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Employment Law

Case of the Week: Apply your dress and grooming policies consistently

You probably have a policy that spells out your dress and grooming rules, which may limit certain employee clothing choices that might offend customers, clients or co-workers. But how you enforce that rule may mean the difference between winning quick dismissal of a discrimination lawsuit or a big jury award against your organization.

New overtime rules could change duties tests in addition to salary level

For over a year, the Department of Labor has been teasing the imminent release of new proposed rules raising the white-collar salary threshold that makes exempt employees eligible for overtime pay. Originally scheduled to drop in spring 2022, the update is now penciled in for May.

Bills introduced in Congress to ban noncompete agreements

In January, the FTC announced a sweeping proposed regulation that would invalidate all existing noncompete agreements and free employees currently bound by them. The proposed rule is still in the comment phase and likely will face a legal challenge from business groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Now, Congress has entered the fray.

Consider these alternatives to noncompete agreements

The ostensible purpose of an agreement not to compete is to prevent employees from jumping ship and taking proprietary information with them when they go to work for a competitor. But two other kinds of agreements can often accomplish that objective: nondisclosure agreements and confidentiality agreements.

Be sure you can explain business-related rationale for firing decision

Courts don’t like it when employers appear to make knee-jerk decisions. Before firing someone, step back and really think through your justification. Make sure the rationale for the termination is truly business-related. Then document your reasoning in case a court later asks why you did what you did.

Extra ‘volunteer’ work can’t be paid in chicken

Fast food restaurants trying to hire workers sometimes tout “free food” as an employee benefit. That doesn’t turn meal vouchers into legal tender. That’s what the Department of Labor decided when it fined a Chik-Fil-A franchise following a recent investigation.

What employers should (and should not) do when employees go on strike

Labor strikes by employees were up a shocking 52% in 2022 as compared to 2021. Employee collective work stoppages are on the rise, and there is no indication of them abating any time soon. Do you know what to do if your employees walk off the job?

Momentum building at state level to turn gig workers into employees

New York is taking steps to join California in reclassifying gig workers as employees. Legislation currently in committee in the New York State Senate, S. 2052, looks to “reclassify more workers as employees rather than independent contractors in order for them to receive benefits such as healthcare and retirement.”

How to accommodate an emerging disability: Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome

Some disabilities are so obvious that employers know how to reasonably accommodate them. But what about rare or emerging disabilities?

Your best practice for beating bias lawsuits: Keep accurate records of all HR decisions

Here’s HR’s best employment-law bet: Assume every employee you fire will try to sue you. That means basing every termination decision on solid business-related reasons, documented in real time. Your good records will often be enough to get a lawsuit tossed out quickly.