You may have heard that the concept of joint employment is getting its share of recent attention. First, the NLRB got involved, with its decision in Browning-Ferris industries, which we wrote about here. OSHA and the EEOC have been poking around in the area, too. Now, it appears to be the Department of Labor’s turn.
Over the last several years, there has been quite a push to broaden who is considered an employee – as well as who is considered an employer – under relevant federal (and even state) laws. For instance, the Department of Labor has stepped up its efforts in singling out employers who misclassify workers as independent contractors. Their recent memo on this subject – which we wrote about here – is the most recent evidence of that. The National Labor Relations Board has also been active in this general area, issuing complaints against McDonalds arguing that a number of its franchisors have as much control over employees as the franchisees do, and therefore are just as legally responsible for ensuring compliance with certain employment laws. These arguments have been advanced by more than just government agencies, however. They have been made by private plaintiffs under anti-discrimination law, too.
With the arrival of summer, many companies are hiring college and high school students to work as interns during summer break. Often, employers do not pay interns at all, or only pay them a stipend or other amount which is lower than the minimum wage. From an employer’s perspective, it may make good business sense not to pay the intern since they usually are not providing the same experience, skill, and expertise which regular employees provide. In addition, usually the practical experience, relationship building, and resume-padding are more valuable to the intern than any compensation.
As we have highlighted previously on this blog, employers have faced an onslaught of wage-and-hour litigation in recent years. Many of those cases have been filed as class or collective actions on behalf of hundreds and even thousands of plaintiff-employees. Most of these cases allege that employees have not been compensated for overtime hours worked as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).
The practice of allowing employees to work from home – telecommuting – is a growing trend. After all, today’s technology allows employees to work from almost anywhere, and telecommuting can be beneficial for both employers and employees. For employers, telecommunicating can be a less expensive alternative to traditional brick and mortar locations. Employees like telecommuting because of the flexibility it provides.
The West Virginia Legislature’s 2014 regular session concluded last month. Like in many states, the West Virginia Legislature passed a bill to increase the state minimum wage this year. In addition, following the lead of several other state legislatures, the West Virginia Legislature also passed a bill relating to pregnant employees. Both laws have significant implications for West Virginia employers.