News & Analysis

Everybody talks about sex—but can employers be held liable?

Imagine this: Two individuals start a job at the same time. Quickly, management recognizes one employee's hard work and dedication and promotes her. In a short time, the employee ascending the corporate ladder becomes the superior of the employee with whom she had onboarded. The nonpromoted employee becomes jealous and resentful. To this employee, there must be some reason not based on merit why the other employee has advanced. Whether true or not, the nonpromoted employee starts spreading a rumor—the promoted employee "slept" her way to the top.

Supreme Court punts (into spring) on protections for LGBT workers

Since December 2018, we have been examining the state of the law concerning the scope of Title VII and its application to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. We have been following whether the U.S. Supreme Court will resolve the diverging opinions in the various federal courts of appeals on this important issue. It has been a few months since we last reported on the status of the issue. So, here goes.

Know the legal issues you face when employees work past 65

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), about one-third of Americans between the ages of 65 and 69 are still employed. That number has been steadily rising, and it's expected to reach 36 percent over the next five years.

Rising concerns about distracted drivers

In many industries, employees are required to drive their own or company-owned vehicles as part of their job duties. In light of the ubiquity of smartphones and the ingenuity that leads to the ability to multitask while driving, employees, employers, and lawmakers have grown more and more concerned about distracted drivers.

Walmart greeter fiasco provides important employment lessons

Have you ever walked into a Walmart and been greeted by an employee—frequently disabled or elderly—who seemed to have no responsibilities other than to welcome customers to the store? Did you ever wonder what the point of the position was or why a corporation the size of Walmart would pay so many people to do it?

Message from the editor

For almost the last two years, Washington has appeared obsessed about special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of President Donald Trump's purported ties to the Russians, yet during that time, the wheels of government have continued to grind. Thus, last month, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued new proposed overtime regulations that would raise the amount of wages an employer needs to pay to render an employee exempt from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Agency Action

DOL announces new compliance assistance tool. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in February announced the launch of an enhanced electronic version of the Handy Reference Guide to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The new online version of Wage and Hour Division (WHD) publications aims to assist employers and workers with a resource that provides basic WHD information as well as links to other resources. The WHD established the electronic guide as part of its efforts to modernize compliance assistance materials and provide accessible information to guide compliance. The tool offers a new design—reformatted for laptops, tablets, and other mobile devices—and provides additional resources and related information, including plain-language videos.

Workplace Trends

Most professionals negotiate salary offers, survey finds. Research from staffing firm Robert Half finds that 55% of professionals surveyed tried to negotiate a higher salary with their last employment offer, a 16-point jump from a similar survey released in 2018. Among workers in the 28 U.S. cities polled, Miami, San Diego, and San Francisco had the most respondents who asked for more pay, while Minneapolis, Philadelphia, and Cleveland had the fewest. A separate survey showed that 70% of senior managers said they expect some back-and-forth on salary. About six in 10 are more open to negotiating compensation than they were a year ago.

U.S. women's soccer team files class/collective action over unequal pay

We first covered the U.S. women's national soccer team's (WNT) Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) discrimination charge against the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) in our May 2016 newsletter (see "U.S. women's soccer team's EEOC charge spotlights wage discrimination issues" on page 5 of that issue). Nearly three years later—and appropriately on International Women's Day—28 WNT players have filed a proposed class and collective action lawsuit against the USSF for unequal pay.

OSHA reverses course on electronic reporting requirements

In what has become a familiar refrain for anyone paying attention, the Trump administration has once again pulled back employment-related regulations that had been established or expanded during the Obama administration. This time, the regulations at issue required establishments that are subject to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) record-keeping requirements to submit information about work-related injuries and illnesses to OSHA electronically. To understand the significance of the change, a quick review of the nature and history of the agency's reporting requirements may be helpful.