Regions

Employer ordered to pay $150k for lack of investigation into sexual assault

A steel product manufacturer has been ordered to pay its former employee $130,000 for pain and suffering caused by sexual harassment experienced in the course of her employment (jointly with the perpetrator of the harassment). In addition to this, the company is to pay $20,000 to the employee in the form of aggravated damages.

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Bipartisan Group of Six Senators Seeks GAO Review of Non-Competes

On March 7, 2019, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”), requesting that the agency perform a review of the effect of non-competition agreements “on workers and on the economy as a whole.” The six signatories to the letter were Chris Murphy (D-CT), Todd Young (R-IN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR). In particular, they asked the GAO to assess:

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Four new lawyers joined RSS in February

RSS fought the “February blahs” very aggressively by recruiting four lawyers, who will be joining the firm’s vitality:

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Migration services update

New Occupations List

On 11 March, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) released a new list of eligible occupations affecting Subclasses 482, 189, 190, 186, 187, 407 and 485.

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Compliance with the New Proposed DOL Salary Threshold May Create Challenges for Many Employers

As we wrote in this space just last week, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) has proposed a new salary threshold for most “white collar” exemptions.  The new rule would increase the minimum salary to $35,308 per year ($679 per week) – nearly the exact midpoint between the longtime $23,600 salary threshold and the $47,476 threshold that had been proposed by the Obama Administration.  The threshold for “highly compensated” employees would also increase — from $100,000 to $147,414 per year.

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Pennsylvania District Court Concludes Ex Parte Communications between Defense Counsel and Putative Class Members Are Improper

In putative class action lawsuits, it is not uncommon for counsel for the employer to interview putative class members about the claims in the lawsuit. A new decision from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has concluded that such communications could be improper, at least in that state.

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Foreign State tax surcharges on Australian property: what can you do about it?

Have you been assessed or think you might be assessed with a surcharge rate of duty or land tax as a foreign person?

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Even If “Secret,” Information Will Not Qualify As a “Trade Secret” Unless Adequate Measures Were Taken To Protect That Secrecy

A federal judge in Chicago recently taught a painful lesson to an Illinois employer: even if information is sufficiently sensitive and valuable that it could qualify as a “trade secret,” it won’t unless the owner of the information took adequate steps to protect its secrecy.

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Can Employers Now Thwart Forum Shopping by Plantiffs in FLSA Class & Collective Actions?

The U. S. Supreme Court established limitations on personal jurisdiction over non-resident corporate defendants in state court “mass” actions in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California, San Francisco Cty., 137 S. Ct 1773 (June 17, 2017) (hereafter “BMS”).  BMS’s key holding was that the necessary nexus between an appropriate court for a mass action and a corporate defendant required more than just the company’s connections in the state and the alleged similarity of claims by resident plaintiffs and non-resident plaintiffs.  The practical effect is to limit forum shopping by plaintiffs in large state mass or class actions and to require such suits be maintained only where a corporate defendant has significant contacts to support general jurisdiction.

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Supreme Court Re-Affirms the Inclusion of Allowances for Determining Provident Fund Contributions

The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India vide its judgment passed on February 28, 2019 in the case of The Regional Provident Fund Commissioner (II) West Bengal vs. Vivekananda Vidyamandir and Others (clubbed with certain other civil appeals) has re-affirmed the position concerning treatment of allowances for determining the provident fund contribution.

The common question of law which was raised by the appeals for determination by the Hon’ble Supreme Court was whether the special allowances paid by an establishment to its employees would fall within the ambit of the expression ‘basic wages’ under section 2(b)(ii) read with section 6 of the Employees’ Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 (“EPF Act”), for computation of deduction towards provident fund contribution.

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