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Category Archives: In the News

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Landmen as Independent Contractors: Is the government’s voluntary settlement program too good to pass up?

Posted in Handbook Articles, In the News

The days of the lone landman driving around the back roads taking leases and visiting courthouses are becoming a thing of the past. Though there are still a few independent landmen who fit this mold, clients have demanded change and consolidation. Now there are brokerage firms and other combinations of landmen. It is not a… Continue Reading

New Overtime Regulations Frozen – to Death? What You Need to Know About the Overtime Rule Injunction Issued Nov. 22, 2016

Posted in In the News

On March 13, 2014, President Barack Obama issued a presidential memorandum directing the Secretary of Labor to “modernize and streamline the existing overtime regulations”.  The Department of Labor (DOL) took action and, in new rules set to become effective Dec. 1, 2016, raised the minimum salary threshold for exempt workers in many categories.  Since then,… Continue Reading

Federal Changes to Overtime Exemptions

Posted in In the News

For the last year, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has been working on proposed rule changes related to overtime exemptions. These changes are designed to substantially decrease the number of employees who are exempt from overtime. Today, the Department of Labor released the final rule changes. Employers are required to be compliant with these… Continue Reading

The $185 Million – Yes – $185,000,000 Single Employee Discrimination Case

Posted in In the News

On November 17, a federal jury returned a verdict against AutoZone in favor of a single plaintiff for the insane amount of $185,000,000.00 in punitive damages. The plaintiff alleged gender and pregnancy-related harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. On November 19, a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California upheld the… Continue Reading

Corporate Wellness Programs: It’s Time for a Check-Up

Posted in In the News

The EEOC is back at it! This time it has targeted corporate wellness programs and is challenging the legality of such programs under the ADA. The EEOC contends that the biometric testing and health risk assessments are “disability-related inquiries and medical examinations” that are not job-related and consistent with business necessity and, therefore, violate Title… Continue Reading

EEOC Trying to Change the “Status” for Transgendered Employees

Posted in In the News

On September 25, 2014, the EEOC filed lawsuits in Florida and Michigan accusing employers of discriminating against transgendered employees. These are the first two cases ever filed seeking to protect transgender workers under Title VII. In the Florida Case, EEOC v. Lakeland Eye Clinic,  the EEOC claims that Lakeland terminated an employee, Branson, in violation… Continue Reading

Preserve Your Right to a Payroll Tax Refund

Posted in In the News

A disagreement between two federal appeals courts regarding whether payroll taxes must be paid on severance payments made to laid-off workers has landed the issue in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. Oral arguments began January 14th, 2014.  How the Supreme Court decides the case, called United States v. Quality Stores, Inc., may result in… Continue Reading

EEOC Hit with Sanctions for Frivolous Claims

Posted in In the News

Last week the Associated Press reported that the EEOC was sanctioned by a US District Court judge for $4.7 million dollars.  The sanctions were awarded because the EEOC brought a number of frivolous and groundless claims against trucking company CRST. According to the opinion, the EEOC filed a lawsuit in 2007 against CRST alleging sexual harassment of a number of female employees.  In litigation over… Continue Reading

Equal Pay Act 50th Anniversary

Posted in In the News

Fifty years ago yesterday John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law.  Even with that much time to eradicate unfair pay between men and women, many still believe a gap exists.  Stories from the Huffington Post, the Washington Post, and NPR, all cite a 2010 Census Bureau Report that women earn just 77… Continue Reading

Governor Signs New Trade Secrets Law

Posted in In the News

On May 2, 2013, Governor Perry signed the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act into law.  So, let’s cut right to it.  What does it do different for employers?  The most notable feature is that the law allows the “prevailing party” to recover fees in certain circumstances. This is a nice feature.  Trade secret litigation is… Continue Reading

Update on the NLRB Poster Litigation

Posted in In the News

As Business Week reports this week, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia struck down the poster requirement created by the National Labor Relations Board.  For those who do not know or do not remember, in August 2011, the NLRB adopted a rule requiring private businesses to post a notice of the… Continue Reading

New I-9 Form Released

Posted in In the News

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) have released a new form I-9.  This is the first change in almost 25 years according to the Society for Human Resource Management.  The new form incorporates new fields and has been reformatted.  USCIS hopes this will reduce errors in completion. Employers may begin using the new form… Continue Reading

Will Texas Prohibit Employers from Asking for Social Media Passwords?

Posted in In the News

Please enjoy this guest post from Travis Crabtree, my colleague in Houston whose practice focuses on internet law.  Visit Travis’ blog at www.emedialaw.com Democratic Texas State Representative Helen Giddings filed a bill prohibiting employers in Texas from asking for social media passwords from applicants and current employees. Texas joins a long list of states that have… Continue Reading

Supplemental Unemployment Benefits May Not be Subject to Payroll Tax

Posted in In the News

Put this in the “boring, but important” category.  Last month the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals found that Supplemental Unemployment Benefits (or “SUB”) payments are not considered wages and thus not taxable to the employee or the employer for FICA. First, a little education.  What are SUB payments?  When an employer makes a reduction in… Continue Reading

Is Facebook Affecting Employee Productivity? (Programmer hires “Slapper” to Keep Focused)

Posted in In the News

Yesterday the Huffington Post reported an interesting story about how Maneesh Sethi used Craig’s List to employ a “slapper” to keep him from wasting time on Facebook when he should be working.  Digging deeper, I found Sethi’s own blog post on his website Hackthesystem.com where he described how he first came upon the idea.  Using an app… Continue Reading

Women Finally Allowed at Augusta National

Posted in In the News

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Augusta National Golf Club has admitted two women as members: financier Darla Moore and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. I don’t know much about golf, but I do know that Augusta National is  hallowed ground in the minds of most golfers.  As an employment lawyer, I also… Continue Reading

Drug Reps ARE Exempt from Overtime

Posted in In the News

Over the last several years virtually every drug company has been hit with a lawsuit about whether its drug representatives or “drug reps” are exempt from overtime.  In case you have missed them on TV or in the doctor’s offices, drug reps are the folks who visit your doctor hawking drugs from all of the… Continue Reading