On July 6, 2015, the Federal Register published extremely significant proposed changes to the rules governing overtime under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This is the first step in the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) changing the rules and is primarily directed toward decreasing the number of executive, administrative, and professional (EAP) employees who are exempt from the requirement that employers pay them time-and-a-half (1.5 times) their hourly rate for any time worked over 40 hours during a 7-day period. Put another way, this proposed change is likely to increase the number of people who get paid overtime by raising the threshold “salary basis” for those in traditionally white-collar positions.
In a recent decision about an appeal from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) left no question it views sexual orientation discrimination as falling within the protections of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC stated its intent to treat all sexual orientation discrimination as sex discrimination, actionable under Title VII.
Teachers and other school employees are not allowed to collect unemployment benefits during holidays, spring break, fall break, or summer vacation, because everyone knows that such breaks are an ordinary part of their seasonal work. But what about employees of a private staffing agency who work alongside school employees on a daily basis? Do they get to collect unemployment even though everyone they work with does not?
June is upon us, and with June comes controversial U.S. Supreme Court decisions. This year, that will include a decision on same-sex marriage. At this time of year, it’s always good to prepare your managers for dealing with coffee-break conversations about these controversial employment-related topics. If they become heated, such conversations can cause hurt feelings. Although those hurt feelings are no big deal from an employment perspective, hostile-work-environment allegations can start with a few words about the latest decision. Employers should be careful to monitor such discussions—especially the ones having to do with rights of same-sex couples or transgender employees.
Last month, Lanier Ford attorney Lauren Smith wrote about the EEOC’s federal-sector decisions involving application of the anti-discrimination protections of Title VII to transgender employees. The blog post noted that the federal-sector decision was not binding on private employers, but nonetheless gives important insight into the EEOC’s position on this issue.