Workplace complaints happen every day - whether it’s sexual harassment or unequal pay or creating a hostile work environment. When employees bring concerns to their employers of potentially illegal behavior, or perhaps just behavior that not in line with the company’s values, the company’s decision of what to do next sets the tone for the outcome and the resolution. Companies often turn first to human resources (HR) when faced with these situations. HR as a fact finder can be problematic for 2 reasons: 1) small companies often don’t have appropriately trained HR personnel or 2) HR risks losing credibility when they act as fact finders for internal complaints because they are perceived as too close to the relevant parties (witnesses or decision makers). Consequently, I recommend that clients hire a third-party investigator.Read More
Last week Managing Partner Terin Cremer spoke to Florida State University MBA Students. This is Terin’s second time lecturing at the required Professional Development course. Her lecture outlined tips for MBA students while in school, interviewing, and following graduation. The course is taught by the Department of Finance Chair, Professor William Christiansen, who taught Cremer economics when she went through the MBA program 10 years ago. Students had the opportunity to ask questions about interviewing techniques and the challenges of entrepreneurship.Read More
Despite what you may have read in the news lately in stories surrounding the election or NFL player protests, the First Amendment does not provide a private employee with the right to free speech or freedom of expression at work. Rather, the Constitution’s right to free speech only applies to the government’s attempts to restrict speech. Even then, it’s not absolute.
Employees who work in the private sector do not have First Amendment protection for their speech in the workplace. So, does this mean that you as a private-sector employer can take the absence of a direct First Amendment right as providing free rein to discipline, terminate or retaliate against employees for their speech in the workplace? Well—you guessed it—it depends.Read More
Last month, managing partner Terin Barbas Cremer, A'03, spoke to Mrs. Nazaretian's Law Class at the Academy of the Holy Names. While there she spoke to the students about her career path, and the options available with a legal degree. Students had the opportunity to ask questions.Read More
With summer here many companies plan to bring on summer interns who are home from college. It’s not uncommon for interns to even approach you about working unpaid because they want the experience. Regardless of the intent, the Department of Labor (DOL) regulates the paying of interns in the way it regulates the pay of all employees.
In January 2018 the DOL adopted a primary-beneficiary test which replaced the previous six factor test for for-profit employers. This new test is more forgiving to employers as it looks at the totality of the circumstances, as opposed to requiring that each factor be met (as was the previous case).Read More
Despite rapid growth, the gig economy continues to confound businesses and courts alike. An April 2015 study by the U.S. Government Accountability found that 40.4% of the country’s jobs are contingent—up 10% since 2005. Now, just a year after Lyft paid a $27 million dollar settlement to address potential employee misclassification, a court in Philadelphia ruled that, under Federal and Pennsylvania state law, Uber limousine drivers were properly classified as independent contractors (and not as employees). Two similar businesses with two very different outcomes. How can you deal with the risks created by this uncertainty?Read More
During the first 24 hours, #MeToo was tweeted more than 500,000 times and the hashtag was used in 12 million Facebook posts. Facebook reported that 45% of users in the United States had a friend who posted a #MeToo status. So, chances are, you or someone you know can say “#MeToo.”
Conversations around sexual harassment, #MeToo, responses by Hollywood and D.C., and so-on have continued. Through the conversations sparked by #MeToo, it has become obvious that historically sexual harassment victims have been told or feel they should be quiet and tolerate it. Yet sexual harassment is always illegal. What should you do if you have been or are the current victim of sexual harassment?Read More
The start of a new year in the world of employment law is always busy. Companies, like people, often set goals for achievement with their personnel or training. That makes this the busiest time of year for employment training. The calls for the 2018 new year have focused on protecting against sexual harassment complaints. Just pick up a newspaper, turn on the news, or scroll through Facebook, and it’s easy to see why. So what is sexual harassment, and what can you do to protect your company from a sexual harassment complaint?Read More