News & Analysis

Protect your lettuce: trade secrets in the agricultural industry

The following case illustrates the necessity of protecting trade secrets. Regardless of the industry, competition is almost always fierce, and there will be individuals who are willing to skirt the law to gain an advantage. It's vitally important that companies with trade secrets or other highly confidential information use well-drafted confidentiality and nondisclosure agreements and take all necessary and appropriate measures to protect their trade secrets.

Avoid holiday heartburn: 10 time-tested ideas for safely celebrating the season

Tis the season to be jolly. Time to light the candles, deck the halls, and ring in the new year. During the holiday season, many companies celebrate with a party ― an event that is fun and festive where employees, and maybe their guests, can let their hair down and have a good time. Eat, drink, and be merry. What could go wrong?

Yet more new laws affecting California employers

California is prolific in passing new laws that affect employers and their workplaces, and this year was no different. We have already written about many important new laws, ranging from the definition of independent contractors to a 300% increase in the statute of limitations for discrimination and harassment cases. But there are many more that may affect policies and practices in your workplace.

Employer successfully defends against sexual harassment claim

This case demonstrates that even in the #MeToo era, courts are willing to dismiss sexual harassment claims when an employee is unable to demonstrate the alleged conduct was sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a hostile work environment.

Winter is coming: FLSA and your pay obligations during inclement weather

During the winter months, the threat of the weather turning frightful is on everyone's mind. No matter what business you may be in, inclement weather and treacherous road conditions can cause many headaches ― including issues with employee payroll. Many employers grapple with the question of how to pay employees when the business is closed because of bad weather and whether deductions from pay for closures are allowed. Let's explore what the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires of employers when Mother Nature wreaks havoc.

Looking back at 2019 and to what's ahead for federal agencies in 2020

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), and the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) all ramped up their enforcement endeavors in 2019. The NLRB has refocused its efforts on unionized businesses, the new EEOC chair is pushing to settle old cases, the OFCCP director is aiming to end the year with the largest settlement total in the agency's history by resolving or litigating old audits, and the WHD has filed a record number of enforcement cases against employers.

Agency Action

NLRB reports progress in case processing. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has reported improved case processing statistics for fiscal year (FY) 2019. The NLRB issued 303 decisions in contested cases during FY 2019. Adopting a case processing pilot program, the Board focused on issuing decisions in some of the oldest cases. As a result, the median age of all cases pending before the Board was reduced from 233 days in FY 2018 to 157 days at the end of FY 2019. The NLRB also said it reduced the number of cases pending before it to its lowest level since 2012. As of the end of FY 2019, the number of pending cases was reduced from 281 at the end of FY 2018 to 227 when the report was released on October 7. Also, the NLRB regional offices made strides toward meeting the Board's strategic goal to reduce case processing time by 20 percent over four years. In just one year, the regions overall nearly met the four-year goal by reducing the time of filing to disposition of unfair labor practice cases from 90 to 74 days, a decrease of 17.5 percent.

Workplace Trends

Research finds HR leaders predicting huge change. A new study has found that 82% of HR leaders expect their role to be unrecognizable in 10 years, thanks in large part to the transformation from HR to a "people" function and the adoption of technology. The report from cloud business management firm Sage also found that 43% of HR leaders surveyed believe their organization won't keep up with related changes in technology in the next 10 years. Key findings show that 24% of those surveyed use artificial intelligence for recruitment, and 56% plan to adopt it within the next year; 42% say HR/people decisions are data-driven, and 51% are planning to access data in real time within the next year; 57% say they can't invest in new technology because of resourcing restrictions; and just 25% rate their team as being experts with HR technology.

Winter is coming: FLSA and your pay obligations during inclement weather

During the winter months, the threat of the weather turning frightful is on everyone's mind. No matter what business you may be in, inclement weather and treacherous road conditions can cause many headaches ― including issues with employee payroll. Many employers grapple with the question of how to pay employees when the business is closed because of bad weather and whether deductions from pay for closures are allowed. Let's explore what the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires of employers when Mother Nature wreaks havoc.

Looking back at 2019 and to what's ahead for federal agencies in 2020

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), and the Department of Labor's (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) all ramped up their enforcement endeavors in 2019. The NLRB has refocused its efforts on unionized businesses, the new EEOC chair is pushing to settle old cases, the OFCCP director is aiming to end the year with the largest settlement total in the agency's history by resolving or litigating old audits, and the WHD has filed a record number of enforcement cases against employers.