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employment law Archives

Department of Labor rules on gig employees

The Department of Labor under President Trump overturned some Obama-era rules regarding companies’ use of contractors or freelancers by tech-based companies. There is now a recent clarification from the DOL’s Wage and Hourly Division reiterates earlier language about the Fair Standards and Labor Act (FLSA) in response to workers at a specific virtual marketplace company, but could also apply to the current issues involving Lyft or Uber as well as other digital platform marketplaces.

Rideshare drivers announce one-day strike

It is hard to remember life before ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft arrived, but it was practically impossible to hail a cab outside of major metropolitan areas. Now the presence of these app-based services is a given, with nearly 4 million drivers in 700 towns and cities around the world. There is, however, ongoing tension between the contract employee drivers and the companies they work for.

The #MeToo movement and severance packages

The #MeToo movement has undoubtedly impacted the lives of celebrities and athletes or those that work with them, but it also affects business culture in other fields as well. This means that codes of conduct at restaurants and manufacturing facilities have changed (or need to). It can also mean changes for executives who are used to large severance packages when they leave. Severance agreements should now have much more detailed language based on those codes of conduct.

CorePower Yoga faces more labor issues

Yoga studios use a variety of business models. Typically, these vary between a teacher renting a room somewhere to a small business partnership to a non-profit. Generally, the vibe is a crunchy mix of positivity, community, exercise and spiritual growth. Called the Starbucks’s of yoga with over 200 studios across the U.S., CorePower Yoga is a different model altogether. It has also faced three federal lawsuits in recent years with over $3 million in settlements without admitting liability.

Employee flexing muscle on moral grounds

There are traditionally two different power structures in place for businesses. One is a top-down mindset where the owner or the board dictates the work to be done and how long it will take. The other is the bottom-up union or employee approach where the workers or their representatives exert considerable power.

The benefits of benefits

Smart business owners and human resources managers are always looking for new ways to attract top talent and then keep them from straying to competitors. One of the eternal questions in this important challenge is trying to figure out the priorities of the staff and it often comes down to a good benefits package.

Disability accommodations cost less than many employers think

More employers are hiring workers with disabilities these days. This is likely in part due to increased awareness of how to best work with disabled employees. In fact, employers are pleasantly surprised to learn that the cost for appropriate alterations to the workspace are less expensive than they feared. According to studies at the dation Network, a majority of these changes cost less than $500.

Handling extreme employee absenteeism

It is an unfortunate fact of life that people get sick or injured. While sympathy should go out to those with health issues, employee absences from the workplace can cause tremendous logistical problems for businesses. A missed week is a minor inconvenience, but a medical condition or severe injury can leave managers and employers wondering where they can turn to resolve the matter.

Ruling could set precedent for Workers’ Comp cases and drug use

An Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals Judge recently ruled that a positive drug test should not impact an employee’s Workers’ Comp benefits. In this case, the injured employee was attempting to fix a piece of heavy machinery when a coworker activated it. The machine then crushed the worker’s hand. While receiving treatment, the man subsequently tested positive for marijuana, which called into question whether the injury was his fault. 

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