With summer ending, most employees would likely have used a good portion of their paid time off by now. There are always at least some employees who seemingly never take paid time off, opting instead to save it to get a monetary payout at the end of the year or upon the termination of their employment.
On August 27, 2015, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) overturned its policy that had existed since 1962, and held that employers remain obligated to withhold from wages and remit union dues to their employees’ union, even after the expiration of a collective bargaining agreement that creates the obligation.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has articulated a new test for determining when a company is a joint employer under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Under this test, the NLRB may find that two or more companies are joint employers of a group of workers if they "share or codetermine those matters governing the essential terms and conditions of employment." Overruling prior decisions that adopted additional requirements for joint-employer status, the NLRB made clear it will look to whether the "user" company has control over the employment relationship, even if that control is indirect or not exercised.
In a recently issued opinion, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that an employee’s suspension with pay typically does not constitute an “adverse employment action” under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”). This was an issue of “first impression” before the court and had not previously been addressed by the Third Circuit.
On July 2, 2015, Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed “An Act Concerning Pay Equity and Fairness” into law. The law, which went into effect immediately, applies to all Connecticut employers, regardless of size. The law is intended to create wage transparency by allowing employees to voluntarily discuss their wages with other employees or third parties.
When employers use background checks acquired through a third party company in the business of compiling background information (referred to as a “consumer reporting agency”), employers are subject to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”). Some states, including New Jersey, have their own fair credit reporting act that may impose additional responsibilities upon employers. Employment background checks, which are referred to as “consumer reports”, may include information about an individual’s credit worthiness, character, reputation, criminal background, driving record, and civil lawsuits among other information. The FCRA imposes obligations on employers at three different stages: (1) before requesting the consumer report, (2) before taking an adverse employment action against an applicant or employee based on information contained in the consumer report, and (3) after taking the adverse employment action against the applicant/employee.
As we previously posted
on this blog, federal and state governments, labor and employment agencies, and plaintiff’s attorneys have increased their focus on employers who misclassify employees as “independent contractors” in an effort to save costs on minimum wage and overtime requirements. On July 15, 2015, the federal Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued formal guidance addressing misclassification of employees as independent contractors under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The DOL’s guidance stresses the FLSA’s already expansive definition of “employee,” and makes clear that the DOL will consider most workers to be employees under the statute.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently ruled that a claim of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation states a claim of discrimination on the basis of sex within the meaning of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
In a series of private letter rulings issued during the last several years, the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") approved programs allowing defined benefit plan sponsors to offer retirees in pay status the ability to convert existing annuity forms of payment into lump sums. These limited lump sum offers were viewed as a mechanism to de-risk the plan by transferring longevity risk and investment risk to the retirees. The basis for the private letter rulings was that the addition of the right to convert an annuity benefit into a lump sum payment was treated as an increase in benefits, which allowed the participant to change the annuity payment period pursuant to Treasury regulations issued under Section 401(a)(9) of the Internal Revenue Code.
In a recently issued opinion, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (encompassing New York, Connecticut, and Vermont) held that two posthumously entered domestic relations orders were valid qualified domestic relations orders (“QDROs”) under ERISA that properly assigned plan funds to the ex-wife of a deceased participant, despite the claims of the participant’s surviving spouse to survivor benefits under the plans. A valid QDRO is one of the few exceptions to the ERISA prohibition on the assignment or alienation of plan benefits.