Tuesday, July 15, 2014

That is SO last week

Last week, Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez stated that the U.S. Department of Labor has begun the process of reviewing and modernizing regulations addressing who is eligible for overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act. According to Perez, the DOL’s updated regulations will “benefit millions of Americans” who are “working well in excess of 40 hours a week and making what amounts to a poverty wage[.]”  The DOL plans to propose updated overtime regulations by the end of 2014.
Senate Democrats introduced a bill to override the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, which granted closely-held companies the ability to opt out of covering contraceptives in their health insurance programs. Dubbed the “Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act,” the bill would require that employers cover their employees’ health insurance as required by the Affordable Care Act and ensure that employers cannot use other federal laws to circumvent the ACA’s requirements.
The trend of sex discrimination cases against high profile companies continued last week when KPMG workers won class certification in a $400 million sex bias case against the company.  A New York federal judge conditionally certified an Equal Pay Act collective action covering about 7,000 female employees.  The employees are suing KPMG for allegedly underpaying female client service and support professionals.  Finding that the plaintiffs had made the “modest factual showing” required for certification, the judge ordered that notices be sent to all KPMG female employees who held certain positions between October 2008 and the present.
In other developments:
Wage & Hour
  • A federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled that the plain wording of the Fair Labor Standards Act mandates that only employees who directly interact with customers may participate in tip pools.
  • Assistant managers at Sears brought a class action lawsuit against the company alleging they were misclassified as exempt from overtime pay requirements.

Trade Secrets
  • Bill Donahue shared “4 Tips To Avoid Landing In Trade Secrets Hot Water.”
  • A chemical engineer was sentenced to 15 years in prison for selling DuPont’s trade secrets to Chinese-government-controlled companies. 
  • The wife of a Chinese company’s chairman was arrested in Des Moines for stealing agricultural trade secrets.
  • The LA Times reported that sales of tablet computers will exceed the sales of laptops and desktops in 2015. This is another reminder that employers need to stay aware of the issues created by employees’ use of highly mobile and highly capable technology.
  • An Australian survey found that Generation Y managers are more likely than baby boomers to ban social media usage among staff.
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