North America

California Puts a Foot On the Scale to Drive Unionization Higher: AB 1291 Mandates State-Sponsored Assistance in Organizing Cannabis Employees

As private sector unionization rates have continued to fall over recent decades, organized labor has increasingly turned to the state and local politicians it supports for assistance in the form of state legislation and local ordinances imposing burdens on employers and aid to unions, while depriving employees of the process and balance intended by the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”).  These often come in the form of “Labor Peace” requirements which mandate employers enter into agreements with unions that do not represent their employees as a condition of doing business with government entities or as a condition of entry into government controlled or regulated sectors.  The emerging legalization of marijuana and cannabis in California is one of the latest examples of this trend.

Read full article

10 cyber savvy holiday shopping tips

The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes a huge surge in cybercrime. Increasingly, hackers and cybercriminals are taking advantage of the increased volume of shopping this time of year to steal personal and financial information. In 2017, organizations reported a 57.5 % increase worldwide in attempted cyberattacks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day with spikes on Black Friday/Cyber Monday and a notable uptick in the days immediately following Christmas, according to Carbon Black’s 2018 Holiday Threat Report. This increased threat applies to both businesses and individuals.  Read more…

Read full article

NLRB: Employers May Restrict Employees’ Use of Email and Other IT Systems

Our colleague  .

Read full article

New Jersey Bans Discrimination Based on Hair

On December 19, 2019, New Jersey enacted legislation amending the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”) to add a definition for “Race” – which has always been a protected category under the NJLAD – and for the term “Protective hairstyle.”  The Amendment, referred to as the “CROWN Act” (short for “Create a Respectful and Open Workspace for Natural Hair Act”), amends the NJLAD to add the following to the statute’s list of definitions:

“Race” is inclusive of traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture, hair type, and protective hairstyles.

“Protective hair styles” includes, but is not limited to, such hairstyles as braids, locks, and twists.

Read full article

Puff, Puff, Passed: 2019 Marijuana Laws in Review and 2020 Projections

With 2019 nearly rolled up, it is time to exhale and recap the latest dose of marijuana laws affecting the workplace.  In the last twelve months, Illinois became the eleventh state to legalize recreational marijuana use by adult[1] and several other jurisdictions passed or modified their existing laws governing marijuana and the workplace.  Below is a summary of this year’s developments and some thoughts about what 2020 might bring.

Read full article

NLRB Reverses Position on Confidentiality Concerning Workplace Investigations – Holds That Confidentiality Requirements Are Presumptively Lawful

The National Labor Relations Board, in its December 17th decision in Apogee Retail LLC d/b/a Unique Thrift Store, has reversed its prior rule and held that employer requirements that employees treat workplace investigations as confidential are “presumptively lawful.”  The Apogee decision overturns the Board’s 2015 Banner Estrella decision, which had required that an employer seeking to impose confidentiality in connection with a workplace investigation was required to prove, on a case by case basis, that the integrity of an investigation would be compromised without confidentiality.

Read full article

California Freelance Writers and Photographers Challenge the Constitutionality of AB 5

We have written previously about California’s new statute, referred to as AB 5, which codifies and expands the “ABC test” for independent contractors set forth in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court.

A California ballot initiative that would remove ride-share and delivery drivers from application of the “ABC test” is already underway.

And the California Trucking Association has filed suit challenging the statute.

Read full article

Washington and Maine Approve Salary Increases for White Collar Exemptions in the New Year, with Colorado Poised to Follow Suit Continue Reading…

As previously discussed, the federal Department of Labor has begun the process of increasing the minimum salary threshold for employees that fall under the “white collar” exemptions. Joining Alaska, New York, and California, Washington State and Maine have now approved higher salary thresholds for employees that fall under the exemptions; Colorado is expected to follow in early 2020.

Read full article

Still time to defer taxes with a strategically designed retirement plan

As the end of the calendar year approaches, many of you are probably reviewing your financial results to see how things will turn out for you or your company this calendar tax year. Despite what many had been expecting, a lot of businesses are finding that they will have a good year. That is a good news/bad news situation. More profits, while desirable, means potentially more income taxes. Read more…

Read full article

Two Recent Efforts, from Different Political Directions, to Adapt the FLSA to the 21st Century

Over the past six months, Congress has made two notable attempts to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (the “FLSA”).  In July, U.S. Representative Elise Stefanik (R-NY) introduced The Modern Worker Empowerment Act (“MWEA”) with the stated aim of harmonizing the FLSA’s definition of employee with the common law.  And last month, Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced the Treating Workers with Dignity Act of 2019 (“TWDA”), which would amend the FLSA to require certain compensated breaks.

Read full article