News & Analysis

Court wraps former teacher's knuckles over SLAPP suit

A former teacher with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and his wife sued LAUSD, alleging a variety of claims, the majority of which were related to the school district's internal investigation following complaints of child abuse against the teacher. The communications related to the investigation were deemed protected under the California anti-SLAPP statute. (SLAPP is an acronym for "strategic lawsuit against public participation." A SLAPP is a civil lawsuit aimed at preventing citizens from exercising their political or constitutional rights or punishing citizens who have exercised those rights.) On August 16, 2017, the California Court of Appeal for the 2nd Appellate District issued a decision that affirmed the trial court's decision dismissing the teacher's SLAPP suit.

Despite murky contract waters, Oakland employer finds a safe harbor

This case illustrates how you should present arbitration agreements to employees for their signature as well as the specific circumstances in which the courts may be more tolerant of the terms of arbitration agreements.

Exotic dance club makes one sidestep too many

An enforceable arbitration agreement can lead to a streamlined and more expeditious resolution of issues on an individual, rather than a classwide, basis. It's important for employers to know how to enforce a valid arbitration agreement and how to avoid losing your ability to enforce such an agreement. A recent case is a cautionary tale of an employer unintentionally waiving its right to compel arbitration against putative class members because of some perceived missteps in litigation strategy.

Don't get tripped up: Learn rules of the road on compensability of travel time

The law on whether the time nonexempt employees spend traveling is compensable is confusing and often trips up employers. This article is designed to explain the rules and provide guidance on how to pay for a nonexempt employee's travel time under federal law.

Sloppy benefits administration is a lawsuit waiting to happen

For many employers, benefits administration is something of a poor cousin to human resources. Often, the responsibility for managing benefits—especially health and welfare benefits—falls to a relatively inexperienced employee, frequently one in payroll who has no prior HR training or experience. And, very often, that person reports not to HR but to the CFO, COO, or a similar position.

Agency Action

DHS allowing additional visas for temporary workers. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced in July 2017 that U.S. businesses in danger of suffering irreparable harm because of a lack of available temporary nonagricultural workers will be able to hire up to 15,000 additional temporary nonagricultural workers under the H-2B program. To qualify for the additional visas, petitioners must attest, under penalty of perjury, that their business is likely to suffer irreparable harm if it cannot employ H-2B nonimmigrant workers during fiscal year 2017. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and then-Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly (who is now White House chief of staff) determined that there arent enough qualified and willing U.S. workers available to perform temporary nonagricultural labor to satisfy the needs of some American businesses.

Workplace Trends

Survey says most workers dont want employers to ask about salary history. A survey from Glassdoor finds that 53% of U.S. workers who are employed or unemployed but looking believe employers shouldnt ask candidates about their current or past salary history when negotiating a job offer. The online survey queried more than 1,300 U.S. adults. Sixty percent of working women and 48% of working men said they believe salary history questions shouldnt be asked. Some cities and states have passed laws banning employers from asking about salary history, and more are considering such laws as a way to discourage gender bias in compensation. While most workers dont want employers to ask about current or past pay, they do want more pay information up front from employers. Ninety-eight percent of the U.S. workers in the survey said they want to see pay ranges included in open job listings.

Wage and hour primer: tips for making legal payroll deductions

As evidenced by the increasing number of wage and hour lawsuits filed each year, Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) issues continue to be very much in the spotlight. Employers are continually getting into trouble for making improper deductions from employees' pay. Thus, this month, we provide you with a primer regarding the types of deductions that can legally be made from employees' pay.

The challenge of managing employees' social media use

Employees' social media use can undoubtedly be damaging to their employer, especially when workers publicly post embarrassing comments about the company, disparage competitors, unknowingly disclose or even purposefully attempt to steal confidential information, threaten or harass others, or engage in any undesirable conduct that affects the company's image and reputation. In addition, an employer may be liable under various laws for accessing certain information or taking adverse action based on information an employee discloses—as well as for failing to take action based on such information. The following article offers insight into the consequences surrounding employees' social media use.

Is your workplace a McGrew's Zoo? HR tips from Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss isn't a typical source of HR advice, but who would be a better teacher on the quirks of human behavior? In honor of the Great Seuss, we want to spend a little time reflecting on the workplace zoo. We know Dr. Seuss the environmentalist from The Lorax. We know Dr. Seuss the equal rights advocate from Horton Hears a Who. But what about Dr. Seuss the HR guru? The wondrous world of Dr. Seuss may seem like pure make-believe. But then again, maybe it's not. You can probably find many of Dr. Seuss's fantastical creatures right in your own workplace.