News & Insights

Childcare: The Working Mom and Employer’s Conundrum  As primary caregivers, many working women have been disproportionately affected by increased personal responsibilities resulting from the pandemic. As a result, they have scaled back or totally left the workforce in staggering numbers.  While not yet a widely litigated issue, the potential employment hotspots created by this issue...

Companies hire interns for various reasons – often primarily to save money while at the same time giving an up-and-comer in the business world an opportunity to gain valuable experience. Some companies choose to hire unpaid interns to maximize the economic benefit. However, while hiring an unpaid intern may appear economically beneficial, it could prove...

There is little doubt that if an employee spewed hate-filled racist messages in the workplace or wore a Nazi swastika t-shirt to work, the employer would have justification to terminate their employment.  Even in the public sector, where employers have First Amendment considerations, it would be hard to conclude that such behavior was constitutionally protected....

In March 2017, bills were introduced to the House and Senate that would include the death of a child as a qualifying event under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). Parents who are eligible employees who work for qualified employers could take up to twelve (12) weeks of unpaid leave to mourn the loss of...

For employers who are required to file an annual EEO-1 report, beginning in March 2018, the EEOC will also require those employers to report various types of pay data on their employees. The new rule changes the scope of the data that must be reported, the timing of the data collection, and the reporting deadline....

What do you see as you look around a typical office?   Once you get past the coffee cups, computer monitors, and creatively designed (or not so creatively designed) desks, it’s about the people.   Diversity in the workplace has increased substantially within the last 10-15 years. There is a wealth of information out there about diversity...

The work is piling up and you could really use an extra pair of hands around the office. But you’re managing labor costs. Even though the economy has improved, it’s a competitive world out there. We’re all doing more with less. An unpaid intern seems to be the answer. Talk about the best of all...

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has recently released decisions and guidance with potentially significant implications for employee handbooks. These new developments are of mixed weight, and some we expect may eventually be more critical to incorporate than others. Regular review of your handbook by an employment attorney helps ensure that your company is up...

Employers offering employee benefits to their employees are required to meet virtually innumerable legal requirements under the Employee Retirement and Income Security Act (“ERISA”), the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), the Internal Revenue Code, as well as dozens of other federal and state laws related to benefits.  These requirements fall into three categories...

Last week I received a rather unusual call from a good friend who is a VP of HR at a well-known company outside of Atlanta.  It seems that Sheryl (not her real name) had been the recipient of an email from an employee in another department.  This employee’s email contained info on someone else at...

Last Thursday, President Obama announced his directive to the Department of Labor to begin the process of revising federal regulations to expand the number of Americans eligible for overtime under Fair Labor Standards Act. He specifically targeted the “white collar” exemptions from overtime, including the administrative, executive, and professional exemptions. Currently, employers paying certain employees...

Beginning January 2014, the IRS will begin enforcing guidance it published in a June 2012 ruling classifying automatic gratuities on restaurant checks as service charges and not tips. Many restaurants include automatic gratuities on checks for large parties or in the event of special promotions or discounts (Groupon or Scoutmob deals, for example) to ensure...

Much of our advice to clients flows from observing two principles of human behavior, the first being: Angry people sue. Appreciating Principle #1 often helps employers navigate turmoil (or near-turmoil) with existing employees. Having patience and taking extra steps to manage employee expectations can sometimes avert or downgrade a brewing conflict, and proactively maintaining a...

The Department of Labor has issued temporary guidance outlining the requirements of the notice provision that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) added to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under FLSA Section 18B, employers must distribute notices announcing the existence of the Health Insurance Marketplace (i.e., the “Exchanges”) created by Health Reform, and explaining the...

When was the last time you saw a headline on Google News announcing yet another executive scandal? It happens almost daily, right? Our media is plagued with accounts of corporate fraud, audit scandals, and inter-office indignity. How can we, as HR, employment law and talent management professionals avoid the selection of leaders who dive off...

On January 17, 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services released final regulations which provided sweeping changes to the rules under privacy, security, enforcement, and breach notification requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”), the Health Information Technology for Economic Health (“HITECH”) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”). “Covered entities”,...

Over the past few years, employees across the country have been raising questions about health care reform and how it will impact them. The following communication has been created to help inform and educate employees about the possible changes that may affect them in the future. What is Health Care Reform?  The Affordable Care Act...

The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released a newly revamped and reformatted Form I-9, along with corresponding instructions and M-274 Handbook for Employers. The new form, with revision date “(Rev. 03/08/13) N,” must be used effective May 8th, after which date employers should no longer submit forms bearing the revision dates (Rec. 08/07/09)...

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued updated Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regulations ahead of schedule, and just in time for the FMLA’s 20th birthday. The Final Rule addresses family military leave and rules applicable to airline flight crews. The effective date for these updates will be March 8, 2013, for those provisions...

Who is an artist? For that matter, who gets to decide? These are existential questions rarely touched upon by folks who are not artists themselves.  But if your business employs creative types, you, unfortunately, must also wade into this philosophical quagmire, at least for the purposes of determining whether the artist is entitled to overtime...

As an employer, you’re likely aware of the requirement of managing and calculating “imputed income” for your employees.  This requirement of the IRS applies to employees who are covered by an employer-provided benefit of more than $50,000 in term life insurance.  This requirement is tedious and challenging, especially if you have a payroll or software...

A.             Definition of Family Medical Leave Family Medical Leave (FML) is a benefit that eligible/covered employers are required to offer to all eligible employees.  FML was created by the Department of Labor (DOL) through the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (often referred to as “FMLA”). THE PURPOSE OF FML Family Medical Leave was designed...

As thousands of Reservists and National Guardsmen and women return home from overseas campaigns to a less-than-booming economy, it has become hard not to notice the employment-related challenges facing military families. In 2001, the Defense Department began deploying record numbers of non-career military personnel under to a new manpower strategy designed to respond to unprecedented...

Never content with the current regulatory burden upon employers, our estimable federal government has decided that the existing Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) regulations and forms are insufficiently onerous.   Accordingly, one of Washington’s latest bureaucracies, the Consumer Financial Protection Board (“CFPB,” the agency that has assumed FCRA-enforcement responsibilities from the Federal Trade Commission), has issued...

This article was originally published in the June 29-July 5, 2012 edition of the Atlanta Business Chronicle.  It is republished with the permission of the author. Like most adages or clichés, “lonely at the top” rings true most of the time.  Whether you own your business, are a CEO, or the head of your department,...

Most employers are too busy with their day-to-day operations to expend much bandwidth wringing their hands over the nuances of employment-law compliance.  With this in mind, take a quick look at a rundown of the four most common employment law issues we see in our practice.  Simply knowing that these land mines are out there...

The 1986 Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act  (“COBRA”) requires certain employers’ group health insurance plans to offer qualified beneficiaries (including employees, former employees, and certain dependents) the opportunity to continue health insurance despite events (such as termination) that would otherwise result in the loss of coverage.   Information on employers’ and employees’ rights and obligations under...

I recently had lunch with a friend who is happily expecting her first child. While this is certainly an exciting time for her and her husband, she couldn’t help but be anxious about her company’s attitude concerning her pregnancy and the new arrival. Specifically, when she asked the company’s HR Manager about her options for...

Conflict comes in all sizes and shapes.  It can be both constructive and destructive, productive and unproductive.  But one thing is certain:  where there are people, there is the potential for disagreements, disputes and interpersonal flare-ups that can undermine the health and well-being of any environment. Being aware of the different types of conflict and...

The most common problem I’ve encountered since opening up my practice is employers who are not compensating their employees correctly.  Unfortunately for these employers, wage and hour cases are big business for plaintiffs’ attorneys, and the Department of Labor loves making examples out of unsuspecting employers who are, in many cases, simply uninformed about the...

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission earlier this month issued its final rule extending employers’ record keeping obligations under Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act to those organizations covered by the Genetic Nondiscrimination Act, or GINA. Effective April 3, 2012, employers with 15 or more employees must retain all personnel and employment records for...

Research confirms what HR Professionals already knew:  employees that are in the divorce process are often less productive, stressed, and more prone to distractions and increased absenteeism. A recent study by Integrated Organizational Development estimated the cost per worker going through a divorce at about $8,300, an amount that not only quantifies the decrease in...

On December 23, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) again postponed implementing its requirement that employers expressly notify employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”).  Unless there are further delays (which is quite possible given the several challenges to the rule), the posting requirement will now go into effect on...

In one of my posts last month, I raised the specter of misclassified independent contractors.  If you’d like a refresher about the risks to companies posed by misclassification, take a look here: http://goo.gl/Ptz06.  Trust me – it can get ugly. Among the perils created by misclassification are the potential back taxes, interest, and penalties imposed...

A few weeks ago, I tried to talk you out of clinging to your traditional employee performance evaluation. I suggested you scrap your company’s formal, stress-inducing, time-consuming, and ineffective “1-5” annual review in favor of a ongoing, interactive performance management system.   I proposed that by involving employees in the goal-setting process, offering immediate and rolling...