Indiana News & Analysis

  • NLRB revises approach to employee/ independent contractor question

    Earlier this year, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) released a decision that changes the way the agency differentiates between employees and independent contractors. Employers can expect the Board to be more likely to find an independent contractor relationship going forward.

  • Supervisor's racial actions don't need to be 'hellish' to qualify as hostile

    A supervisor's use of racial epithets and harassing behavior may create a racially hostile work environment even when a coworker's actions would not. A recent case from the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals (which has jurisdiction over Indiana employers) explains why the threshold for a hostile work environment is lower when a supervisor is the harasser.

  • 7th Circuit highlights key factors in age discrimination claims

    Age discrimination can be a difficult topic, and employers and employees often have trouble determining when an individual is protected or what types of actions are prohibited. A case before the 7th Circuit late last year provides some guidance about how to approach age discrimination claims and what you can consider when making hiring decisions.

  • DOL says FMLA leave mandatory for employees and employers

    After more than 25 years, you might think questions regarding proper interpretation of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) would be settled. It's a highly regulated law, and it provides employers far more detail and clarity than they get with most other labor and employment laws.

  • Tips to ensure you are prepared for a deposition

    For an HR professional, giving a deposition is a lot like visiting the dentist. You know it's necessary, but you probably aren't looking forward to it. You may be asked questions you don't want to answer (like how often you actually floss). And finally, consistently responsible practices should reduce your stress levels about the event, make it go a lot smoother, and prevent worse problems in the future.

  • Agency Action

    NLRB chair claims joint-employment comment review not outsourced. Responding to concerns from congressional Democrats, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Chair John F. Ring says his agency is not outsourcing the review of public comments on the joint-employer standard. In March, Ring wrote a letter to Bobby Scott, chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor, and Frederica S. Wilson, chair of the House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor & Pensions, saying the Board has not outsourced the substantive review of comments on its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on what constitutes joint employment. Instead, he said the NLRB decided "to engage temporary support on a limited, short-term basis to perform the initial sorting and coding of the public comments." He said the process ensures confidentiality protections are in place, and the Board's professionals will perform the first substantive review of the comments.

  • Union Activity

    AFL-CIO calls proposed overtime rule a setback for working people. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka spoke out in March against the Trump administration's proposed rule to set a new salary threshold for employees eligible for overtime pay. The administration's proposed rule would require that employees make at least $35,308 a year to be exempt from overtime eligibility under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Exempt workers also must perform work that is executive, administrative, or professional in nature. The Obama administration had proposed a rule setting the threshold at $47,476 a year, but the proposal was struck down by a federal judge. "Lowering the threshold ignores the economic hardships faced by millions of working families," Trumka said. "This disappointing announcement is part of a growing list of policies from the Trump administration aimed at undermining the economic stability of America's working people."

  • 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.

  • 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.