Last Fall’s election, where so much was said about hacked emails, should serve as a reminder to employers that cyber security is of the utmost important. Cyber crime continues to rise across the globe. In some European countries it even outpaces traditional crime. A single data breach can cost a company millions of dollars in lost revenue, fines, and corrective action, not to mention the damages to its reputation and brand loyalty. So what are the biggest cyber threats and how can businesses best defend against them? Continue Reading Cyber Security & Employees
Late last year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) issued its Final Rule amending certain regulations related to employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant visa programs. USCIS’s effort is intended to benefit both U.S. employers and foreign workers participating in these programs by “streamlining the processes for employer sponsorship of nonimmigrant workers for lawful permanent resident (LPR) status, increasing job portability and otherwise providing stability and flexibility for such workers, and providing additional transparency and consistency in the application of DHS policies and practices related to these programs.” The changes contained in the Final Rule go into effect on January 17, 2017, so employers with foreign workers (or employers who are considering hiring foreign workers) need to understand the implications of these changes and be prepared. Continue Reading Important Changes for High-Skilled Nonimmigrant Workers – and Their Employers — Coming January 17, 2017
Out with the old and in with the new? Not so fast. For California employers, it’s more like keep the old and add the new. And, as so often happens, the new year brings new concerns. While this list is not exhaustive, California employers should keep their sights on the following new state and local regulations or requirements for 2017: Continue Reading Catch the Wave: New California Employment Regulations and Requirements for 2017
In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series of posts, we began the discussion of what the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), enacted in May 2016, really means for employers in defending their trade secrets. In particular, we addressed some of the “good” the DTSA offers for employers, including: (1) a clear path to federal court, (2) ex parte seizure orders and (3) international application. In this Part 3, we address the bad — four potential downsides of the DTSA for employers. Continue Reading The Defend Trade Secrets Act: What Does it Really Mean for Employers? The Good, the Bad and the Ambiguous, Part 3
A nationwide junction was issued Tuesday evening blocking implementation of the U.S. Department of Labor’s new rules increasing the minimum salary levels required for most white collar exemptions. These new rules had been scheduled to go into effect on December 1, and would have raised the minimum annual salary level for most exemptions from $23,660 to $47,476. The injunction halts enforcement of the rule until the Department of Labor receives a contrary order from the issuing court or an appellate court. But, since Texas is in the Fifth Circuit, which is a traditionally conservative court, the Department of Labor faces an uphill climb and it is unlikely that the new rules will go into effect in the foreseeable future. Continue Reading Nationwide Injunction Prohibits Implementation of the Department of Labor’s New Overtime Rules
The most current version of the I-9 form is now available (www.uscis.gov) and employers must use only this version beginning on January 22, 2017. Some of the key changes to the form include the following:
- Section 1 – Now asks for “other last names used” rather than “other names used”
- The addition of prompts to ensure information is entered correctly
- The ability to enter multiple preparers and translators
- A dedicated area for including additional information rather than having to add it in the margins
- A supplemental page for the preparer/translator
As we near the end of this election season, employers should be ready for requests from employees for time off to vote. Polling places are expected to be crowded and employers in many states must accommodate their employees’ right to vote if an employee’s work schedule prevents that person from going to the polls. (Even in states where it is not legally mandated, considering this election year, and the general feelings around fundamental right to vote, all employers should strongly consider a plan to enable employees to vote if at all possible.) Continue Reading California Employees Can Be Entitled To Paid Time Off For Voting
The press has been filled with stories about the new Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations which raise the minimum salary level required for employees to be exempt from overtime pay. Specifically, the new regulations — currently set to take effect on December 1, 2016 — raise the minimum salary level required for exempt employees under the executive, administrative and professional exemptions from $455 per week to $913 per week, or from roughly $23,660 annually to $47,456 annually. Often overlooked, however, is the fact that the new regulations also significantly affect the “highly compensated employee” (“HCE”) exemption, as well. Continue Reading Highly Compensated Employees and the New FLSA Regulations
As we all learned in school, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits Congress from making laws that “abridge the freedom of speech.” Employer-created rules and decisions are not acts of Congress, of course, and are not subject to the First Amendment. So, employers can terminate their at-will employees (all employees without an employment contract) for a good or even a bad reason, including having a bad attitude, right? Wrong, according to the National Labor Relations Board, at least when that bad attitude expresses itself in voicing concerns about their job.
In another example of the National Labor Relations Board (“the Board”) reaching into a non-union employer’s workplace, it ordered dance production companies that run two Las Vegas shows (Vegas! The Show and The BeatleShow) to reinstate several dancers whose employment was terminated for performance and attitude problems that spanned several years of time. David Saxe Prods., LLC, 364 NLRB No. 100 (Aug. 26, 2016). In a letter to one of these employees, the owner of the production companies stated: Continue Reading Are Employees Entitled to Free Speech?
The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals (which handles federal court appeals from Georgia, Florida and Alabama) recently issued a surprising and first of its kind decision holding that applicants may not bring a disparate impact claim under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”). The ADEA prohibits employers from intentionally discriminating against employees 40 or older due to their age. Any such “disparate treatment” (another way of saying intentional discrimination) violates the ADEA. But the ADEA is also usually understood to also prohibit unintentional discrimination on the basis of employees’ age (over 40), such as a rule or policy or practice that while non-discriminatory on its face has the real, if unintended, effect of discriminating against older workers. This concept is known as “disparate impact” discrimination. As the ADEA (and most employment discrimination laws) applies to both employees and applicants for employment, most assume that the disparate impact theory of discrimination also applies to applicants as it does to employees. The Eleventh Circuit, however, said it does not. Continue Reading Can An Employer Legally (If Unintentionally) Screen Out Older Job Applicants?