Mississippi News & Analysis

  • 5th Circuit drills lower court's independent contractor ruling

    We've previously addressed employers' use of independent contractors and the risk that they may be deemed employees under various employment laws. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit (whose decisions apply to Mississippi employers) recently overturned a lower court's decision and found the workers at issue were in fact independent contractors rather than employees. The 5th Circuit's ruling was a big win for the employer because there must be an employment relationship before an employer is responsible for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Although the case involved independent contractors working in the oil and gas industry, the court's reasoning provides a helpful analysis for employers across many different businesses. Let's take a closer look.

  • Arbitration agreements take the wind out of collective action's sails

    The 5th Circuit recently held that notice of a collective action should not be sent to putative class members who have a valid arbitration agreement. In seeking to prevent employees from receiving such notice, employers must show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that a valid arbitration agreement exists. This ruling is considered a win for employers. Let's take a look at why.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • Caring for adult children isn't always covered under the FMLA

    Q One of our employees is caring for her daughter after she experienced complications from childbirth. Does providing care for a child older than 18 qualify for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?

  • 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.

  • Independent contractor or employee? A not-so-meaningless distinction

    It's no secret that the misclassification of employees as independent contractors is a hot topic that's being closely watched by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). As a result, courts have found themselves increasingly addressing the classification issue. Although it isn't binding on Mississippi employers, a recent federal case out of Texas offers persuasive guidance and a reminder of the factors that will be analyzed to determine whether a worker is properly classified as an independent contractor.

  • There's nothing regular about calculating an employee's 'regular rate of pay'

    In October, the Trump administration unveiled its Fall 2018 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions. The agenda emphasizes regulatory restraint and underscores the administration's commitment to a more business-friendly regulatory framework, noting that "in general, the [U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)] will work to assist employees and employers to meet their needs in a helpful manner, with a minimum of rulemaking." In line with that commitment is a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) indicating a forthcoming change to how employers should determine employees' "regular rate of pay" in order to calculate overtime.

  • 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.

  • Leave your personal business at the door

    Q We have received several complaints about two employees who are having a hard time keeping their personal lives out of the workplace. Their coworkers claim it is affecting their ability to concentrate and feel comfortable at work. One employee is going through a divorce and supposedly cries to his coworkers. The other is a recovering alcoholic who has frequent angry outbursts. How can we help the team but also help the two offenders?