Informed Employer: U.S. Department of Labor Issues New Guidance on Joint Employment Under the FLSA a Informed Employer: U.S. Department of Labor Issues New Guidance on Joint Employment Under the FLSA a

Informed Employer: U.S. Department of Labor Issues New Guidance on Joint Employment Under the FLSA and MSPA

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States Consider Allowing Employees to Opt Out of Workers' Comp
More states are considering giving employers the right to opt out of state workers' comp systems. As NPR and ProPublica have reported, many employers prefer this opt-out alternative to workers' comp, because the state systems, employers claim, result in expensive and long-lasting benefits, costly litigation, and delays in treatment of injured workers.
(Source: NPR, 2016-01-21) Read the full article
Obama Proposes Allowing Small Biz Pools to Form 401(k)s
President Barack Obama will propose allowing small businesses to more easily pool 401(k) plans, with the hope that more Americans will adopt a crucial tool to save for retirement. Obama also will propose making it easier for job-hopping workers to track multiple retirement accounts and combine them, and he'll ask Congress to provide $100 million to test new, more portable accounts.
(Source: Bloomberg, 2016-01-26) Read the full article
EEOC Seeking Input on Updated Workplace Retaliation Guidance
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is seeking public input on proposed enforcement guidance addressing retaliation and related issues under federal employment discrimination laws. The guidance covers topics including a definition of retaliation, best practices, training and remedies.
(Source: Insurance Journal, 2016-02-01) Read the full article
Employers Challenged by Workers' Prescription Opioid Abuse
Employers face many challenges in dealing with prescription drug abuse. According to one study, prescription opioid abuse alone cost employers more than $25 billion in 2007, while other studies show people with addictions are far more likely to be sick or absent, or to use workers' compensation benefits.
(Source: NPR, 2016-01-20) Read the full article
More Companies Requiring Workers to Enroll in Wellness Programs
Workers increasingly are being told by their companies to undergo health screenings and enroll in wellness programs, as a way to curb insurance costs. Many employees now face stiff financial penalties -- often in the form of higher premiums -- if they do not have their cholesterol checked or join programs to lose weight or better manage diabetes.
(Source: The New York Times, 2016-01-24) Read the full article
Lyft to Pay $12.25 Million for Classifying Drivers as Independent
Lyft has agreed to pay $12.25 million and offer new termination protections to settle a proposed class action lawsuit. The ride-hailing company's drivers will not, however, be classified as employees.
(Source:, 2016-01-27) Read the full article
Employers Teach Workers Skills to Fight Against Active Shooters
If gunfire erupted where you work, what would you do? It's a worst-case scenario more employers are urging workers to think about in the wake of recent mass shootings, and now an unusual training technique is being used to increase the odds of surviving the unthinkable.
(Source: NBC Los Angeles, 2016-01-28) Read the full article
Laid-Off Disney Workers Sue Over H-1B Visas
Two former Walt Disney World tech employees filed federal lawsuits against the company, accusing it and two outsourcing firms of conspiring to replace workers with less costly foreign ones using H-1B visas. The lawsuits were filed in federal court, in the Middle District of Florida, by Leo Perrero and Dena Moore, who were among 250 Disney tech workers laid off about a year ago. The lawsuits seek class-action status.
(Source: Orlando Sentinel, 2016-01-25) Read the full article
Employers Offer Programs to Help Workers Manage Stress
Employers are beginning to realize it's time they do something about employee stress. Enter resilience building and mindfulness training programs -- a hot benefit trend you may not have heard much about.
(Source:, 2016-02-01) Read the full article
U.S. Department of Labor Issues New Guidance on Joint Employment Under the FLSA and MSPA

Stephanie Kelly
Stephanie Kelly

Citing the nature of the evolving workplace and the expanded possibilities for joint employment of workers by two or more employers, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) joins the ranks of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”), by issuing new guidance on when businesses and organizations are considered joint employers.  In an “Administrator’s Interpretation” (“AI”) released on January 20, 2016, the Department’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) established new clarifying standards for determining joint employment under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (“MSPA”).   While it is still unknown how much weight will be afforded the AI, it is reasonable to view this new guidance as an expansion of joint employment that could result in more employers being held liable for unpaid wages, overtime pay, and other penalties under joint employment theories going forward.

Read the full article here.


EEOC Proposes to Add Compensation Data to EEO-1

Tami Earnhart
Tami Earnhart

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has proposed revisions to the EEO-1 report that would significantly increase the amount of data "large employers" (employers with 100 or more employees) will be required to provide in the future.  The EEO-1 is a report filed annually in September by most employers with 100 or more employees and by federal contractors with 50 or more employees.  The EEOC proposes that, in 2017, all filers with 100 employees or more will not only provide the currently-required data about their employees' ethnicity, race, and sex by job category, but also provide data on their employees' "W-2 earnings" and hours worked.  A copy of the proposed new EEO-1 can be found here.  According to the proposal, the EEOC (along with the Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs (OFCCP) – the agency that enforces the affirmative action requirements for federal contractors) plans to use the data collected to better assess complaints of discrimination, focus its investigations and identify employers with pay disparities that "warrant further examination."  The proposal, which is published in the Federal Register today (February 1), will be open for public comment until April 1, 2016.  Employers and employer organizations should review the proposal and consider submitting comments.  While the EEOC apparently believes the required data collection will be a small burden on employers, a close look at the proposal raises some logistical quandaries.  In addition, the likely value of the data collection is questionable, at best.

Read the full article here.


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