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As employment law constantly changes, the attorneys at Bean, Kinney & Korman stay up to date on the law as it develops. Our blog topics focus on those changes and what you need to know about them, ranging from severance agreements and the FLSA to social media in the workplace and recent court decisions. If you are interested in having us cover a specific topic, please let us know.

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Posts tagged employee.
DOL Final Rule: Employers Can Pay Bonuses and Premium Pay Under FLSA Fluctuating Workweek Compensation

On May 20, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a new final rule clarifying that employers are permitted to pay bonuses or other incentive-based pay to salaried, nonexempt employees whose hours vary from week to week. Such bonus or premium pay, on top of the fixed salary paid to an employee, are compatible with the use of the so-called “fluctuating workweek” method of compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The DOL issued the final rule to highlight the flexibility that employers have to provide bonuses or other forms of additional compensation under the fluctuating work method of compensation and to clear up the differing judicial opinions that have resulted from the DOL’s past guidance. 

Government Enacts Stimulus Package with Extensive Benefits for Employers and Employees

On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which is the third major piece of legislation to address the coronavirus crisis. The unprecedented $2 trillion relief bill provides, among other things, stimulus payments to individuals, expanded unemployment insurance, student loan and retirement account rule changes, and massive loans for businesses (some of which are forgivable). 

COVID-19 FAQS for Employers

As most everyone in the world by now is aware, the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is sweeping the United States and rocking the economy. The federal government and nearly all 50 states have declared states of emergency. Many schools and businesses are closed or operating remotely. The pandemic creates unique issues for employers and employees alike. The following FAQs focus on the legal obligations of employers related to COVID-19.

What to Consider When Engaging Foreign Independent Contractors

In today’s global economy, it has become increasingly common for companies based in the United States to engage workers who live abroad for various purposes. U.S. companies often classify these workers as “independent contractors” to avoid having to navigate the employment landscape in other countries. However, U.S. companies should be aware of the potential pitfalls of misclassifying foreign workers, particularly in countries where employment laws tend to be more employee-friendly than U.S. law. Employers should consider the following factors when engaging foreign independent contractors to work abroad.

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As a follow up to my most recent post about the media coverage of the emerging trend of employers asking or requiring job applicants and/or current employees to provide their Facebook or other social media passwords, Maryland just passed legislation on Wednesday that bans employers from asking applicants and employees for their personal online passwords.

Maryland is the first state to enact legislation on this issue.  But other states are considering similar legislation, including California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, South Carolina and Washington. Even Congress is considering a federal law that would protect applicants' and employees' privacy in their personal online passwords.  Virginia and DC have not yet addressed the issue.

GavelIn our last two posts, we discussed terminating an employee and the importance of documentation. Earlier this week, in an opinion issued by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, Employers were provided with another example of why documentation is so important in the employer/employee relationship.  

The Case

The facts of the case are fairly straightforward: (1) Employee was terminated due to poor performance; (2) At the time she was terminated she was also pregnant; (3) Employee filed a lawsuit claiming pregnancy discrimination under Title VII. 

Stick figure pink slip (00092262).JPGThis is part II of my post from Friday.  The following procedures provide a basic template that you can tweak to fit your company.

Step One—Verbal Warning.  Have the employee’s supervisor discuss with the employee the problem that has occurred and the corrective measures that need to be taken. Have another manager sit in on the meeting. Make notes to the file documenting the meeting and problems and have both managers date and sign the entry.

Step Two—Written Warning. Have the employee’s supervisor draft a written warning that states the nature of the violation and the plan for correcting the behavior.  Have the supervisor discuss with the employee the problem that has occurred and the corrective measures that need to be taken. An additional step that might be appropriate is putting the employee on a probationary period. Have another manager sit in on the meeting. Make additional notes to the file documenting the meeting and problems and have both managers date and sign the entry.  Also have the employee date and sign the written warning.

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Do you have an employee whose performance isn't cutting it? If so, you will want to read this two part series on considerations and steps to take before terminating an employee.

Many employers terminate employees without following some basic procedures that take little effort on the part of the employer but can prevent major headaches later.   Following these rules prior to termination can help employers avoid problems post-employment and can provide a full defense to an employee’s claim of wrongful termination.

If you have an employment agreement with the employee, you will need to follow the provisions governing that agreement.  However, the majority of employees are employees at-will and therefore the following steps and procedures are highly recommended for employers.

Payroll Debit Card

In recent years, an increasing number of employers have begun using Payroll Debit Cards to pay employees who are unable or unwilling to sign up for direct deposit.  Payroll Debit Cards or “Paycards” are similar to reloadable credit cards and gift cards.  Instead of receiving paychecks, the employee receives the card which resembles a standard credit/debit card.  Employees are then able to use the card as a standard debit card to withdraw cash, transfer funds and to make purchases.

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The Pregnancy Discrimination Act requires that employers treat pregnant employees the same as non-pregnant employees who suffer from some injury or sickness that occurred outside of work. 

In our last post, we reviewed the D.C. Fire Department’s change to their pregnancy policy.  In this post we take a look at what the Pregnancy Discrimination Act requires. 

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act:  A Brief History

In 1976, the U.S. Supreme Court found that under Title VII, discrimination based on pregnancy was not sex discrimination.  Unhappy with this interpretation, Congress passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) which became law in 1978.  The PDA amended Title VII and specified that sex discrimination does include discrimination on the basis of pregnancy.