Category: Practical Tips

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What Employers Can and Cannot Say During a Union Organizing Campaign

Employers probably are aware of the “quickie” election rules implemented earlier this year by the National Labor Relations Board (“the Board”), but they may not have considered all of the rules’ consequences. With as little as 15 to 20 days to respond to an organizing drive, employers must be prepared to educate employees about the … Continue Reading

Oregon’s New “Ban the Box” Law Prohibits Criminal History Questions on Employment Applications

It’s been an active legislative session in Oregon this year regarding laws affecting the state’s employers.  Hot on the heels of enacting laws relating to paid sick leave, noncompete agreements, and employee privacy on social media, Governor Kate Brown also recently signed into law House Bill 3025.  That law will make it illegal for most employers to … Continue Reading

Are You Ready to be Ambushed? NLRB’s New “Quickie Election” Rules Become Effective

As we have previously reported here and here, the National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB”) new rules governing union representation elections go into effect today, April 14, 2015. Congress passed a resolution disapproving the new “quickie” or “ambush” rules, but President Obama vetoed it. While lawsuits have been filed in Texas and the District of Columbia … Continue Reading

EEOC’s Tough Stance on Employee Separation Agreements

Employers like separation agreements.  Separation agreements, of course, are contracts that employees sign when their employment is terminated that allows them to be paid severance and in exchange they usually give up the right to sue their employer.  Separation agreements provide finality to employment terminations by offering employers protection from claims and potential claims.  The … Continue Reading

Seven Steps for Employers to Address the Ebola Threat (Step 1: Don’t Panic!)

The recent outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa, with the few isolated cases occurring in the United States, is spurring employers to review their emergency response plans for pandemic preparedness.  In seven steps, this writing sets forth best practices for pandemic preparedness, considerations regarding travel during a pandemic, and addressing employees’ immediate concerns … Continue Reading

“Freaky Fast” Oppression? Jimmy John’s Should Reconsider its Approach to Blanket Noncompete Agreements

Most competent employment lawyers with experience pursuing and/or rebuffing enforcement of noncompetition agreements know that enforcement against low level workers is highly unlikely.  If recent news reports are true, Jimmy John’s apparently never got that memo. According to reports in The New York Times, The Oregonian and the Huffington Post, the restaurant franchise is requiring … Continue Reading

Stoel Rives World of Employment’s Top Predictions for 2014

As 2013 draws to a close, our Labor and Employment group put its collective head together to come up with our top predictions, from the cautious to the audacious, for what the new year will bring.  Stay tuned in 2014 to see how we do!  In the meantime, happy holidays!  Here goes: 1.                  Cost and morale pressures will lead more … Continue Reading

(Plaintiff’s) Paradise Found? Ninth Circuit Allows Title VII Claim, Omitted in Bankruptcy Petition, To Proceed

“Bankruptcy?” you ask. “Why are employment lawyers talking about bankruptcy?” Well, in fact, there are times when bankruptcy can provide a defense to employment discrimination claims. It involves a principle known as “judicial estoppel,” which precludes a party from taking a position in a case which is contrary to a position they have taken in earlier legal proceedings.  … Continue Reading

As the Election Nears, Employers Should be Cautious of Politics in the Workplace

From the Presidential debates to lawn signs, and TV ads to the Voters’ Pamphlet in your mailbox, there’s no denying that election season is in full swing. For employers, the home stretch to November 6 means not only around-the-clock coverage, but the potential for spirited debates—and resulting employee discord—in the workplace. Although with limited exception political activity … Continue Reading

December 31, 2012 Deadline Looms Under Tax Code for Fixing Severance Agreements with Releases

  Employers have until the end of the year to take advantage of relief from penalties under section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code for agreements that require employees to sign releases before severance benefits are paid. Section 409A was enacted in 2004 to regulate deferred compensation.  Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") regulations made clear that it … Continue Reading

Guidance on Terminations in Alaska

  Two recent opinions from the Alaska Supreme Court offer helpful guidance to employers regarding termination processes.   In Barickman v. State, an employer suspected an employee of theft.  When confronted, the employee signed a letter of termination and then wrote a letter stating that he was resigning to avoid a “black mark on his … Continue Reading

Update – New Rule Requires Employers to Post Notice of Employee NLRA Rights

In order to allow more time for legal challenges to its notice-posting rule to be resolved, the National Labor Relations Board has again postponed the rule’s effective date, this time to April 30, 2012.  Stay tuned. For additional information regarding the NLRB’s new rule and posting requirement, including links to the new rule and the … Continue Reading

New Rule Requires Employers to Post Notice of Employee NLRA Rights

Your bulletin board full of required workplace postings just got more crowded. The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) has issued a final rule that will require nearly all private sector employers, whether unionized or not, to post a notice to their employees about certain employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). The notice must be … Continue Reading

The EEOC Reiterates the Importance of the Interactive Process

A recent decision from the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reminds employers of their affirmative duty to engage in an interactive process once an employee raises a medical condition and requests some change to their work environment to accommodate it. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Rehabilitation Act at issue in Harden v. Social … Continue Reading

Lawmakers Aim to Take the “Spice” out of Synthetic Drug Use.

Meghan M. Kelly also contributed to this post. Alaska has joined the growing list of states that have outlawed the sale or possession of “synthetic cannabinoids.” These so-called designer drugs are sold under trade names like “Spice” and “K2”, and are essentially chemicals sprayed on dried weeds then rolled and smoked like marijuana.  Alaska’s new law, … Continue Reading

Why Employers Should Exercise Restraint and Objectivity

Retaliation claims are increasing at an alarming pace. Not only have these claims tripled in number within the last two decades, they now exceed race discrimination as the leading claim filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  Click here to see EEOC statistics. Why the startling trend? First, Congress has gone to great lengths to protect … Continue Reading

DOL Demonstrates Commitment to Wage and Hour Violations with Launch of New “DOL-Timesheet” App

In a highly visual public expression of its commitment to wage-and-hour violations, and to encouraging employees to file wage and hour complaints, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division entered the world of Smartphone apps when it recently launched its own “DOL-Timesheet” app for the iPad and iPhone. At first glance, the DOL-Timesheet App may … Continue Reading

New IRS Guidance for Health Care Reform: More News You Can Use

Editor’s Note: Today we are pleased to post the following health care reform update on new IRS guidance that came out last week.  Many thanks to our Seattle employee benefits colleagues, authors Howard Bye, Melanie Curtice and Erin Lennon, for sharing this timely content with World of Employment. Health care reform requires employers to report the cost of health … Continue Reading

EEOC’s Final Regulations on the ADAAA: News You Will Certainly Use

At long last the EEOC has issued its final regulations for the Americans With Disabilities Amendments Act.  In so doing, the EEOC has taken Congress’ words contained in the Act and declared (repeatedly) that the definition of “disability” is to be read very broadly and that employers should instead focus on whether discrimination has occurred or an accommodation … Continue Reading

The Do’s and Don’ts of Employee Handbooks

Employee handbooks can operate as a useful management tool to ensure fairness and consistency in employment practices which in turn may limit an employer’s exposure to unwanted and costly litigation. But if not carefully drafted an employee handbook may unwittingly supply a disgruntled employee with greater ammunition on the legal battlefield. A couple of Utah employers recently … Continue Reading