2016 OVERTIME RULE ON PERMANENT HOLD AS DOL DEVELOPS NEW RULE

On October 30, 2017, the Department of Labor filed a new notice of appeal in the suit that challenged the Obama administration’s overtime regulations. These regulations, which were intended to become effective on December 1, 2016, more than doubled the minimum salary level required to qualify for a white-collar exemption to $913 per week ($47,476 annually). Read More »

TALK ABOUT A BLACK FRIDAY: THE ACA’S PLAY OR PAY MANDATE MAY HIT EMPLOYERS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON!

Although the ACA Play or Pay mandate was effective in 2015, it has been unclear when or how the IRS would collect any penalties assessed under that mandate.  Earlier this month, however, the IRS quietly provided its answer by updating an online ACA resource and stating that penalty notices for the 2015 year would be issued in “late 2017.”  Under the new procedures, an employer who receives one of these notices will have only 30 days to respond.  Employers should act now to maximize their ability to respond timely and minimize inadvertent penalty assessments. Read More »

DON’T GET CAUGHT WITH YOUR PANTS DOWN AMIDST THE #METOO MOVEMENT

Without a doubt sexual harassment has always been a serious issue for employers. Given the recent headlines relating to celebrities such as Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Bill O’Reilly, and others, sexual harassment is now front and center in the consciousness of the American public in ways that it was not just a short time ago.  After the Harvey Weinstein scandal hit the news, Actress Alyssa Milano took to Twitter and posted the following tweet:  “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”  Her tweet caught fire and “#metoo” peppers all vehicles of social media.  In fact, CBS News reported that more than 45% of U.S. Facebook users had friends who posted #metoo. Read More »

GESUNDHEIT: EMPLOYER GUIDANCE ON FLU SHOT POLICIES

While autumn is generally a mirthful season of crisp weather, beautiful colors, and tasty s’mores, it also serves as the harbinger of one of the most dreaded yearly seasons – flu. With experts predicting that this flu season could be a severe one, employers are understandably worried about the safety of their employees and clientele.  Over the past several years, many employers have implemented mandatory flu vaccination programs for their employees.  If you have implemented, or are considering implementing, such a program, read on for tips you should consider. Read More »

DETAILS, DETAILS, DETAILS

Since the Steelworkers Trilogy of 1960, the Supreme Court has furthered the private justice system by liberally interpreting the scope of arbitration agreements. The Third Circuit, in a case applying New Jersey law, however, may have recently narrowed the scope of those decisions within its jurisdiction. In Moon v. Breathless, Inc., the Circuit had to determine whether a statutory claim was covered by an arbitration agreement or could be brought in court. The individual bringing the claim had signed an independent contractor agreement which contained a standard arbitration clause covering all disputes arising under the agreement. Nevertheless, the individual wanted to bring in court a statutory (FLSA) claim based on their asserted employee status. The Circuit was called upon to determine whether, under the breadth of the arbitration clause, the statutory claim, which on its face was inconsistent with the independent contractor agreement, could be brought in court or must be resolved in arbitration. Read More »

THIRD CIRCUIT DEFERS TO PENSION PLAN ADMINISTRATOR OVER AMBIGUOUS PLAN TERMS

A pension plan participant’s challenge to his benefit amount was recently struck down by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The court acknowledged that retirement plans are complex documents comprised of hundreds of pages, appendices, and “peculiarities.”  The issue on appeal before the court was examining whether the terms of the plan were merely complex or ambiguous. Read More »

MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS: U.S. DOL PUBLISHES REQUEST FOR INFORMATION ON FLSA OVERTIME RULE

On July 26, 2017, the Department of Labor (DOL) published a Request for Information (RFI) soliciting public comment on the Fair Labor Standard Act’s (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime requirements for certain executive, administrative, outside sales, and computer employees. The DOL will likely use the feedback it receives to assist with formulating a proposal to revise the overtime regulations.  Read More »

WEST VIRGINIA WORKPLACE FREEDOM ACT: FREE FROM INJUNCTION

During the 2016 Regular Session of the West Virginia Legislature, Senate Bill 1 – otherwise known as the “West Virginia Workplace Freedom Act” – became law after that Legislature overrode a gubernatorial veto on February 12, 2016.  Or so everyone thought.  A number of labor organizations sought an injunction prohibiting the law’s enforcement just four days before the Workplace Freedom Act took effect on July 1, 2016, with a filing in the Circuit Court of Kanawha County, West Virginia. Read More »

ADVOCATE HEALTH CARE: THE LOGICAL EXEMPTION OF CHURCH PLANS

On June 5, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court in Advocate Health Care Network, et al. v. Stapleton et al., 581 U.S. ___ (2017), answered whether a church must have originally established an employee benefit plan for it to qualify as an exempted “church plan” under ERISA, to which the Supreme Court answered, no.  The Supreme Court held that “a plan maintained by a ‘principal purpose organization’ qualifies as a ‘church plan,’ regardless of who established it.” Read More »