Latest from Labor and Employment Blog

With Valentine’s Day in our midst, love is in the air – and possibly in your workplace! Consider the scenario below: You work in the Human Resources department of ABC Corp., a small, 20-person company that has always prided itself on maintaining a professional, but fun working environment. This year’s Valentine’s Day lunch is no exception; the heart-shaped cupcakes and garland are just the right amount of “festive” and the tiny bottles of champagne were a nice touch. You’re about to retrieve the candy hearts for the annual candy heart scrabble tournament when you notice the CEO, Robert, and the…
Labor and Employment Blog President Biden Targets Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Discrimination Through Executive Order February 11, 2021 Amongst the flurry of other recent executive orders and administrative directives during his first 30 days in office, President Joseph R. Biden signed an executive order seeking to eliminate gender identity and sexual orientation discrimination, and various overlapping forms of discrimination on the basis of multiple protected classes, in federal government departments and agencies.  This executive order closely follows on the heels of the Supreme Court’s June 15, 2020, decisions in the Bostock-Zarda-Harris trio of cases, ruling that Title VII of…
Labor and Employment Blog Arizona’s Minimum Wage Increases in the New Year: What Employers Should Know December 30, 2020 As with every new year in Arizona, new resolutions should include wage adjustments as required by law.  Even with the global pandemic, these statutory increases continue.  Under Arizona’s minimum wage law, the state-mandated minimum wage increases from $12.00 to $12.15 effective January 1, 2021.  Arizona employers may continue to take a tip credit for tipped employees where permitted by federal law, up to a maximum of $3.00 per hour.  Several cities, towns, and other local jurisdictions within Arizona have their own…
Labor and Employment Blog Recreational Marijuana Passes in Arizona – Should Employers Be Concerned? November 10, 2020 Arizona voters recently approved Proposition 207 – also known as the “Smart and Safe Arizona Act” – which largely decriminalizes marijuana possession and use for those who are at least 21 years old, establishes a framework for regulating the sale and possession of marijuana, and imposes excise taxes on recreational marijuana.    Although marijuana was previously authorized under Arizona law for medical purposes, recreational use was prohibited until the passage of this new law. Arizona now joins nine other states to authorize recreational marijuana…
Labor and Employment Blog Supreme Court’s LGBTQ Discrimination Decision Impacts Arizona Employers June 16, 2020 Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act makes it unlawful for a covered employer “to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual… because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”  For a number of years, both courts and employers have grappled with the question of whether Title VII extends protections to LGBTQ employees.  In a landmark decision issued on January 15, 2020, the United States Supreme Court answered in the affirmative,…
Labor and Employment Blog The Small Business Exemption for the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the FMLA Expansion Act April 8, 2020 The Department of Labor (DOL) has provided us with regulations governing the application of the small business exemption for both the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (FMLA Expansion Act) and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (Paid Sick Leave Act).  Under both enactments, employers with fewer than 50 employees may be exempt, but only if they meet the specific criteria established by the DOL.  The DOL’s newly-crafted regulations require small employers to meet one of…
Labor and Employment Blog NOTABLE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE EMERGENCY PAID SICK LEAVE ACT AND THE FMLA EXPANSION ACT March 31, 2020 NOTABLE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE EMERGENCY PAID SICK LEAVE ACT AND THE FMLA EXPANSION ACT Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act FMLA Expansion Act Qualified Employees From start of employment At 30 days of employment Reasons for Leave 1) Employee subject to quarantine order; 2) Employee advised by health care provider to self-quarantine; 3) Employee has symptoms of COVID-19 & seeking diagnosis; 4) Employee caring for individual who is subject to 1 or 2, above; 5) Employee is caring for children for…
Labor and Employment Blog The U.S. Department of Labor Provides Added Guidance for Application of the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act March 25, 2020 On March 24, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published its initial Guidance providing helpful explanatory information and some much needed clarification of certain terms and requirements of the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (FMLA Expansion Act) and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (Paid Sick Leave Act) (jointly, the Acts).  The DOL News Release with additional links to Fact Sheets and Q&A Document…
Labor and Employment Blog The Families First Coronavirus Response Act Expands FMLA Rights and Provides for Paid Sick Leave March 19, 2020 By Chris M. Mason and Daniel Peabody, Jennings Strouss On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act,” (“FFCRA”) which, among other things, significantly expands the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) through December 31, 2020, as a response to the Coronavirus pandemic, and creates a paid sick leave entitlement. These provisions will take effect 15 days after the date of enactment. The FFCRA includes the aptly-titled “Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion…
Labor and Employment Blog Arizona’s Paid Time Off Statute Applies to the Coronavirus March 12, 2020 Arizona’s Paid Time Off (PTO) statute includes a provision with direct application to current issues related to the coronavirus (and issues that may arise soon).  It states: “Earned paid sick time shall be provided to an employee by an employer for: . . . Closure of the employee’s place of business by order of a public official due to a public health emergency or an employee’s need to care for a child whose school or place of care has been closed by order of a…
Labor and Employment Blog Arizona’s Paid Time Off Statute Applies to the Coronavirus March 12, 2020 Arizona’s Paid Time Off (PTO) statute includes a provision with direct application to current issues related to the coronavirus (and issues that may arise soon).  It states: “Earned paid sick time shall be provided to an employee by an employer for: . . . Closure of the employee’s place of business by order of a public official due to a public health emergency or an employee’s need to care for a child whose school or place of care has been closed by order of a…
Labor and Employment Blog PETER STROJNIK SR. IS (ONCE AGAIN) FILING ADA LAWSUITS IN ARIZONA February 24, 2020 I guess it’s fitting that in Phoenix, a city named for a mythical creature that arises from the ashes of its predecessor, Peter Strojnik Sr. is once again filing ADA lawsuits (despite being disbarred for filing ADA lawsuits in 2018). In the last 30 days Mr. Strojnik Sr. has filed nine ADA lawsuits against hotels and other places of accommodation here in Phoenix. While he is no longer licensed to practice law, he is still technically permitted to represent himself in lawsuits…
Client Alert News #NewYearNewMeNewWageLaws: Arizona’s Minimum Wage Increased Nearly 10% on January 1, 2020. January 13, 2020 With the new year comes new resolutions, new goals, and, sadly, often new regulations and laws. This year is no different. Under Arizona’s minimum wage law, the state-mandated minimum wage increased from $11.00 to $12.00 on January 1, 2020 – a 9.1% increase. The increase at the beginning of this year reflects the last of Arizona’s predetermined wage increases. Although the minimum wage will continue to increase on January 1, 2021, and each successive year (until the statute is revised), it will increase…
Labor and Employment Blog The NLRB Issues Two Decisions That Continue to Roll-Back Some of the Restrictions Placed on Employers December 17, 2019 The NLRB issued two decisions that continue to roll back some of the restrictions the Obama-Era Board had placed on employers. In the first case, Caesars Entertainment, 28-CA-060841 (Dec. 17, 2019), the Board held that employers are permitted to maintain workplace rules that prohibit employees from utilizing the employer’s IT systems for non-work reasons as long as: (1) there is no evidence of discrimination aimed specifically at Section 7 activity; and (2) the employer’s IT systems are…
Labor and Employment Blog Silence is Golden – NLRB Affirms Employer Restrictions on Employee Discussions with Media October 11, 2019 Continuing its recent conservative approach, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) ruled Thursday that an employer’s policies restricting employees from answering media inquiries and discussing customer information with third parties were lawful.  The decision in LA Specialty Produce Co. and Teamsters Local 70 joined similar Board decisions reached in the past two years by relying on the standard adopted by the Board in December of 2017 in Boeing Co.  Under the Boeing Co. standard, written employer policies are…
Client Alert News Labor Department extends overtime pay to 1.3 million workers September 24, 2019 On September 24, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a widely anticipated rule that entitles approximately 1.3 million additional U.S. workers to overtime pay. The final rule increases earning thresholds necessary to exempt executive, administrative, and professional employees from the Fair Labor Standard Act’s minimum wage and overtime pay requirements. The final rule also allows employers to count a portion of some bonuses and commissions toward reaching the increased thresholds. In particular, the final rule: Raises the salary level that must be met to…