Countdown to 2020: Five Hot Compliance Tips to Keep HR Professionals Out of Hot Water

It is time to make sure you are ready for 2020 (and beyond). Here are five (5) hot HR compliance issues you should be tracking and implementing:

  1. New Salary Thresholds for Exempt Employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act

Effective January 1, 2020, the standard minimum salary levels for exempt executive, administrative and professional employees will increase from the current $455 per week to $684 per week (which equates to $35,568 annually). The minimum annual salary for the highly compensated employee exemption is increasing from the current $100,000 to $107,432. The exemption for certain computer employees remains $27.63 per hour if the employee is paid on an hourly basis. Read more ›

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Posted in Benefits, Labor & Employment

IRS Sets March 31, 2020 Deadline for 403(b) Plan Document Compliance

The United States Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) has released Revenue Procedure 2019-39, which sets forth a March 31, 2020 deadline by which tax-qualified 403(b) plans must have plan documents that fully comply with the 403(b) requirements.  A 403(b) plan is a tax-qualified defined contribution retirement plan that is similar to a 401(k) plan, but that is sponsored by a public school district or a tax-exempt entity.  Read more ›

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Posted in Labor & Employment, Tax

#No Filter: Terminating an Employee for Social Media Posts – Part 2

Prior to the advent of social media and especially the #MeToo movement, employers were generally comfortable drawing a bright line between what employees did on their own time and workplace misconduct. Those bygone times, however, have been replaced by a modern era wherein employers are forced to apply employment laws created before the personal computer to their workforce in an increasingly virtual world. In this installment of #No Filter, we will continue to explore sample cases involving an employer’s decision to take disciplinary action following an objectionable social media post. Read more ›

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Posted in Labor & Employment, Social Media

Texas’ Expansion of Medical Marijuana May Impact Employers

Texas has largely avoided the wave of marijuana legalization sweeping the country and the accompanying legal complications that have come along for the ride.  Those days may be numbered as the Texas Legislature recently passed a significant expansion of the state’s Compassionate Use Program. The program has been around since 2015 and allowed limited legal use of medical marijuana for certain epilepsy patients.  In the 2019 Legislature, however, the law was significantly expanded to include multiple sclerosis, other seizure disorders, autism, cancer and other incurable neurodegenerative diseases like ALS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and others. To qualify for legal cannabis, a patient must obtain a prescription from a qualified physician who is board-certified to treat the patient’s particular condition. The medical-grade cannabis products must contain low levels of THC and cannot be smoked.  The law substantially expanded the number of licensed dispensaries and the use of this largely ignored law is expected to increase in Texas. Read more ›

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Posted in Cannabis, Labor & Employment

Is It Illegal To Consider A Foreign Accent When Evaluating Candidates For a Customer-Service Job?

Yes, unless the candidate’s language skills would clearly interfere with their ability to do the job.

Amidst all of the current controversy concerning immigration in the United States, the experience of immigrants in the workplace is also receiving heightened attention. The truth is, immigrants, including those who have become U.S. citizens, often have different workplace experiences than native-born Americans.  One such difference has to do with accents and how they can affect perceptions of competence. Read more ›

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Posted in Discrimination

Don’t Say That! … Or Do? New Court Guidance on Employer Statements in Union Organizing Campaigns

Misconceptions Here, There and Everywhere.

I often advise employers large and small on what to do (and what not to do) during union organizing campaigns. I am continually surprised at how many employers have misconceptions about the do’s and don’ts when a campaign is underway. I can’t tell you how many times clients have told me they thought that, under the law, when a union is campaigning to represent workers, managers and supervisors must maintain strict silence and not say anything about the pros and cons of unionizing. This simply is not true. Federal labor law legally protects employers’ right to speak out: Section 8 (c) of the National Labor Relations Act allows employers to express “any views, argument or opinion” as long as they do not make threats or promise benefits. Read more ›

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Posted in Labor & Employment, Union

Dallas Paid Sick Leave Ordinance – What You Need to Know

Update:

On July 30, 2019, two Dallas-area businesses filed a federal lawsuit to stop the Dallas Paid Sick Leave ordinance from going into effect on August 1. The lawsuit, brought by the Texas Public Policy Foundation on behalf of ESI/Employee Solutions, LP and Hagan Law Group LLC, argues the ordinance oversteps and is contrary to the Texas Constitution and the state’s minimum wage act. The lawsuit specifically asks for an injunction to stop the ordinance from going into effect. However, unless and until the court enters a preliminary injunction, the ordinance is still set to go into effect on August 1. We are closely monitoring these developments, and will provide an update when we have additional information.

Meanwhile, the City of Dallas has now provided a FAQ page (link HERE), that provides useful information on geographic limitations of the ordinance as well as answers to important questions regarding practical application of the new rules, using hypothetical scenarios from different employment arrangements and industries.

For those interested in whether their business is subject to the new ordinance, here is a link  to a searchable map of the boundaries of the City of Dallas, broken into its various districts (note that the city boundaries do not necessarily correspond with Zip Codes, and do not include the municipalities of University Park, Highland Park, or Cockrell Hill).


The Dallas City Council recently joined several other major Texas cities in passing a mandatory paid sick leave ordinance. The new rules (found in Chapter 20 of the Dallas City Code, and summarized in this memorandum from the City) are set to go into effect on August 1, 2019, for employers with 6 or more employees, and on August 1, 2021, for those with 5 or fewer employees. Although Dallas employers are encouraged to closely review the new rules and format internal policies accordingly, here is what you need to know to start that process: Read more ›

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Posted in Labor & Employment, paid sick leave

What Does Your Minnesota Business Need to do to Comply with Minnesota’s new Wage Theft Law?

Starting today, Minnesota has one of the toughest wage theft laws in the country. The civil portions of Minnesota’s new Wage Theft Law, effective July 1, 2019, require employers to take the following additional actions:

Read more ›

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Posted in Labor & Employment, State and Local Laws

Connecticut Passes Legislation Enhancing Employer’s Obligations Regarding Sexual Harassment Training and Notification to Employees

Connecticut has joined the growing number of states passing or enhancing laws aimed to deter sexual harassment in the workplace. On June 18, 2019, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed into law a bill entitled “An Act Combatting Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment” which expands Connecticut’s current sexual harassment training and notification requirements for employers. Read more ›

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Posted in Labor & Employment, Sexual Harassment, State and Local Laws

Hurricane Season Preparation Guide for HR Managers

It’s hurricane season, and companies all along the Gulf should have a plan in place not only to address business continuity issues, but also the human resources and staffing questions that arise in the event of a natural disaster like a hurricane or flooding event. Our firm has prepared the attached employer guide addressing these practical questions for employers, including:

– Legal protections for employees who are absent due to a disaster or evacuation order;
– Payroll obligations for exempt or non-exempt employees who are absent because of a disaster;
– Practical impact of on-call time or employees volunteering to help during a disaster;
– Communication plan for coordinating reopening of operations in the aftermath of a disaster;
– Leave rights related to caring for family members during a weather event; and
– Checklist for preparing a disaster preparation plan for the HR Department.

The key to successfully handling a natural disaster as an organization is having a plan in place before the event occurs. If your company doesn’t have a plan, now is an excellent time to prepare one. If you have one already in place, the start of hurricane season is a great time to dust off the plan and update it.

 

 

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About HR Headaches
HR Headaches is a blog for Human Resources professionals, business owners, and in-house counsel to get the latest news, analysis and tips in the area of labor and employment law. Every day there are new court decisions, agency interpretations, and regulations which affect the workplace, making it difficult, if not impossible, for many employers to keep current. HR Headaches is dedicated to providing information in a practical, no-nonsense manner to help employers avoid legal disputes and keep policies up to date.
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