After much anticipation, on May 18, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) announced details concerning the final version of its highly controversial expanded overtime exemption rule (Final Rule). The Final Rule, which impacts the "white collar" exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for executive, administrative and professional employees, is expected to be published tomorrow in the Federal Register and will take effect, subject to threatened congressional efforts to derail it, on December 1, 2016.
18 U.S.C. § 1514A, otherwise known as the anti-retaliation provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (“SOX”), prohibits retaliation by employers against employees who provide information about certain enumerated, illegal activities. These statutorily enumerated activities include mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, securities fraud, any rule or regulation of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), or any provision of federal law relating to fraud against shareholders. While the SOX retaliation provision generally is limited to publicly-traded companies and their contractors, the avenue of whistleblowing are expansive. Whistleblowers will be protected if they provide information to or assist in an investigation conducted by (i) a federal regulatory or law enforcement agency, (ii) Congress, or (iii) a person with supervisory authority over the employee.
On March 25, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a final rule establishing a new permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica of 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an eight-hour shift. According to OSHA, industries and operations in which exposure may occur include, among others, construction, foundries, jewelry production, ready-mix concrete, cut stone and stone products, railroad track maintenance, hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas production, and abrasive blasting.
For years, employers have been wielding Rule 68 offers of judgment to moot individual plaintiff’s FLSA claims and undercut standing for class action certification. A recent Supreme Court decision, however, has drastically curtailed this strategy, while at the same time offering employers another means to the same end.
In a recent case, the New Jersey Superior Court decided that an employer’s policy prohibiting employees from wearing henna tattoos on their hands while at work may amount to discriminatory interference with the exercise of employees’ religious beliefs.
In general, an employer is liable to a multiemployer pension plan for its portion of the plan’s underfunding, if any, when the employer withdraws from the plan in a complete or partial withdrawal. A complete withdrawal from a multiemployer pension plan occurs when an employer permanently ceased to have an obligation to contribute under the plan or permanently ceases all covered operations under the plan. A partial withdrawal occurs when there is a 70 percent contribution decline or there is a partial cessation of the employer’s contribution obligation.
The start of the year is a good time for employers to fulfill their requirements to annually distribute certain employment law notices to their employees. In particular, for certain New Jersey employers, there are two employment law notices that must be provided to all employees on an annual basis: the gender equity notice and the whistleblower notice required by the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (“CEPA”).
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is charged with enforcing the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, which applies to virtually all private employers. To that end, OSHA has promulgated a substantial set of regulations, or “standards,” with the goal of preventing workplace accidents and improving the quality of workers’ day-to-day work environments.
On January 14, 2014, four members of the New Jersey Senate introduced Bill No. S524, which prohibits employers from requiring credit checks on current or prospective employees. That bill passed the Senate in June of 2015, and was referred to the Assembly for review.
In Faush v. Tuesday Morning, Inc., 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 19977 (3d Cir. 2015), the Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently found that a temporary worker provided by a staffing agency could proceed to trial on a claim of race discrimination under federal and state law against the company that contracted with the staffing agency. The plaintiff in this case, Mathew Faush, was employed Labor Ready, a staffing agency providing temporary workers to a variety of companies, including defendant Tuesday Morning, a home-goods retailer. These temporary workers performed routine tasks such as unloading merchandise, setting up displays, and stocking merchandise on shelves.