The new episode of Employment Law This Week offers a year-end roundup of the biggest employment, workforce, and management issues in 2016:

  • Impact of the Defend Trade Secrets Act
  • States Called to Ban Non-Compete Agreements
  • Paid Sick Leave Laws Expand
  • Transgender Employment Law
  • Uncertainty Over the DOL’s Overtime Rule and Salary Thresholds
  • NLRB Addresses Joint Employment
  • NLRB Rules on Union Organizing

Watch the episode below and read EBG’s Take 5 newsletter, “Top Five Employment, Labor & Workforce Management Issues of 2016.”

Our colleague Michael S. Kun, national Chairperson of the Wage and Hour practice group at Epstein Becker Green, has a post on the Wage & Hour Defense Blog that will be of interest to many of our readers in the retail industry: “Stop! Texas Federal Court Enjoins New FLSA Overtime Rules.”

Following is an excerpt:

The injunction could leave employers in a state of limbo for weeks, months and perhaps longer as injunctions often do not resolve cases and, instead, lead to lengthy appeals. Here, though, the injunction could spell the quick death to the new rules should the Department choose not to appeal the decision in light of the impending Donald Trump presidency. We will continue to monitor this matter as it develops.

To the extent that employers have not already increased exempt employees’ salaries or converted them to non-exempt positions, the injunction will at the very least allow employers to postpone those changes. And, depending on the final resolution of this issue, it is possible they may never need to implement them.

The last-minute injunction puts some employers in a difficult position, though — those that already implemented changes in anticipation of the new rules or that informed employees that they will receive salary increases or will be converted to non-exempt status effective December 1, 2016. …

Read the full post here.

Our colleague Jeffrey H. Ruzal, Senior Counsel at Epstein Becker Green, has a post on the Wage & Hour Defense Blog that will be of interest to many of our readers in the retail industry: “Decision Enjoining Federal Overtime Rule Changes Will Not Affect Proposed Increases Under New York State’s Overtime Laws.”

Following is an excerpt:

As we recently reported on our Wage & Hour Defense Blog, on November 22, 2016, a federal judge in the Eastern District of Texas issued a nationwide preliminary injunction enjoining the U.S. Department of Labor from implementing its new overtime exemption rule that would have more than doubled the current salary threshold for the executive, administrative, and professional exemptions and was scheduled to take effect on December 1, 2016. To the extent employers have not already increased exempt employees’ salaries or converted them to non-exempt positions, the injunction will, at the very least, appear to allow many employers to postpone those changes—but likely not in the case of employees who work in New York State.

On October 19, 2016, the New York State Department of Labor (“NYSDOL”) announced proposed amendments to the state’s minimum wage orders (“Proposed Amendments”) to increase the salary basis threshold for executive and administrative employees under the state’s wage and hour laws (New York does not impose a minimum salary threshold for exempt “professional” employees).  The current salary threshold for the administrative and executive exemptions under New York law is $675 per week ($35,100 annually) throughout the state.  The NYSDOL has proposed the following increases to New York’s salary threshold for the executive and administrative exemptions …

Read the full post here.

Employers Under the Microscope: Is Change on the Horizon?

When: Tuesday, October 18, 2016 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Where: New York Hilton Midtown, 1335 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019

Epstein Becker Green’s Annual Workforce Management Briefing will focus on the latest developments in labor and employment law, including:

  • Latest Developments from the NLRB
  • Attracting and Retaining a Diverse Workforce
  • ADA Website Compliance
  • Trade Secrets and Non-Competes
  • Managing and Administering Leave Policies
  • New Overtime Rules
  • Workplace Violence and Active-Shooter Situations
  • Recordings in the Workplace
  • Instilling Corporate Ethics

This year, we welcome Marc Freedman and Jim Plunkett from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Marc and Jim will speak at the first plenary session on the latest developments in Washington, D.C., that impact employers nationwide.

We are also excited to have Dr. David Weil, Administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, serve as the guest speaker at the second plenary session. David will discuss the areas on which the Wage and Hour Division is focusing, including the new overtime rules.

In addition to workshop sessions led by attorneys at Epstein Becker Green – including some contributors to this blog! – we are also looking forward to hearing from our keynote speaker, Former New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton.

View the full briefing agenda here.

Visit the briefing website for more information and to register, and contact Sylwia Faszczewska or Elizabeth Gannon with questions. Seating is limited.

Our colleagues Jeffrey Ruzal and Michael Kun at Epstein Becker Green have a post on the Wage & Hour Defense Blog that will be of interest to many of our readers in the retail industry: “DOL Final White Collar Exemption Rule to Take Effect on December 1, 2016.”

Following is an excerpt:

Nearly a year after the Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to address an increase in the minimum salary for white collar exemptions, the DOL has announced its final rule, to take effect on December 1, 2016. …

According to the DOL’s Fact Sheet, the final rule will also do the following:

  • The total annual compensation requirement for “highly compensated employees” subject to a minimal duties test will increase from the current level of $100,000 to $134,004, which represents the 90th percentile of full-time salaried workers nationally.
  • The salary threshold for the executive, administrative, professional, and highly compensated employee exemptions will automatically update every three years to “ensure that they continue to provide useful and effective tests for exemption.”
  • The salary basis test will be amended to allow employers to use non-discretionary bonuses and incentive payments, such as commissions, to satisfy up to 10 percent of the salary threshold.
  • The final rule does not in any way change the current duties tests. …

With the benefit of more than six months until the final rule takes effect, employers should not delay in auditing their workforces to identify any employees currently treated as exempt who will not meet the new salary threshold. For such persons, employers will need to determine whether to increase workers’ salaries or convert them to non-exempt.

Read the full post here.

Our colleague Michael Kun, attorney at Epstein Becker Green, has a post on the Wage & Hour Defense Blog that will be of interest to many of our readers in the retail industry: “Clarification of California’s Obscure ‘Suitable Seating’ Wage Rule Likely to Lead to More Employers Providing Seats – and to More Class Actions Against Those Who Don’t.”

Following is an excerpt:

The Court explained, “There is no principled reason for denying an employee a seat when he spends a substantial part of his workday at a single location performing tasks that could reasonably be done while seated, merely because his job duties include other tasks that must be done standing.”

The California Supreme Court’s opinion should help employers assess whether and when to make seating available to employees.  And employers should review their practices promptly to try to comply with the law.  Now that the California Supreme Court has provided some much needed guidance on the issue, employers can expect that their practices will be challenged, and those challenges will often come in the context of class action lawsuits.

Read the full post here.

Employment Law This Week – Epstein Becker Green’s new video program – has a story about an effort to unite retailers against a restrictive scheduling law in Washington, D.C.

The National Retail Federation issued a letter urging the city council in D.C. to abandon new scheduling legislation for retailers and restaurants. The proposed law would require businesses to post schedules three weeks in advance, with heavy penalties if they make any changes to the posted schedule. The NRF argues that this legislation removes the benefit of flexibility for employees, and that it places businesses at a competitive disadvantage against similar companies in surrounding states.

See below to view the story.

Employment Law This Week – a new video program from Epstein Becker Green – has a story this week about on-call shifts and the challenges they’re facing in court.

Both BCBG and Forever 21 have been hit with class-action wage theft suits over on-call scheduling. Many retailers are ending this practice, including Urban Outfitters, which was cited for possible violations of New York’s requirement to pay hourly staff for at least four hours when they report for work.

Click above or watch on YouTube or Vimeo – or download: MP4 or WMV.


Wage & Hour Guide for Employers AppWe’d like to share some news with retail employers: Epstein Becker Green has released a new version of its Wage & Hour Guide for Employers app, available without charge for Apple, Android, and BlackBerry devices.

Following is from our colleague Michael Kun, co-creator of the app and leader of our Wage and Hour group:

We have just updated the app, and the update is a significant one.

While the app originally included summaries of federal wage-hour laws and those for several states and the District of Columbia, the app now includes wage-hour summaries for all 50 states, as well as D.C. and Puerto Rico.

Now, more than ever, we can say that the app truly makes nationwide wage-hour information available in seconds. At a time when wage-hour litigation and agency investigations are at an all-time high, we believe the app offers an invaluable resource for employers, human resources personnel, and in-house counsel.

Key features of the updated app include:

  • New summaries of wage and hour laws and regulations are included, including 53 jurisdictions (federal, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico)
  • Available without charge for iPhoneiPad, Android, and BlackBerry devices
  • Direct feeds of EBG’s Wage & Hour Defense Blog and @ebglaw on Twitter
  • Easy sharing of content via email and social media
  • Rich media library of publications from EBG’s Wage and Hour practice
  • Expanded directory of EBG’s Wage and Hour attorneys

If you haven’t done so already, we hope you will download the free app soon.  To do so, you can use these links for iPhoneiPad, Android, and BlackBerry.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed two ordinances, known colloquially as the Retail Workers Bill of Rights, to regulate: (1) employee hours, scheduling, and retention; and (2) treatment of part-time employees at certain standardized retail establishments in San Francisco.  The ordinances, San_Franciscocodified as: Hours and Retention Protections for Formula Retail Employees Ordinance, San Francisco Police Code Article 33F, and Fair Scheduling and Treatment of Formula Retail Employees, San Francisco Police Code Article 33G, went into effect earlier this year.  Enforcement by the City of San Francisco’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (“OLSE”) began July 3, 2015. The new laws, as amended on July 7, 2015, apply to “Formula Retail Establishments” with at least 40 retail sales establishments worldwide and 20 or more employees in San Francisco. The term “Formula Retail Establishment” applies to retail sales or service establishments that maintain standardized physical features such as an array of merchandise, decor and color scheme, uniform apparel, signage, trademarks, etc.  Examples of such establishments include chain and big box stores, financial service businesses, movie theaters, and chain and fast food restaurants. Covered retail establishments must comply with the following requirements:

  1. Before hiring new employees, offer additional work hours (either in writing or by posting the offer in a conspicuous location) to qualified part-time employees who have performed similar work for the covered retail establishment, and afford those part-time employees 3 days to accept the offered hours;
  2. Provide new employees with a “good faith” written estimate of the number of scheduled shifts per month and the days and hours of those shifts;
  3. Provide employees with their work schedules 2 weeks in advance, and provide “predictability pay” if schedules change with less than seven days’ advance notice;
  4. Provide pay for on-call shifts when the employee is not called into work, subject to exceptions;
  5. Provide part-time employees with the same starting hourly wage, access to time off, and eligibility for promotions as full-time employees who perform at the same level; and
  6. Provide for continued employment of all employees for a period of 90 days if the covered retail establishment changes ownership, subject to certain conditions.

Employees covered by the ordinances include any person, including temporary and seasonal personnel, who in a particular week performs at least 2 hours of work for a covered retail establishment within the geographical boundaries of the City and County of San Francisco and who qualifies for state minimum wage, or is scheduled for an on-call shift of at least 2 hours, regardless of whether the person actually reports for the on-call shift.  Covered retail establishments must also maintain and retain records of scheduling (including schedule changes and notices) for at least 3 years.

Covered retail establishments must post a notice at the workplace to inform covered employees of their rights under the new laws.  The OLSE has published the required poster and guidance in the form of Frequently Asked Questions and a Fact Sheet.  The OLSE is to prepare new versions of the poster and guidance to incorporate the changes required by the July 7, 2015 amendment to the ordinances.

Janitorial and security contractors of covered retail establishments must also comply with the ordinances.  Covered retail establishments must provide their janitorial and security contractors with a copy of the ordinances and include a provision in all service contracts for janitorial or security services requiring the contractor to comply with the ordinances.

Covered retail establishments should review their scheduling, on-call, and hiring practices to ensure compliance with the new ordinances.  Document retention policies and service contracts should also be reviewed for compliance.