Friday, January 25, 2013

D.C. Circuit Invalidates NLRB Recess Appointments

By former Associate Jack Blum

In a groundbreaking decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that President Obama’s three “recess” appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on January 4, 2012 were unconstitutional. This decision will have a dramatic practical impact on the field of labor law, which increasingly affects non-union employers, because it leaves the NLRB without a quorum and casts doubt on every one of its actions since January 4, 2012.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

“Economic Reality” is Determinative Under Wage Payment and Collection Act

In Campusano v. Lusitano Construction, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland held for the first time that the economic reality test governs the definition of “employer” under the Wage Payment and Collection Act (WPCA). The test had previously been applied under the Maryland Wage and Hour Law (MWHL) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Here, it was extended so that the Court could determine whether a supervisor or manager could be personally liable under the WPCA in the same manner that a supervisor or manager could be personally liable under the FLSA or MWHL.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fourth Circuit Decision Highlights Value of At-Will Provisions

A recent decision by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals overturning a $555,000 jury verdict has reemphasized the importance and effectiveness of including “at-will” language in employee handbooks and other employment documents. The decision in Scott v. Merck & Company, Inc. (found here), may help to reassure wary employers that an at-will provision is still one of their most valuable tools.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Little Protection If You’re Fired for Being Too Pretty

On December 21, 2012, the Supreme Court of Iowa decided that a female employee, viewed by her male boss as an “irresistible attraction,” and terminated because the boss’s wife perceived the employee as a threat to her marriage, could not state a claim for gender-based discrimination. The case was widely reported by the media, but the decision is not particularly remarkable and, in fact, follows established federal law.

Avoiding ACA Mandate Can Bring Misclassification Woes

By former Associate Jack Blum

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will require in 2014 that employers with fifty or more full-time employees provide each worker with health insurance or face a potentially steep fine. With the Treasury Department’s recent announcement that employers’ 2013 staffing levels will be used to determine the mandate’s application, yesterday’s Wall Street Journal highlighted one tactic that many small businesses might consider in an effort to avoid the ACA’s employer mandate: hiring independent contractors.