Employment Law Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law and HR

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Photo of Kara Craig
Jul 30 2019
Safety and Health  

Employer can’t blame worker for preventable on-the-job injury

A federal appeals court recently affirmed three citations for serious safety violations following the partial amputation of an employee’s thumb at a poultry processing plant. The company had challenged the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)’s citations in federal court, arguing that the injured employee engaged in unpreventable employee misconduct by violating…

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Photo of Sean Brown
Jul 16 2019
Wage and Hour  

California employers must pay, even for brief periods of work

Nonexempt employees must be paid for all time worked under California’s Labor Code, even very brief periods of work, according to a recent opinion from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In general, nonexempt employees (often called hourly employees) must be paid for all time spent performing work, but federal law…

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Photo of Manish Gooneratne
Jul 16 2019
Safety and Health  

Q&A: Keep exit routes clear and unobstructed

Question: How many exit routes should we have? Also, is it okay to temporarily block an exit route?   Answer: Generally, you’ll need to have at least two solid exit routes for your employees and your operation, but more exit routes may be required depending on the number of people onsite and/or the size of…

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Photo of Kandis Sells
Jul 16 2019
Q&AWage and Hour  

Q&A: Be careful how you round employee work hours

Question: We recently changed to a new timekeeping and payroll system, and the new system sometimes rounds down the amount of time an employee worked. Is that legal?   Answer: Probably, but it depends on how much time is rounded down and the state in which the employee works. A recent opinion letter…

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Photo of Kara Craig
Jul 01 2019
DisabilityHarassment & DiscriminationSafety and Health  

Employers need objective basis to require fitness-for-duty exam

A federal district court recently ruled that a police department complied with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it required a bomb squad technician to undergo a fitness-for-duty exam. Their justification? The city had an objective basis for the fitness-for-duty exam request. In this case, the technician was experiencing hand…

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Photo of Karen Davis
Jun 26 2019
Wage and Hour  

Q&A: Say what you mean in commission agreements

Question: One of our salespeople landed two huge contracts. Under the terms of the commission agreement, this salesperson would earn nearly $3 million. But we never anticipated paying anyone that much money. We reserved the right to amend the plan. Can we cut the commission payment?

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Photo of Sonia Reynolds
Jun 24 2019
Wage and Hour  

DOL proposes to increase FLSA overtime exemption salary threshold

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is proposing to increase minimum salary levels under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime exemption rules for executive, administrative, and professional employees. If the proposed rules are finalized, the DOL states that over a million current salaried exempt employees will be designated as…

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Photo of Kara Craig
Jun 21 2019
Wage and Hour  

Employer must pay for time spent studying for work-related exam

A federal district court in Arizona recently ruled that employees must be paid for time spent studying for written tests that they were required to pass in order to complete on-the-job training. A group of long-haul truck drivers filed a lawsuit against their employer alleging violations of the Fair Labor…

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Photo of Michael Sorensen
Jun 21 2019
Safety and Health  

Wildfire season…are you ready?

As wildfire season approaches, it’s important to understand your obligations if employees want to wear dust masks to try to protect themselves from smoke in the air. Wildfire smoke is a mixture of gases and fine particles from burning trees and other plant material. Smoke can irritate workers’ eyes and respiratory systems,…

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Photo of Jodi Slavik
Jun 21 2019
Wage and Hour  

$102M awarded for wage statement and meal violations in California

A federal district court in California recently awarded Wal-Mart employees $102 million in damages and penalties for missed meals and insufficient wage statements. The class action claim was divided into three parts: missed meals, wage statements missing hourly rates, and final pay statements without pay period start and end dates.…

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