marriage,  that  person  is  a  “spouse”   for  FMLA  purposes  (“place  of  residence”  rule)    
  19. 19. Spouses  Under  the  FMLA  (cont’d)   •  The  FMLA’s  new  and  current  definiJon  of  “spouse”  as  of  February  25,2015:    if  the  employee  was   married  in  a  jurisdicJon  that  recognizes  same-­‐sex  marriage,  regardless  of  where  they  reside,  that   person  is  a  “spouse”  for  FMLA  purposes  (“place  of  celebraJon”  rule)     •  BUT  WAIT-­‐-­‐on  March  26,  2015,  a  federal  court  in  Texas  granted  an  applicaJon  for  preliminary   injuncJon  against  the  DOL’s  new  Rule—filed  by    the  states  of  Texas,  Louisiana,  Arkansas  and   Nebraska   •  Argument:  the  Rule  conflicts  with  our  state  laws  regarding  marriage   •  Court  said:  “…the  Department  of  Labor  must  stay  the  applicaJon  of  the  Final  Rule,  pending  a   full  determinaJon  of  this  maaer  on  the  merits”     •  How  the  DOL  is  reading  the  request   •  Hearing  requested  for  April  2015   •  What  to  do  while  we  wait  for  an  answer?   •  Regardless  of  the  outcome—it’s  not  just  as  simple  as  agreeing  to  call  it  all  FMLA   •  The  risk  of  counJng  it  as  FMLA   •  The  DOL’s  response  to  the  “How  will  we  know?”  quesJon  
  20. 20. Leave  as  an  AccommodaJon   •  Leave  under  the  ADA  when  FMLA  does  not   apply   •  What  we  have  learned:  there  is  no  set   period  of  Fme  that  will  always  be  “enough”   •  Document  your  communicaFon  efforts   •  Don’t  be  afraid  to  ask  (properly)   •  The  standard  for  undue  hardship   •  What  are  your  replacement  plans?   •  The  EEOC  is  being  aggressive  on  this  issue  
  21. 21. The  FMLA  and  ADA   More  Enforcement  and  LiCgaCon  Trends   •  Overbroad  requests  for  medical  informaFon   •  “Full  release”  requirements   •  “We  never  allow  ______”  policies  (light  duty,   telecommuJng,  modified  schedules,  and   more)   •  Lessons  from  recent  cases   •  For  employers,  the  technicaliFes  ma4er   •  For  employees,  they  ma4er  far  less   •  Inflexible  policies  are  fatal  for  employers     •  Engaging  in  the  process  is  much  of  the  ba4le—even   if  the  answer  is  “no”  
  22. 22. And  What  About  Mandatory  Paid  Sick  Leave?   •  Be  aware  of  every  jurisdicFon  in  which   you  have  employees   •  There  is  no  such  thing  as  a  “one  size  fits   all”  policy   •  But  do  not  throw  in  the  towel  just  yet— you  may  offer  a  sufficient  benefit  (if  your   policy  explains  it  correctly)   •  Federal  changes  coming?  
  23. 23. Developments  and  AcJvity  in  Wage   and  Hour  Law  
  24. 24. Changing  The  Rules   A  DirecCve  from  the  White  House   President  Obama,  declaring  that   “Americans  have  spent  too  long   working  more  and  gerng  less  in   return,”  ordered  the  Labor   Department  in  March  2014  to   revise  federal  rules  on  overFme   pay  to  make  millions  more   workers  eligible  for  extra  pay   when  they  work  more  than  40   hours  a  week.    
  25. 25. AnJcipated  Rule  Changes   •  Minimum  Salary  Level   •  Highly  Compensated  Test   •  DuJes  Tests  for  ExempJons     •  Computer  Professional  ExempJon  
  26. 26. Next  Steps  In  DOL  Process   •  NoJce  of  proposed  rule  making  (was   anJcipated  for  February  2015—nothing  yet)   •  Comment  Period  (30-­‐90  days)   •  DOL  review  and  response  to  comments   •  DOL  publishes  final  regulaJons  
  27. 27. More  Wage  and  Hour  Updates   •  Areas  of  Increased  Enforcement  and  LiFgaFon   •  Misuse  of  the  independent  contractor  classificaFon   •  Overuse  of  the  AdministraFve  ExempFon   •  Not  appropriately  counFng  “work  Fme”  (work-­‐related  acFviFes)   •  Failure  to  include  bonuses  in  the  regular  rate  for  overFme   purposes   •  “CreaFve”  pay  models   •  Reminders   •  Time  worked  is  sacred—PAY  IT  (federal  and  state  law  issue)   •  25+  states  require  more  than  the  FLSA   •  Do  not  rely  on  your  compeFtors’  pracFces    
  28. 28. Why  We  Pay  So  Much  AaenJon  to  Wage  and  Hour   •  Remember:  most  aggressive  DOL  in  history   •  Can  be  easy  money  for  the  plainFff’s  bar   •  The  damages  are  staggering   •  Intent  does  not  ma4er   •  Two  or  three  year  look-­‐back   •  Every  person  in  the  posiFon?   •  Liquidated  damages  (i.e.,  double)   •  A4orney’s  fees   •  Civil/criminal  and  employer/individual   •  Average  FLSA/state  law  wage  se4lements  average  $4.8   M,  discriminaFon  lawsuits  =  $600k  
  29. 29. THE  NATIONAL   LABOR  RELATIONS   BOARD  (NLRB)   Union  Law  in  the  Union   (and  Even  Non-­‐Union)   Workplace  
  30. 30. The  NaJonal  Labor  RelaJons  Act  (1935)   •  What  was  going  on  in  U.S.  history     •  The  Great  Depression   •  Industrial  RevoluFon   •  Strikes  and  labor  unrest  (oQen  resulFng          in  violence)   •  Substandard  working  condiFons   •  The  basic  premise  of  the  NLRA  was  to  permit  employees  to  organize  and  try   to  secure  be4er  working  condiFons  for  themselves   •  Established  the  framework  for  unionizaFon,  bargaining,  and  the  concept  of   “unfair  labor  pracFces”  by  both  unions  and  management  alike   •  Note:  the  NLRA  deems  that  there  are  only  two  types  of  people  in  the  world —”employees”  and  “supervisors”  
  31. 31. SecJon  7  of  the  NLRA   Employees  shall  have  the  right  to  self-­‐organizaJon,  to   form,  join,  or  assist  labor  organizaJons,  to  bargain   collecJvely  through  representaJves  of  their  own   choosing,  and  …to  engage  in  other  concerted  acCviCes  for   the  purpose  of  collecCve  bargaining  or  other  mutual  aid   or  protecCon,  and  shall  also  have  the  right  to  refrain  from   any  or  all  of  such  acJviJes.    
  32. 32. What  is  “Protected  AcJvity”  Under  the  NLRA?   •  Employees  have  a  statutory  right  to:   •  Discuss  wage  rates,  bonuses,  and  benefits  with  one   another   •  Openly  discuss  thoughts  on  discipline   •  Complain  about  unsafe  working  condiFons/refuse  to   work  in  unsafe  condiFons   •  Complain  about  mismanagement  by  a  supervisor  or   manager   •  Complain  about  a  policy  or  pracFce  or  decision  they   do  not  like   •  CriFcize  management’s  acFons   •  Enlist  outside  support   −  What  does  this  do  to  good,  old-­‐fashioned   insubordinaFon?  
  33. 33. Employer  Handbooks/Policies  Under  Aaack  for   “Chilling”  SecJon  7  AcJvity   •  Social  media   •  ConfidenJality  (including  pay  secrecy)   •  Employee  (mis)conduct   •  Contact  with  outsiders   •  At-­‐will  employment  disclaimers  that  cannot  be  modified   •  Complaint/dispute  resoluJon  policies   •  Loitering/visitors/solicitaJon/bulleJn  boards   •  ConfidenJality  of  invesJgaJons?   •  Purple  CommunicaCons—whose  e-­‐mail  system  is  it  anyway?  
  34. 34. New  “Quickie”  ElecJon  Rules   •  New  rules  took  effect  April  14,  2015   •  TradiFonal  labor  a4orneys  saying  this  is  the  most  significant  development  in   decades   •  Highest  risk  =  NON-­‐UNION  WORKPLACES   •  DramaFcally  speeds  up  the  Fme  for  an  elecFon              to  take  place  (within  a  couple  of  weeks!!)   •  Speeds  up  your  required  response  Fme   •  Requires  that  you  provide  the  Union  with  more  detailed  contact  informaFon   on  your  employees   •  Congress  working  to  block,  but  for  now  these  rules  are  in  effect  
  35. 35. The  Related   Challenge  of  Social   Media  and  the   Workplace  
  36. 36. Did  Facebook  Single-­‐Handedly  Make  SecJon  7  Famous  Again?   §  Cases  filed  for  employees  terminated  for   Facebook  and  related  social  media  acJvity   §  Policies  are  important—but  one  size  does  not   fit  all—must  be  customized   §  Focusing  on  prevenJon  before  discipline   §  Dealing  with  it  when  it  finds  its  way  into  the   workplace   §  Password  protecJon  laws   §  Hundreds  of  cases  filed  
  37. 37. To  Look  or  Not  to  Look   Employee  Posts  on  Social  Media   •  What  you  can  review   •  Social  media  content  on  publicly  available  sites  and  pages  is  fair  game   •  Social  media  content  volunteered  by  co-­‐workers  is  fair  game   •  BUT  you  may  not  gain  access  to  a  restricted  or  private  page,  either  directly  or   indirectly  
  38. 38. Should  Managers  and  Employees  Be  “Friends?”   •  Too  much  informaFon  of  all  kinds— potenFally  protected  informaFon   (religion,  disability,  etc.)   •  The  problem  of  the   “uncomfortable”  subordinate   •  PotenFal  retaliaFon  issues  
  39. 39. LinkedIn  and  Similar  RecommendaJons   •  As  a  supervisor/manager,  you  should  not  be   giving  LinkedIn  or  other  professional   recommendaFons  regarding  the   performance  of  someone  you  used  to   supervise  or  who  was  in  your  direct  or   indirect  chain  of  command   •  All  such  references  need  to  either  come   from  HR,  or  be  approved  through  them  
  40. 40. Do  Not  Forget:  the  Rules  on  Responding  to   Unemployment  Claims  Have  Changed   •  The  Federal  Unemployment  Insurance  Integrity   Act  (2011)  and  amendments  to  state  law  (2013)   •  State  laws  require  employers/agents  to  Fmely  and   adequately  respond  to  UI  claims  you  intend  to  appeal   or  dispute   •  A  pa4ern  of  failure  to  do  so  will  result  in  the   employer’s  account  being  charged  benefits  (regardless   of  former-­‐employee’s  eligibility)   •  Civil  and  criminal  penalFes  may  apply  
  41. 41. Miscellaneous  Reminders   •  Privilege  issues—emails  are   forever   •  “ConfidenFal”—what  it  is,  and   what  it  is  not   •  Frivolous  charges  and  lawsuits   must  sFll  be  answered  
  42. 42. Where  To  Go  From  Here   •  It  is  Fme  to  really  look  at  your  handbook  and  related   policies   •  Pause  before  discipline  or  terminaFons  based  on   conduct  (including  social  media  acFvity)   •  Take  a  look  at  how  your  employees  are  classified  and   paid   •  Train  and  sensiFze  managers  and  supervisors  to  listen   for  FMLA/ADA  cues   •  Stay  plugged  in—much  is  on  the  way  (FLSA  regs,   background  check  issues,  new  categories  of  lawsuits,   NLRB  acFvity,  and  more)  
  43. 43. HRCI  CerJficaJon  Credits:     "This  webinar  has  been  pre-­‐cerFfied  for  1  hour  of  general  recerFficaFon  credit   toward  PHR,  SPHR  and  GPHR  recerFficaFon  through  the  HR  CerFficaFon  InsFtute.       We  will  send  out  a  confirmaJon  e-­‐mail  with  the  Program  ID  code  to  note  on  your   HRCI  recerJficaJon  applicaJon  form  to  everyone  who  is  confirmed  as  aaended   and  watched  the  live  version  of  this  webinar.   The  use  of  this  seal  is  not  an  endorsement  by  the  HR  CerFficaFon  InsFtute  of  the  quality  of  the   program.    It  means  that  this  program  has  met  the  HR  CerFficaFon  InsFtute's  criteria  to  be  pre-­‐ approved  for  recerFficaFon  credit."   QUESTIONS?   G&A  Partners   info@gnapartners.com   (800)  253-­‐8562   *This webinar has been recorded and will be posted on the G&A website by Friday

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