In the several years since this blog’s inception, we’ve written about the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Americans With Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) quite a bit. Maybe even enough to make us a little fatigued. But probably not as exhausted as one employer who recently learned that it was being forced to chase down a moving accommodation target which one of its employees claimed it failed to provide.
On June 18, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 split decision, ruled that pharmaceutical “detailers” fall within the definition of “outside salesmen” as defined in the DOL regulations and are exempt from the FLSA requirement to pay overtime wages. In Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham, the high court affirmed the Ninth Circuit’s interpretation of the DOL regulations and rejected the 2010 decision of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
I felt like I was in my favorite Stephen King novel, The Stand, when that storm hit a couple weeks ago. Gas, food, electricity were not to be had. Roads were closed due to downed electric lines and quite a few very large trees. I know, because I was trying desperately to get home, as were many other forty-something ladies out to enjoy a particular movie premiere. Darn you Mother Nature.
In today’s age of instant communication, and particularly with the ability of more and more employees to stay connected to their work with an iPhone, blackberry or some other form of mobile communication wizardry, customers expect businesses to be open 24/7. To meet this demand, a number of companies require their employees to be “on-call” to respond to customer inquiries or other business needs after normal business hours. One question that consistently trips-up employers is whether the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) requires compensation to these employees for on-call time.
According to media reports, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is launching what it calls a “no-notice” campaign in West Virginia this summer. OSHA indicated that this campaign is designed to reduce construction injuries and deaths.
Over the past couple of years there has been a lot written about the changed makeup of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the resulting expected reversal of a number of labor law rulings that employers must abide by, and the table tilting towards the unions at the expense of employers. The NLRB majority is now comprised of individuals who held employment as legal counsel for unions or who worked a member of a law firm representing unions. For the most part, such changes are expected when political winds shift. But there is new artillery being wheeled onto the battlefield.
Even though it is not a state or federal law requirement, many employers have an employee handbook, or at least a few written company policies. But just exactly where do those policies come from? That’s easy — the HR Department. But where does HR get the policies that govern the company? The answer to that question is not quite so simple. Employee policies can come from a multitude of sources such as style guides or boilerplate templates purchased online, but many times a policy is no more than “that is how we do things at this company.” While in many cases the company means no harm by not having a formal employee handbook, the lack of a formal set of documented employee policies can potentially lead to costly litigation.