Oregon News & Analysis

  • Store managers exempt? Maybe, maybe not

    In the retail setting, a store manager is typically the person with overall responsibility for all personnel and customer service activities at the location. So if she's paid a salary, she likely would be exempt from overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), right? Well, it all depends, according to a recent unpublished decision of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Oregon employers).

  • Employee or independent contractor? Court disagrees with OED

    The Oregon Court of Appeals recently reversed the Oregon Employment Department's (OED) decision that workers who applied for unemployment benefits were employees. The court held that most of the workers were independent contractors.

  • 9th Circuit lets DOL shield informants in wage and hour case

    Normally appellate courts don't get involved in cases that are still pending in the trial court. But the 9th Circuit recently did just that when the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) sought to avoid revealing the identities of informants who had provided statements to support an overtime action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

  • 9th Circuit declines to review railroad station dispute

    Although the rail industry is heavily regulated, some matters are in the exclusive province of collective bargaining between railroad companies and the unions that represent their employees. That was the reasoning behind a recent decision from the 9th Circuit, which declined to review the refusal of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to hear a union challenge to a railroad's new station designation.

  • What do final ACA 'play or pay' regulations mean for employers?

    In yet another unexpected turn, the Obama administration recently released final regulations making further changes to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) employer responsibility section (also commonly referred to as the "play or pay" provision). Under this particular part of the ACA, employers with 50 or more employees face penalties if they don't offer health insurance coverage or if the coverage they offer is insufficient.

  • President orders revision of FLSA exemptions, expansion of overtime protection

    In February, President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order that will increase the minimum wage for federal contractors to $10.10 per hour. Though most employers weren't immediately affected by this change, the order lends momentum to a broader effort to increase the federal minimum wage for all workers and has already influenced equivalent legislative action in at least one state, Connecticut.

  • Agency Action

    Notices clarify eligibility for Health Insurance Marketplace. The Obama administration announced in May that it was proposing changes to model notices informing workers who are eligible for insurance coverage under COBRA. The changes make clear that eligible workers may have more affordable options through the Health Insurance Marketplace, which was created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Workers and their families who are eligible for employer- sponsored health insurance coverage generally must be informed of their right to COBRA continuation coverage at the start of employment and when they separate from a job. In most cases, workers and their families who are eligible for but not enrolled in COBRA continuation coverage would be able to enroll in marketplace coverage outside the normal open-enrollment period.

  • Workplace Trends

    Skills shortage blamed for sizable loss in manufacturers' earnings. The much discussed skills shortage is to blame for manufacturers losing up to 11% of their earnings annually because of increased production costs, according to a new study from Accenture and The Manufacturing Institute. Among other things, the report notes that when manufacturers are unable to fill roles, overtime, downtime, and cycle times increase, more materials are lost to scrap, and quality suffers. More than 70% of the 300 U.S. manufacturing executives surveyed reported at least a 5% increase in overtime costs, and 32% reported an increase of 10% or more. As manufacturers used overtime to maintain base production levels, 61% said their downtime increased by at least 5% because they lacked enough people to run and maintain the equipment.

  • Supreme Court addresses, upholds state bans on affirmative action

    In a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the court upheld a controversial ban on the use of affirmative action in public education, employment, and contracts in the state of Michigan. For details on the decision and whether it affects your business, read on.

  • Intermittent FMLA leave and doctor's notes — don't be unreasonable

    According to the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) does not allow employers to require a doctor's note for every absence once an employee submits a sufficient medical certification for intermittent FMLA leave. While employers can require recertification "on a reasonable basis," requiring a doctor's note for every absence is not permitted under the FMLA and its regulations.