Monthly Archives: December 2017


On November 28, 2017, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Digital Realty Trust Inc. v. Paul Somers, a case that will determine whether employees who report fraud-related conduct internally will be protected by the Dodd-Frank Act’s anti-retaliation provisions or whether the employee must report directly to the government to earn that protection.  Read More »


The joint employer standard, which is used to determine the extent to which one employer may become liable for obligations of another, has long been a very politically-charged issue.  It therefore comes as no surprise that less than one year into the Trump administration, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) has issued a ruling that in effect reverses a controversial decision of the Obama Board that made it easier to prove the existence of a “joint employer” relationship.  In a 3-2 ruling, the NLRB overruled the Board’s 2015 decision in Browning-Ferris Industries, 362 NLRB No. 186 (2015) (“Browning-Ferris”), and returned to the pre–Browning Ferris standard that governed joint employer liability. Read More »


On December 4, 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, more popularly known as the “gay wedding cake case.”  At issue in this case are competing interests in First Amendment freedoms of expression and religion and the same-sex couples’ rights to equal, nondiscriminatory treatment.  Read More »

‘Twas That Ol’ Christmas Feeling

‘Twas that ol’ Christmas feeling, crawling up my spine.

When the Powers That Be said, “A Holiday Swine!

For each employee, what a delightful treat.

What’s better than turkeys, as Noel-ish meat?”


“Buy local,” they said, and my heart gave a patter.

They get it, these guys! We’ll do something that matters.

A call to the slaughterhouse just up the street

Hmm, wait, is that morbid? I thought for a beat.


Never mind. It’s all done.  We’ll have fresh festive hams.

No worries my Vegans. I’ll get Yuletide Yams.

You’d think I’d know better, with the year that I’ve had

With all that behind me, this can’t get that bad!


Computer security issues, Oh my!

We thought we’d give phishing our employees a try.

One wrong click on a link and more training ensues.

Vowing not to be caught, no one gets HR news.

For open enrollment, on links you must click.

I just hope that my workforce doesn’t get sick.


Bring your child to work day was almost a success.

We had Becky, and Andrew, and then there was Wes.

Who found all the passwords slipped under keyboards,

And he shuffled, and shouted, and called out these words:


Fivedoghair! GoMounties! 1upper and Hatman!

Hotbiscuits! Threegoldfarb! HeartOprah and Buckfan!


To the top of the desk! To the top of his lungs!

Now change ‘em all! Change ‘em all!  And off he runs!


Changes in law on medical marijuana

Caught up to IT fresh back from Tijuana.

“Dude, we thought it was cool now. We all got a script.”

“Whaddaya mean we can’t come to work ripped?”


“For medical conditions, it may be all right.

But, workplace rules still apply, and those are uptight.”

HR’s drug testing program worked on overdrive.

It’s a wonder I managed to come out alive.


As I walk ‘round the building, it seems some are late.

We’d set today aside for plans to decorate.

When they finally show up, heads are hanging low.

Excuse must be a doozy, I can’t wait to know.


“Sorry, we were late, HR. There were traffic jams.

Seems our Christmas treats escaped; squealing, mobile hams.”

I’m sure they’ll be collected, as around I gaze.

That’s the cherry on the year, Happy Holidays!


This question today comes up in many contexts. The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, an intermediate appellate court, in D&R Construction v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board, had to determine whether the Construction Workplace Misclassification Act (CWMA) 43 p.s. § 933.1-17 was instructive in evaluating the employee or independent contractor question. Read More »


The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) is the government agency tasked with the responsibility to enforce the federal laws prohibiting discrimination in all types of work situations, including hiring, firing, promotions, harassment, training, wages, and benefits. Typically, the first steps for individuals seeking to file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC are an initial inquiry and intake interview. These first steps are now made easier through the recently launched EEOC Public Portal.  The EEOC Public Portal was piloted in five U.S. cities – Charlotte, Chicago, New Orleans, Phoenix, and Seattle – for six months before it was made available nationwide on November 1, 2017. Read More »