MDCR Revises Michigan Law Prohibits Discrimination Posting – Update Necessary

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) has released a revised “Michigan Law Prohibits Discrimination” posting. The revised posting includes new text concerning individuals with disabilities. An individual with a disability needing accommodations must advise his or her employer in writing within 182 days of the need for accommodations. This new addition to the posting comes as a result of a court case decision made in the year 2000.

In July 2000, Michigan’s Court of Appeals held in case of Petzold v. Borman, Inc. that the plaintiff, Karl Petzold, was not entitled to accommodations in employment. The plaintiff suffered from Tourette Syndrome, which caused involuntary outburst of obscene words and racial epithets. He worked as a bagger at the defendant’s grocery store for approximately a year, during which he would loudly utter obscenities and racial slurs in the presence of customers. He was then terminated after an incident in May 1996.

read more

Clarity and Commas in Maine Overtime Exemption Law

While limited in its immediate applicability for most employers, a recent case considered by U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals provides an intriguing overview of both Maine employment law and English grammatical intricacies.

Maine’s overtime law requires employers to pay employees 1 and ½ times the employee’s regular hourly rate for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours. However, it does offer exemptions for workers in certain professions, such as automobile mechanics, as well as for some employees operating in the public sector. Relevant to this case, the overtime provision does not apply to:

read more

California Commissioned Sales Employees Get Rest Periods, Too

Many California employers are busy this month revising their compensation programs for their commissioned inside sales persons. That’s because a California Appellate Court has just determined that inside sales persons who are paid based purely on a draw from sales commissions are not being fairly compensated for their work. More specifically, the Court decided that commissioned employees must be paid a separate hourly wage for their non-selling work time. The Court’s decision means that California employers must decide whether to pay their commissioned employees a separate wage rate of at least minimum wage specifically for non-selling work activities, or pay them at least minimum wage for all hours worked, plus a commission on sales and any overtime.

read more

An Employee’s Duty of Loyalty to Employer

On March 7, 2017, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that trial courts can make discretionary rulings when establishing remedies. The plaintiff in Wall Systems Inc. v. William Pompa is a building contractor that filed a lawsuit against his employee, William Pompa. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant had breached the duty of loyalty by charging kickbacks to subcontractors and performing work on his own behalf during the plaintiff’s work day. The court awarded the plaintiff damages of $43,200, and as part of its remedy imposed a constructive trust on a bank account the defendant held with his wife.

read more

Fifth Circuit Embraces Supreme Court Ruling In Hostile Work Environment Case

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently reversed a lower court’s decision regarding applicable statutes of limitation on hostile work environment allegations, reminding employers (as well as judges for inferior courts) that some Title VII claims can have a long shelf life due to their status as “continuing violations” rather than discrete incidents. The decision is particularly notable because it serves as the first explicit acknowledgment by the Court that its earlier “continuing violation doctrine” test has been long overruled by a 2002 Supreme Court ruling.

read more

San Jose “Opportunity to Work Ordinance” Poster Released

Predictable incomes, stable work schedules

Today, providing employees with predictable incomes, stable work schedules, and the opportunity to work additional hours if available, is becoming a growing priority. Already, the City of San Francisco has an employees’ “Bill of Rights” law that ensures workers are given their work schedules in advance and have first access to additional work hours before new employees can be hired. On March 13, 2017, the City of San Jose, CA’s Opportunity to Work Ordinance will go into effect also requiring covered employers to offer any additional work hours to existing part-time employees before hiring any new workers. On July 1, 2017, similar laws will go into effect in Seattle, WA and Emeryville, CA.

read more

Canadian Provinces Increase Minimum Wage Rates

Five Canadian provinces will increase their minimum wage rates this spring. The minimum wage rate increases are based on annual changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CPI is an indicator of changes in consumer prices experienced by Canadians. It is obtained by comparing the cost of a fixed basket of goods and services purchased by consumers over time. The goal of basing the minimum wage rates on annual changes in the CPI is to ensure that future adjustments keep pace with increases in the cost of living.

read more

Court Holds Florida Whistleblower Act Applies Only If Whistle Correctly Blown

Under a new ruling, law-abiding private employers in the Sunshine State can now feel a bit more secure even when their employees don’t. In February of 2017, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida held in the case of Graddy v. Wal-Mart Stores East that the Florida Whistleblower Act (FWA), which prohibits retaliation against an employee if they refuse to participate in an activity or policy that violates a law or regulation, does not apply if the employee merely believes the activity is illegal.

read more

Los Angeles Criminal Background Check Rules & New Forms

Criminal History Assessment

Last January, employers in Los Angeles, CA, were required to post a new notice in the workplace informing employees of the City’s recent “ban the box” law. The “ban the box” law refers to the City’s Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring Ordinance which prohibits employers with 10 or more employees from asking job applicants about criminal convictions until after a conditional offer of employment is made. Once a conditional offer has been made, an employer is allowed to perform a criminal history check on the applicant and may rescind the offer based on that information. However, before an employer may rescind the offer on the basis of a criminal record, it must first:

read more

Missouri Supreme Court Validates St. Louis Minimum Wage Ordinance

St. Louis’ minimum wage earners will soon see an increase in their pay. Our readers may recall an earlier blog post that St. Louis adopted a minimum wage ordinance (No. 70078) in 2015 that would increase the city’s minimum wage rate in a series of installments beginning October 15, 2015 and ending on January 1, 2018, for employees working within the physical boundaries of St. Louis. However, a day before the law was scheduled to go into effect a trial court ordered the City not to implement the new minimum wage ordinance. The trial court invalidated the ordinance because it believed Missouri’s Minimum Wage Law prohibited the adoption of local ordinances supplementing any state law on a subject, including minimum wage ordinances.

read more