Recognizing that every business with employees faces challenges that can impact their growth and profitability, Sandberg Phoenix attorneys are committed to sharing their knowledge of, experience with and passion for employment law. Addressing current issues, recent case studies and matters of statutory and regulatory compliance, the Employer Law Blog provides expert advice and analysis of important aspects of employment law.

FMLA Interference: How To Get Sued

Under the FMLA, an employer must not –

Interfere with, restrain or deny the exercise of, or attempt to exercise, an employee’s FMLA rights [29 U.S.C. § 2615(a)(1)], or
Discharge or discriminate against an individual for opposing any unlawful practice under the FMLA [29 U.S.C. § 2615(a)(2) and (b)].

Health Care Alert: OSHA Targets Healthcare Facilities

OSHA administrator David Michaels has stated, “It’s time for hospitals and the health care industry to make the changes necessary to protect their workers.” Workers’ injury rates at nursing and residential care facilities are more than twice that of the overall private industry, and hospital workers face a rate nearly as high, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Therefore, OSHA has decided to target hospital and nursing facility for inspections on hazards that contribute to the industry’s high injury rate. To address these injuries, an internal OSHA memorandum directs compliance officers to target hospitals and nursing facilities and inspect the following hazards:

EMPLOYER ALERT: Now Is The Time to Audit Exempt Status to Adjust For DOL’s New White Collar Exemption Regulations

The U.S. Department of Labor has proposed the biggest overhaul to U.S. overtime law in history. Public comments on the proposal expired on September 4, 2015. The final regulations are expected to be released by the end of 2015, with an effective date in spring or summer 2016. The Proposed Rule focused primarily on updating the salary and compensation levels needed for white collar workers to be exempt. Specifically, the DOL proposes to:

Court Strikes Down St. Louis Ordinance to Increase Minimum Wage

On August 28, 2015, St. Louis Mayor Slay signed a bill, approved by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, into law as Ordinance 70078 that would have raised the minimum wage in St. Louis City from the current rate of $7.65 per hour. Ordinance 70078 was set to increase the current minimum wage to $8.25 per hour on October 15, 2015, with additional increases taking place on a yearly basis – $9.00 on January 1, 2016, $10.00 in 2017, and $11.00 on January 1, 2018. In 2019 the ordinance provided for increases to the minimum wage based on the rate of inflation. The ordinance states its purpose was “for the preservation of public peace, health and safety.” It expressly identified the intent to address local concerns for the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the City of St. Louis.

Employees Are Protected From Third-Party Harassment … Including Patients At Health Care Facilities

In a case straight from “Bad Grandpa” the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals further confirmed an employer’s obligation to provide a work environment free of all forms of discrimination and harassment. In Chavonya Watson v. Heartland Health Laboratories, the 8th Circuit “assumed” for sake of analysis that an employer can be held liable under the Missouri Human Rights Act (“MHRA”) for harassment by a third-party who is not an employee. Ultimately, however, the 8th Circuit found that the incidents of harassments did not rise to the level of “hostile work environment” and affirmed summary judgment on behalf of the employer.

NLRB Revises Joint Employer Test

On August 27, 2015, the National Labor Relations Board issued a long-anticipated decision in the case of Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc. By a three-to-two vote the Board reconsidered its test for when employers are considered joint employers, thus triggering bargaining obligations for an employer which may not be the direct employer of a bargaining unit.

Employer Alert: NLRB Holds a General Recommendation of Maintaining Confidentiality During Internal Investigations As An Infringement on Employees Section 7 Rights

The National Labor Relations Board has continued its well-established pattern of finding routine and generally accepted personnel practices as an unlawful infringement on employee’s free speech rights. Conventional wisdom is to maintain confidentiality of informant and witness statements in internal investigations. In doing so, employers routinely request or recommend employees to maintain the confidential nature of the facts discussed during the investigation in order to maintain the neutrality and objectiveness of witnesses. To further promote objective and fair investigations, The Boeing Company promulgated a general workplace notice to employees that recommended employees refrain from discussing a case during a pending investigation. Makes perfect sense right? Wrong?!?

Obligations of a Successor Owner

A frequent question to lawyers who practice traditional labor law focuses on the recognition and bargaining obligations of employers who become successors to a business. When an employer merges with or acquires another business whose employees in a particular collective bargaining unit are represented by a union, certain obligations arise. If an employer qualifies as a successor in a situation in which it takes over the unionized business of another employer, the acquiring employer succeeds to the collective bargaining obligations of the former employer.

Do you need to update your employee handbook?

It’s hard to keep up with all of the recent changes in employment law and even harder to make sure your employee handbook is up to date. Plus, it’s a real pain to have to make revisions to your handbook and much easier to just let it be. But, employers who choose the latter do so at their peril. Here are three examples of changes in Illinois law that may require you to update your handbook.

Thought About Lately Whether You Are Violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act?

You should. And yes, just saying the “Fair Credit Reporting Act” (“FCRA”) is a mouthful. With numerous opportunities for employers to trip up on technical violations, and promise of potential attorneys’ fees for plaintiffs’ attorneys, lawsuits, including class actions, are on the rise.

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation.
This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. © 2014 Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard P.C. All Rights Reserved.

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