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By Amy Blaisdell, Lauren Daming on July 15, 2015 at 6:00 PM

Contractors DatabaseThe U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on Wednesday aimed to clarify the test it uses to determine whether workers are classified as employees or independent contractors for purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

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By Amy Blaisdell, Audrie Howard on June 30, 2015 at 4:36 PM

Employers called to submit comments in next 60 days

Time - money. Business concept.After months of internal debates and conferences, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released the long-anticipated proposed overtime rule today. If implemented, the proposed rule will significantly expand overtime pay for Americans under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

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By Amy Blaisdell, Lauren Daming, T. Christopher Bailey on March 26, 2015 at 10:43 AM

5388576411_700edd78b2By a 6-3 majority, the Supreme Court created a potentially new standard by which employers’ accommodations given or denied to pregnant women will be judged under the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”).

In Young v. UPS, the plaintiff, Peggy Young, was deemed unable to work her part-time driver position once her physician placed her on a 20-pound lifting restriction. Young was placed on an unpaid leave, and returned to work after the birth of her child; however, Young subsequently filed a lawsuit against UPS alleging the company violated the PDA in refusing to accommodate her pregnancy-related lifting restriction and not assigning her to a light duty position. 

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By Amy Blaisdell on December 31, 2014 at 1:21 PM

What is the Illinois Pregnancy Fairness Law?

Pregnancy_Posting_redoEffective January 1, 2015, the Illinois Pregnancy Fairness Law provides workplace protections to all expectant mothers, regardless of an employer’s size. The Illinois Pregnancy Fairness Law amends the Illinois Human Rights Act, adding “pregnancy” as a protected class under state law. “Pregnancy” is defined broadly to mean “pregnancy, childbirth, or other medical or common conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.” Accordingly, effective 1/1/15, the IHRA prohibits discrimination on the basis of “pregnancy” against applicants and employees and also requires employers to provide accommodations to expectant mothers to enable them to perform the job the job held or sought unless the employer can establishing that doing so would cause an undue hardship on the ordinary operation of the business. The Illinois law also prohibits retaliation against individuals who exercise their right to an accommodation under the law.

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By Amy Blaisdell on October 13, 2014 at 3:52 PM

j0399041In the last few months, several court decisions have found large classes of workers to be improperly classified as independent contractors rather than employees. These class action cases are filed in federal and state courts throughout the country seeking the payment of minimum wage, overtime, penalties, attorneys’ fees, employee benefits and expenses, among other damages. Although FedEx Ground Package System, Inc. has been at the heart of several recent decisions, the issue is not isolated to FedEx nor to delivery drivers. Rather, a survey of recent cases and agency actions makes it clear that the judiciary, Internal Revenue Service, United States Department of Labor, and state agencies are all looking with exacting scrutiny at independent contractor relationships and are erring on the side of finding workers to be employees. Consequently, all companies that use independent contractors – regardless of their size – should think about the impact of the emerging cases on their workforces.

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By Amy Blaisdell, Camille Toney on June 28, 2013 at 7:21 PM

Reassignment_LaborBlogLast month the United States Supreme Court refused to resolve the circuit split that has evolved over the issue of whether there is an affirmative duty under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") to accommodate a disabled individual through reassignment to another vacant job, without regard to whether there is a more qualified applicant for the same job. (The ADA prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating against individuals with disabilities and requires employers to engage in an interactive process with employees and applicants to determine whether there is a reasonable accommodation that will enable an employee to perform the job held or desired.)

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By Amy Blaisdell, Dennis Collins on June 10, 2013 at 5:56 PM

Man's Thumb preparing to  toss a penny with coins in the backgroundIn announcing wage settlements with private employers, the DOL routinely states that it wants employees to get “every penny they earn." However, realistically the stakes of a wage and hour investigation by the DOL or a wage and hour class action by a current or former employee are much higher than paying each employee down to the penny. You might ask yourself, “Is it better or worse to draw a DOL investigation as opposed to a private class action?” The answer is that the stakes are different but high in either case—it’s truly a coin toss that you can’t win.

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By Amy Blaisdell on May 14, 2013 at 9:43 AM

Employee using time clock to punching in/out of workLate last year the Seventh Circuit reversed prior precedent and held that an associate who is minimally qualified must be reassigned to a vacant position as a reasonable accommodation in EEOC v. United Airlines, Inc.. 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 18804 (7th Cir. 2012). That decision, coupled with the EEOC's focus on fixed-leave policies as violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), has caused much angst among employers as they struggle to square lean staffing models with the ADA’s duty to accommodate.

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By Amy Blaisdell on April 25, 2013 at 8:10 AM

Checklist with boxes and a penIf you think this sounds like a “bad joke,” think again. The United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) has been quite transparent as of late that it is ramping up its FMLA investigatory activities to include unannounced, on-site visits. Although the DOL has historically called employers to arrange on-site visits, particularly for FMLA investigations, the DOL has determined that unannounced, on-site visits is a more effective use of the DOL’s time and resources for both FLSA and FMLA investigations. The DOL’s practice concerning Visits to Employers is described in DOL Fact Sheet #44.

So, exactly what do you do to prepare for the unannounced visitor? 

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