Monthly Archives: December 2014

WEST VIRGINIA DIVISION OF LABOR WITHDRAWS CONTROVERSIAL WAGE AND HOUR REGULATIONS

The West Virginia Division of Labor has withdrawn proposed emergency regulations that would have altered the wage and hour landscape for most West Virginia employers.

Just before noon on Tuesday, December 23, Acting DOL Commissioner John Junkins filed a letter with the Secretary of State withdrawing the proposed regulations “to address concerns raised by West Virginia employers about the impact of the rule.”  Junkins wrote that the DOL will file an amended set of proposed regulations during the upcoming legislative session that will be submitted through the standard rulemaking process, rather than as emergency rules.  “This will afford all stakeholders an adequate opportunity to communicate their concerns to the agency and resolve any confusion related to the scope and intent of the regulation,” Junkins wrote.

The proposed regulations, which the DOL had made public on November 19, conflicted with federal wage and hour rules in many important respects, as we detailed here.  They were set to become effective on December 31.

WHAT’S YOURS IS MINE: THE NLRB GRANTS EMPLOYEE USE OF EMPLOYER EMAIL SYSTEMS DURING NON-WORKING TIME

Are you an employer that has an e-mail system which your employees can access?  If so, then we have a holiday treat lump of coal for you.

About 10 days ago, the National Labor Relations Board issued a long-awaited opinion in Purple Communications, Inc., 361 NLRB No. 126.  In Purple Communications, the Board concluded that employers who provide use of their email systems to employees must allow employees to use the email systems to engage in protected activity (including organizing activity) during non-working time.  The decision overrules a prior decision of the Board, Register Guard, 351 NLRB 1110 (2007), in which the Board held that employers could maintain and enforce bans on employees’ non-work-related use of employer email systems.  According to the current Board in Purple Communications, the prior Board’s decision in Register Guard was “clearly incorrect.”   Read More »

PROPOSED EMERGENCY REGULATIONS COULD CHANGE WAGE AND HOUR LANDSCAPE FOR WEST VIRGINIA EMPLOYERS

The West Virginia Division of Labor (DOL) has proposed emergency regulations that, if enforced in their present form, could force nearly all West Virginia employers to change, by December 31, 2014, a number of common wage and hour practices that comply with longstanding federal regulations.

Although the DOL’s emergency rules purport to adopt vast portions of federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations, they simultaneously impose several new rules that contradict or otherwise differ from those same federal regulations, particularly as they relate to the determination of what constitutes compensable working time.  If applied broadly, the new rules will require West Virginia employers to depart from FLSA standards in at least the following areas: Read More »

DOL RECOVERS $4.5M IN WAGES FOR PA., W.VA. GAS WORKERS

While employers of all types have been under increasing scrutiny by the United States Department of Labor for their overtime and other pay practices, the DOL has paid extra attention to employers in the energy industry.  The piece below from Employment Law 360, announcing that the DOL’s focus on that sector has resulted in a great deal of wage and hour liability for oil and gas employers in Appalachia, is a great reminder that those employers need to be vigilant when it comes to both their classification determinations and wage payment compliance in general.  To try and avoid the DOL’s crosshairs and other similar wage and hour headaches, consultation with competent counsel is advised.  Read More »

HOW THE BOSS STOLE CHRISTMAS

Those who have followed this blog regularly know that a true treat is in store every year at this time – the Employment Essentials annual holiday poem, authored by our own Vanessa Goddard.  Once again, our readers will not be disappointed with Vanessa’s fabulous work, so don’t hesitate to show the author some love in the comments below the prose.  Happy Holidays from the entire Employment Essentials team.  Click here to read this year’s poem.

Happy-Holidays-Lights

HOW THE BOSS STOLE CHRISTMAS

HOW THE BOSS STOLE CHRISTMAS
Many thanks to Dr. Seuss for the inspiration

Everyone down in HR-ville
liked Christmas a lot.

But the boss, in his office upstairs,
He did NOT!

The boss hated parties,
the whole holiday season.
Free turkeys, Secret Santa,
I’m not even teasin’.

It could be he was stingy,
wouldn’t part with a dime.
It could be he was busy,
he hadn’t the time.
But, I think the reason most likely of all
Was his brain was not one but two sizes too small.

A year of bad decisions,
kept us on our toes.
Now with the holidays,
The Boss could fix all our woes.
Yet, he looks at our festivities
with a frown on his face.
While each employee decorates
his or her small, cube-y space.

The workers would arrive
for a lunchtime feast.
And they’d feast.  And they’d feast.
Oh for hours they’d feast!
On pies and baked hams and . . . (wait for it)
even roast beast.
All this non-working time the Boss couldn’t stand in the least.

He tried to stop it from coming.
He worked at it year-long.
There was that Like-Liker, a Facebook king.
He chimed in on this, that, and every thing,
including the Boss’s management styling.

“Can him!” the Boss said.
“Set him free for his ‘likes’”
“And for everyone’s comments on me,
I’ll have heads on some pikes.”
“Wait,” cried HR, “but the N-L-R-B,
says we mustn’t punish for solidar-ity.”

“Well, how about Cindy, head of that bunch,
who plans walks and book clubs and holiday brunch.
She takes too much time away from her filing,
expressing milk on her breaks like she’s always stockpiling.
Certainly, she is ripe for a firing.”

But the law is the law
for both HR and bosses.
That’s a no-no that will bring
many lawsuiting losses.
So, Cindy is safe
and the Like-Liker too.
So, Mr. Boss, find something nicer to do.

So the Boss thought
and he thought.
And he came up with a plan.
A sneaky, stinky, slimey plan!

“I’ve got just the thing
to put a wrench in their fun.”
So, he stayed late that night
and undid all they’d done.
He took down their stockings,
their ribbons, their bows.
He took down the tree
and hid it below
And tossed away bags of fluffy fake snow.

The next day came workers
ready to celebrate with joy.
And the Boss in his office,
all innocent and coy,
Waited to hear them all wimper
like a little girl or a boy,
Who has just lost his or her favorite toy.

He waited and listened
and what did he hear.
Happy holidays! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
So, he peeked out the door
to see it all with his eyes.
And that’s when the Boss got his biggest surprise:
Christmas came on its own without ribbons or ties.

The Boss stood there puzzled,
couldn’t figure it out.
He’d done all he could.
He hadn’t a doubt.
Yet, the workers had smiles,
gave hugs and kisses.
They laughed and joked
and wished holiday wishes.

Then, the Like-Liker and Cindy
headed his way
With a box wrapped with tissue,
most festive and gay.
#1 Boss said the mug
which in that box lay.

And, what happened then?
Well, the Boss says it’s true.
The size of his brain grew and it grew.
He got it.  He did.  He finally knew.
So he fetched the tree and the trimmings,
spread joy all about.
That was the day he became a better boss, there was no doubt.
The Holiday Spirit – it can’t be shut out.

Happy-Holidays-Lights

SEXUAL HARASSMENT INVESTIGATIONS

Your policies look good on paper, but are you prepared to conduct an effective investigation of workplace sexual harassment?  When you receive a complaint of harassment, you need to quickly commence and complete an investigation.  Of course, your approach and the questions you ask will vary depending upon the circumstances, but there are some basic guidelines that you should keep in mind: iStock_000008808702Large Read More »