Florida News & Analysis

  • Common sense prevails in NLRB's new guidance on handbook policies

    On June 6, 2018, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel (GC) Peter Robb issued a 20-page memorandum (GC Memo 18-04) instructing the Board's regional offices on how to analyze unfair labor practice charges involving employer handbook policies and work rules. Although it's intended for NLRB regional offices, the memorandum provides a useful blueprint for drafting employee handbook policies. It also sets out a more commonsense approach for analyzing the lawfulness of handbook rules under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NRLA). Section 7 gives nonsupervisory employees the right to join, form, or assist unions and engage in other concerted activity for mutual aid or protection.

  • 3-step analysis for deciding if reason for striking potential jurors is discriminatory

    A recent decision by the Florida 5th District Court of Appeals (DCA) dealt with one of the many variables that can determine the outcome of an employee's lawsuit against your company: jury selection. In Florida civil cases, a large pool of potential jurors is called to jury duty. On the morning of the trial, members of the pool are selected at random to sit on the jury that will hear the case. However, your lawyer's right to question prospective jurors to determine if they are biased is very limited in federal court, where the judge handles most of the questioning. State court judges usually allow more leeway and may give your lawyer an hour or more to ask questions of potential jurors.

  • Appeals court reinstates Florida lawsuit over website accessibility

    The federal appeals court over Florida has reinstated a lawsuit against Hooters by a person who claimed the company's website wasn't accessible to the blind. This is yet another case involving claims filed under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

  • WHD issues more opinion letters

    In a follow-up to its recent reissuance of 17 opinion letters that had been issued (by the Bush administration) and withdrawn (by the Obama administration) in early 2009, the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has already issued two more opinion letters. As you may recall, the agency had stopped providing such letters during the Obama administration, but the Trump DOL has revived the practice.

  • A return-to-work FMLA refresher

    In my opinion, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) remains one of the most (if not the most) difficult employment laws to administer. The federal regulations are lengthy and detail-oriented, setting forth various compliance deadlines, rules, and (of course) exceptions.

  • New tax credit rewards companies that offer paid FMLA leave

    Employers that offer paid family and medical leave may get an unexpected tax benefit next year at tax time. The tax reform law that passed earlier this year contains a little-noticed tax credit for employers that provide qualifying types of paid leave to their fulland part-time employees. The credit is available to any employer, regardless of size, if:

  • Epic decision: SCOTUS OK's class waivers in arbitration agreements

    In a landmark decision issued on May 21, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that class or collective action waivers in mandatory arbitration agreements are valid and enforceable. In short, that means you can limit your exposure by requiring employees to arbitrate employment disputes in one-on-one arbitration proceedings rather than as a class or collective action.

  • Can't blow the whistle on just anything: Court offers guidance on protected activity in Florida

    In past issues of Florida Employment Law Letter, we have reported on the different laws that protect whistleblowers in the state of Florida. There's a law that protects public-sector employees from retaliation for blowing the whistle on illegal activity by their employer and a law that's specific to private-sector employees.

  • If a picture paints a thousand words, what's wrong with emojis?

    What do a pair of scissors and an eggplant have in common? At first glance, the answer would appear to be "nothing." But what if I told you that in combination, they can constitute a threat of bodily harm?

  • Handling sexual orientation discrimination in confusing legal landscape

    In 1998, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized that sexual harassment could be perpetrated by a man against another man or a woman against another woman. When that decision was issued, many commentators pondered whether discriminating against or harassing someone because of her sexual orientation also violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Who would have thought that 20 years later, there still wouldn't be a clear answer to that question?