Small business owners are often surprised to learn that the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) provides for very specific architectural standards applicable to the physical locations where businesses operate. These standards are prescribed by the Department of Justice in a manual referred to as the “ADAAG,” or ADA Accessibility Guidelines. They are incredibly detailed, with down-to-the-inch requirements for things such as urinals and toilet paper dispensers. They prescribe the appropriate slope and dimensions of parking spaces, and the type of permissible door handles and locks. They even prescribe the range of appropriate heights for signs and the size of the lettering on signs used at small businesses. There is no funding available to help small businesses meet the requirements of the ADAAG, but violations can be quite costly, as set out below.
I know, I know. I’ve already blogged about this subject—about how employers shouldn’t be asking about family medical history. But the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has once again charged an employer with violating the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). And the employer also asked questions about the disabilities of applicants in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
On May 18, 2016, the U.S. Labor Department (DOL) issued its new overtime rules. These new rules primarily address the trigger amount for exempting executive, administrative, professional, and computer employees from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). These exemptions are frequently referred to as EAP exemptions or white-collar exemptions.
As I have previously pointed out, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the U.S. Treasury Department have been pursuing cases of misclassification of workers—that is, the practice of classifying a worker as an independent contractor instead of an employee. Employers typically resort to this approach as a means of reducing the employer’s share of withholding taxes—and several other “benefits.” See this previous discussion.
On February 25, 2016, Governor Robert Bentley signed House Bill 174 which nixed the local minimum-wage ordinance passed by the Birmingham city council on August 18, 2015. The bill then became Alabama Act 2016-18, which is entitled the Alabama Uniform Minimum Wage and Right-to-Work Act.