Delaware News & Analysis

  • Are my independent contractors employees? Law continues to evolve

    In the past several years, we have seen government agencies and courts continue to address (and in many cases struggle with) the question of who is an independent contractor versus who is an employee. This determination is important because improperly classifying an employee as an independent contractor can expose the organization to tax liability, wage and benefit claims, and significant penalties.

  • Boo hoo: An increasing number of employees are ghosting their employers

    Last month, we explored some tips for how to handle a disturbing trend in employment—"ghosting," a term for when employees or applicants stop showing up or responding to attempts to contact them (see "Do you have a ghost of a chance against ghosting?" on page 7 of our February 2019 issue). This month, we'll take a closer look at the trend and its causes, as well as its implications under Delaware state law.

  • A treatment plan for negative online employee reviews

    The Wall Street Journal recently reported on its discovery that, after analyzing millions of online reviews of various companies by their current and former employees, it appeared that more than 400 employers might be gaming the system. Each of the companies experienced unusually large single-month increases in the number of reviews posted by their employees to the jobs website Glassdoor. The surges tended to be disproportionately positive not only for the months in which they occurred but also by comparison to the surrounding months. The clear implication was that someone in a position of authority at the companies had spearheaded a campaign to get employees to post positive reviews to the site in an effort to counteract the overwhelmingly negative ones already posted.

  • 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.

  • Why employee engagement must be a priority, not an option

    When it comes to your workplace, do you know how many members of your team are truly engaged? On average, U.S. companies have an engagement level of 32%. Basically, one out of three of your team members is engaged. Studies suggest that disengaged employees cost the U.S. economy between $400 billion and $600 billion a year!

  • Agency Action

    NLRB chair responds to lawmakers on joint-employer rule. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Chair John F. Ring in January responded to a letter from members of Congress urging the Board to withdraw its notice of proposed rulemaking aimed at setting a standard for what constitutes a joint-employer relationship. Representative Bobby Scott (D-Virginia), chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor, and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut), chair of one of the committee's subcommittees, had urged the NLRB to abide by the joint-employer standard set out in the Browning-Ferris decision, a more employee-friendly standard than the one in the proposed rule. But Ring countered that the Browning-Ferris decision "leaves much unresolved." He also cited the "lack of clarity" as a reason the NLRB initiated rulemaking to set a joint-employment standard. He noted in his January 17 letter to Scott and DeLauro the "significant interest" in a joint-employment standard as well as a "wide range of views," as evidenced by the more than 26,000 individual

  • Workplace Trends

    Report notes big rise in diversity of Fortune 500 boards. A multiyear study of Fortune 500 companies has found big gains in diversity on company boards. The study, titled "Missing Pieces Report: The 2018 Board Diversity Census of Women and Minorities on Fortune 500 Boards," from the Alliance for Board Diversity, in collaboration with Deloitte, says that the number of Fortune 500 companies with better than 40% diversity has more than doubled from 69 to 145 since 2012. Representation of women and minorities on Fortune 500 boards reached an all-time high at 34%, compared to 30.8% in 2016. Total minority representation increased to 16.1% from 12.8% in 2010, the first year Fortune 500 data was captured. The report's findings point to the increase being driven by Fortune 100 companies, which have 25% women and 38.6% women and minorities. Fortune 500 companies lag behind, with 22.5% women and 34% women and minorities.

  • Have you read your social media policy lately? Much has changed

    When is the last time you updated your social media policy? Does it still reference older social media sites like Bebo, MySpace, Digg, or about.me? Since our last article on this topic several years ago, technology has undergone significant changes. You likely drafted many of your policies before the likes of Instagram and Snapchat even existed. In short, much has changed in the past few years, and it's probably time you revisited your policies.

  • Delaware decision expands workplace protections for medical marijuana users

    State laws legalizing the use of marijuana—whether for medical or recreational use—have been a fast-moving target over the last several years. Currently, marijuana is still illegal for both medical and recreational purposes in only 16 states. And out of those 16, most allow products that contain small amounts of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. The point is that nearly every employer in the country may soon be faced with the question of how to discipline an employee who used pot or consumed marijuana-related products in a state where it's legal to do so.

  • Now's the time to consider marijuana policy

    State laws legalizing the use of marijuana—whether for medical or recreational use—have been a fast-moving target over the last several years. Currently, there are only 16 states in which marijuana is still illegal for both medical and recreational purposes. And out of those 16, most allow products that contain small amounts of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.