Labor and Employment Law Update

Welcome to the Labor and Employment Law Update where attorneys from SmithAmundsen blog about management side labor and employment issues. We cover topics including addressing harassment and discrimination in the workplace, developing labor law, navigating through ADA(AA), FMLA and workers’ compensation issues, avoiding wage and hour landmines, key legislative, case law and regulatory changes and much more! Learn more about our firm at www.salawus.com.

  • Higher Salary Threshold for OT Exempt Employees… The annualized salary level for anyone classified as exempt from OT pursuant to the FLSA’s white-collar exemptions (executive, administrative, professional) must be no less than $43,888 ($844/week) by July 1, 2024 and must then be no less than $58,656 ($1,128/week) by January 1, 2025.  Automatic escalators are now built into establishing minimum salary thresholds to meet the OT exemption for white-collar salary exempt workers.
  • Continue Reading Three (3) Major L&E Developments Today — Impacting Virtually All
    Employers Throughout the U.S.

    In August 2023, the US Department of Labor (DOL) announced a proposed rule that became final last week, giving employees the ability to designate essentially any third-party as their “authorized representative” during OSHA workplace safety inspections — even union reps and community organizers. This rule goes into effect on May 31, 2024. 
    Continue Reading The US Department of Labor Significantly Expands Employee Rights to
    Designate Third-Party Representatives During OSHA Workplace Safety
    Inspections

    As legalization of cannabis has spread, profits have grown in the 25 states that allow for the retail sale of cannabis for recreational use, and labor unions have found great opportunity for getting a lift from the cannabis industry — no pun intended.  Eight of those 25 states have passed legislation that encourage or even require cannabis industry employers to enter into labor peace agreements (LPA), often referred to as “neutrality agreements,” with labor unions, as a condition of obtaining or renewing a cultivation or dispensary license.
    Continue Reading Green Growth and Labor Harmony: Navigating Labor Peace Agreements in the
    Booming Cannabis Industry

    The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a controversial rule change to its longstanding “joint employer rule” in October of 2023, which dramatically lowered the thresholds by which a company could be deemed jointly liable and responsible under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) for another company’s unfair labor practices or collective bargaining obligations. In effect, the new rule could make unrelated, separate companies jointly responsible for violations of another employer under the NLRA.
    Continue Reading NLRB’s 2023 “Joint Employment” Rule OVERTURNED by Federal District Court

    The Illinois’ Genetic Information Privacy Act (“GIPA”) has been Illinois law for over twenty years. Yet, only in the last year or two has there been an explosion of lawsuits being filed against companies in various industries, all alleging violations of the statute. 
    Continue Reading Illinois’ Genetic Information Privacy Act Litigation Trends and Why
    Employers Need to Pay Attention

    In a case filed in the Northern District of Illinois (Staffing Services Association of IL, et. al. vs. Jane Flanagan, Director of the IL Department of Labor), a federal district court granted plaintiffs’ request for injunctive relief thereby preventing the IL Department of Labor (IDOL) from enforcing a key provision contained in the 2023 amendments to the IL Day & Temporary Labor Services Act (IDTLSA). While the plaintiffs were not successful in their attempt to block other key sections of the amendments involving “notifying temporary workers of labor disputes” and “interested parties having standing to pursue private lawsuits on behalf
    Continue Reading Federal Court Blocks Key Portion of the IL Day & Temporary Labor ServicesAct

    Conscientious objection in health care is the refusal of a health care professional to provide or participate in the delivery of a legal, medically appropriate health care service to a patient because of personal beliefs.  Federal conscience rights are contained in various federal statutes and regulations — the Church Amendments, Section 45 of the Public Health Act, the Weldon Amendment, the Affordable Care Act and Medicare and Medicaid regulations – that collectively protect the right of health care providers to object to performing certain medical procedures if doing so would be contrary to the provider’s religious beliefs or moral convictions.
    Continue Reading Understanding the Impact of Federal Conscience Rights on Health Care
    Employers: Navigating Legal Protections and the 2023 Final Rule

    California’s equal pay data reporting law applies to private companies that have at least 100 employees nationwide on payroll and at least one California employee. The reporting deadline for the 2023 reporting year is May 8, 2024.
    Continue Reading Employers with Employees Working in California It’s Time to Report your Pay
    Data – California Releases Updated Guidance on Pay Data Reporting for 2024

    On Friday, February 9, 2024, Illinois’ General Assembly introduced legislation to eliminate the tip credit in Illinois by January 1, 2025. If passed, ALL Illinois employers will be required to pay ALL their employees at least the applicable minimum wage, including employees who earn or receive tips and gratuities. This would mean that Illinois employers would no longer be able to credit the tips and gratuities their tipped employees receive towards paying them minimum wage starting on January 1, 2025. 
    Continue Reading Illinois’ Legislature Seeking to Eliminate Illinois’ Statewide Tip Credit
    by January 1, 2025

    On January 18, 2024, the City of Chicago Office of Labor Standards (OLS) issued proposed rules, FAQs, and a Flyer for its New Paid Leave and Paid Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance (Ordinance) effective July 1, 2024. 
    Continue Reading Chicago Issues Proposed Rules for New Paid Leave Ordinance Effective July
    1, 2024 and Updates Current Minimum Wage and Wage Theft Rules

    California Assembly Bill 1076, passed last fall, added a new Business & Professions Code §16600.1. By February 14, 2024, California employers must notify in writing current and certain former employees that any noncompete agreement or clause to which they may be subject is void (unless it falls within one of the limited statutory exceptions). It also applies to customer non-solicitation requirements.
    Continue Reading California's New Noncompete Notice Requirement

    For H-1B visa holders, the logistics of traveling home for a wedding can be almost as challenging to plan as the wedding. A man who traveled to India for a wedding had to remain there for weeks to get a visa to return to the US. He had to apply for the visa in India, have an interview, and then wait 3 weeks for the consulate to vet his application and return the passport with the visa foil. The waiting time caused him to postpone a major business deal. Consulate and embassy waiting times have ballooned to eight, nine, or
    Continue Reading H-1B Travelers to Save Time, Money, and Heartache with Stateside Visa
    Renewal Pilot Program, Starting January 29

    Employers in each of the below states must be aware of new posters and ensure they are displayed in the workplace — including, to the extent applicable, remote workplaces. Links to posters are provided below. Alaska

    Arizona

    Flagstaff, Arizona

    Arkansas

    California

    Continue Reading Updated State and Local Employment Posters and Notices for 2024

    2023 is now “in the books” and organized labor is likely seething at seeing their numbers drop — once again. Despite the media headlines in 2023 about union organizing drives, strikes and “wins” at the negotiating table for a few notable companies, workers represented by a labor union dropped to an all-time low for the second straight year.

    On January 23, 2024, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released figures showing that the percentage of workers who were part of a labor union, dropped to a new low of 10% in 2023 (down from the previous record low of
    Continue Reading Another Year, Another Kerplunk! Union Membership Rates Drops to an ALL TIMELow (Again)