Tag Archives: Workplace Laws and Regulations

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Guidance on Requirement That Employers Provide Nursing Mothers With Breaks and Places To Express Breast Milk

This post was also written by Daniel J. Moore. A little-noticed provision of the 2010 health care reform legislation requires employers to provide nursing mothers with “reasonable break time” to express breast milk for one year after a child’s birth.  Section 4207 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148), 29 U.S.C. § 207(r)(1) … Continue Reading

Illinois Cracks Down on Employers Who Fail to Pay Wages or Vacation Pay

A new law will make it much more costly for Illinois employers that fail to pay employees their earned wages, including final compensation such as accrued but unused vacation pay.  The Illinois Wage Theft Enforcement Act, S.B. 3568 (the "Act"), signed into law July 30, 2010, increases both civil and criminal penalties for violating the … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Rejects Employer’s Effort to Apply Another State’s Law to Treat California Workers as Independent Contractors

Tracking the trend of increased federal and state focus on the misclassification of workers, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently applied California law to hold that plaintiffs were entitled to a trial on the merits against their former employer for improperly classifying its California drivers as independent contractors, notwithstanding that the … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Public Employer’s Search of Employer-Provided Communication Devices

Scott E. Blissman also contributed to this post. The U.S. Supreme Court held that a public employer’s review of transcripts of an employee’s text messages on an employer-issued pager constituted a reasonable search under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. City of Ontario, Calif. v. Quon, No. 08-1332 (June 17, 2010). Although the case … Continue Reading

Federal Contractors and Subcontractors Must Notify Employees of Right to Unionize

This post was also written by Daniel J. Moore. Just 10 days after taking office, President Obama signed Executive Order 13496, requiring all federal contractors and subcontractors to notify employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), including their right to join and support unions, and to include in every contract, subcontract, … Continue Reading

U.S. Department of Labor Says Mortgage Loan Officers Are Typically Non-Exempt

This post was also written by Robert M. Jaworski. The United States Department of Labor (“DOL”), Wage and Hour Division, recently published an Administrator’s Interpretation that takes the position that mortgage loan officers with certain “typical” job duties are not subject to the administrative employee exemption of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The DOL reasoned that … Continue Reading

Reed Smith Employment Attorneys Expand Social Media Advice to Europe in New Edition of White Paper

This post was also written by Carl De Cicco and Amber M. Spataro. In our everyday lives, we’ve all noticed or become a part of the phenomenon of social media Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, MySpace and more. The options offered and growth of the media have been staggering. With that growth has come new legal risks, including … Continue Reading

New Jersey High Court Limits Employer’s Right To Review Employee Emails

Lessons for Employers in a Social Media World Recently, in Stengart v. Loving Care Agency, the New Jersey Supreme Court held that an employee had a reasonable expectation of privacy in her Internet-based emails to her lawyer, despite the fact that she sent such emails from a company-owned laptop and was on notice of the … Continue Reading

IRS Issues Form Employee Affidavit for Payroll Tax Credit Under HIRE Act

On April 7, 2010, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) issued the form employee affidavit that employers can use to claim a payroll tax credit for newly hired employees, made available under the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (“HIRE”) Act that was recently signed into law. As noted in our earlier client alert on the HIRE … Continue Reading

Health Care Reform Act Requires Employers To Provide Nursing Mothers Time and Place To Express Breast Milk

A little-noticed provision of the new health care reform law requires employers to provide new mothers with “reasonable break time” to express breast milk for nursing children who are up to 12 months old. Section 4207 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148), 29 U.S.C. § 207(r)(1), amends the Fair Labor Standards … Continue Reading

President Announces Weekend Recess Appointments to NLRB and EEOC

This past weekend, with the Easter Congressional recess just under way, President Barack Obama wasted no time in announcing the recess appointments of his two proposed Democratic nominees to serve as members on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). One appointment was Buffalo union-side attorney Mark Pearce; the other was the highly controversial Craig Becker … Continue Reading

President Signs Into Law $17.6 Billion Jobs Creation Package

This week, President Obama signed into law a $17.6 billion jobs creation package passed by Congress, H.R. 2847, the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (“HIRE Act”). This legislation includes tax incentives for businesses to hire and retain the unemployed; extension of infrastructure programs affecting surface transportation, energy, and school construction projects; and continuation of … Continue Reading

California Courts Address Employment Arbitration Agreements

Recent opinions by the California Courts of Appeal should encourage employers to review and assess the enforceability of their arbitration and related employment agreements. Court Refuses to Enforce Agreement to Shorten Limitations Period on Wage and Hour Claims In Pellegrino v. Robert Half International, the Court of Appeal found that an agreement to shorten or … Continue Reading

Labor Department Will Seek to Expand Employers’ Obligation To Report ‘Persuader Activity’

The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) recently released its 2010 regulatory plan, which envisions a major change in how DOL interprets the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (“LMRDA”) as to when an employer must disclose its use of attorneys or consultants to help persuade employees not to unionize. In particular, DOL will be seeking … Continue Reading

New Law Restricts Employment Arbitration for Defense Contractors and Subcontractors

President Obama has signed the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (H.R. 3326). Section 8116 of that Act significantly restricts the ability of defense contractors and subcontractors to enter into or enforce agreements that require employees or independent contractors to arbitrate certain claims. In particular, section 8116 provides that no funds appropriated … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Upholds Sanctity of Attorney-Client Communications About Wage and Hour Issues

As employers seek to avoid substantial exposure for alleged violations of wage and hour laws, including the continuing flood of class actions, many are asking outside counsel to review or audit their pay practices so that any problems can be fixed to minimize such risks. In a welcome development, the California Supreme Court recently rejected … Continue Reading

Plaintiffs’ Attorneys Targeting Health Care Facilities in Wage and Hour Lawsuits

A series of wage and hour collective actions initially filed in New York and Pennsylvania have begun to swell across the country. Plaintiffs’ attorneys are targeting health care facilities over their alleged failure to comply with meal break rules. Specifically, such suits claim that employers have automatically deducted 30 to 60 minutes of time for employees’ meal … Continue Reading

EEOC Revises Mandatory Workplace Poster

U.S. employers with 15 or more employees must post workplace notices to inform applicants and employees about their rights under federal anti-discrimination laws. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has recently published an updated version of its required “Equal Employment Opportunity is The Law” poster, updated to refer to the employment provisions of the Genetic Information … Continue Reading

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Mandates Use of E-Verify for All Employees Performing Work on Government Contracts

This post was written by Irene M. Recio and Lorraine M. Campos. The Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) provision requiring Federal contractors to use the E-Verify System became effective on September 8, 2009, following nearly a year of litigation. The E-Verify System is a free internet-based program operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship … Continue Reading

“EFCA Lite”: Revised Version of Employee Free Choice Act Moves Forward

As we predicted in our September 14 piece on the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), organized labor’s increased pressure on Congress to pass such legislation is starting to bear fruit.  At this week’s AFL-CIO convention, Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), a leader in the Democrats’ effort to forge a bill that can withstand a Republican filibuster, … Continue Reading

The Employee Free Choice Act: An Update

While many suspected that the Employee Free Choice Act (“EFCA”) might become law within the first 100 days of the new Administration, that has not come to pass. Indeed, with the focus in Congress on the recession and the Administration’s push for healthcare reform, EFCA seems to have been all but forgotten. Like the disappearing canine in … Continue Reading

New Law Forces Employers to Think Twice Before Hiring and Firing Employees in New York

The New York Legislature recently passed a new law that requires greater communication and transparency from employers in the hiring and firing process. Employers who fail to comply risk incurring penalties and unwanted scrutiny of labor and employment policies and practices. The Labor & Employment team at Reed Smith is here to help employers comply … Continue Reading

Labor Department Proposes Rule Requiring Federal Contractors and Subcontractors to Notify Employees of Right to Unionize

Just 10 days after taking office, President Obama signed Executive Order 13496, requiring all federal contractors and subcontractors to notify employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), including their right to join and support unions. On Aug. 3, 2009, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a proposed regulation specifying how contractors … Continue Reading

Illinois Employers Strictly Liable for Sexual Harassment by All Supervisors, Even Those With No Authority Over Victims

The Illinois Supreme Court has held that under that state’s Human Rights Act (the “Act”), an employer is strictly liable for sexual harassment by any of its supervisors, even if the harasser does not supervise the victim. Sangamon County Sheriff’s Department v. Illinois Human Rights Commission, Nos. 105517 and 105518 consolid. (Apr. 16, 2009). In other words, … Continue Reading