NLRB Adopts Final Rule Amending Representation Case Procedures

The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) recently adopted a final rule amending its representation case procedures.  Upon the filing of a representation petition, the NLRB determines whether an election should be conducted to decide if the employees will be represented for collective bargaining purposes with their employer.  Effective April 14, 2015, the final rule will Continue reading

NLRB – Employees Have a Statutory Right to Use Employer Email for Section 7 Purposes

My daughter has a book called “Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse,” that stars a young mouse who gets a brand new purse, filled with coins, as a gift. She brings it to school and cannot stop talking about it, disrupting the classroom in the process. Her mean teacher, Mr. Slinger, takes the purse to prevent Lilly Continue reading

Wellness Programs Catch E.E.O.C.’s Attention

Employers who offer wellness programs to their employees should be aware that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission may challenge a program if it penalizes an employee for non-participation or requires an employee to provide confidential medical information. The E.E.O.C. has filed two lawsuits since August 2014 related to wellness programs. In one, the E.E.O.C. claims Continue reading

Independent Contractors Not Protected by ADA, ADEA, and FMLA

Larry Alexander v. Avera St. Luke’s Hospital, No. 13-2592 (8th Cir. 2014) The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently ruled that independent contractors are not protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), and the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). Instead, these statutes Continue reading

Small Estate Affidavit Allows Institutions to Transfer Property to Survivors With Ease

Financial institutions regularly confront questions on how to distribute property following the death of an account holder. A handy Iowa law creates a simplified procedure for property distribution where the decedent has a small estate. In short, the successor in interest to the decedent’s property may present a Small Estate Affidavit to the financial institution Continue reading

Facebook Posts Pose Challenges for Employers

Employers continue to face challenges from employees’ use of online forums to voice criticisms – even using vulgar language – as seen by a recent National Labor Relations Board decision. The owners of Triple Play Sports Bar terminated two employees for participating in a Facebook discussion with a former employee.  The discussion involved claims that Continue reading

Telecommuting as a Reasonable Accommodation

Employers may face a growing need to consider telecommuting as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to a recent federal court opinion. In E.E.O.C. v. Ford Motor Co., 752 F.3d 634 (6th 2014), the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals observed that communications technology has advanced to the point where it is Continue reading

Security Screens May Breed Insecurity

Employers who conduct employee security screens or are considering doing so should be aware of potential ramifications under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  The United States Supreme Court currently is reviewing whether time spent undergoing security screenings constitutes compensable hours worked.  If the answer is “yes,” employers who require their non-exempt employees to pass through Continue reading

U.S. Supreme Court Defines “Changing Clothes” Under FLSA

The United States Supreme Court recently ruled (Sandifer v. U.S. Steel Corp., No. 12-417 (US 2014)) that time spent donning (putting on) and doffing (taking off) protective gear fell within the meaning of “changing clothes” of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and was thus noncompensable time pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement.

Federal Estate Tax Filing Deadline Extension Provides Valuable Opportunity for Surviving Spouses – Full Article

The federal estate tax exemption amount establishes a maximum limit on the value of assets an individual can pass to non-spouse and non-charitable recipients without incurring federal estate tax liability.  Although the federal estate tax exemption amount has changed frequently over the years, one constant has been the rule that the federal estate tax exemption Continue reading