Earlier this year, the Oregon legislature passed Senate Bill 1532 which established a series of annual minimum wage increases that began on July 1, 2016. The next increase is not until July 2017. A table showing increases for July 2017 by applicable region is here: http://www.oregon.gov/boli/WHD/OMW/Pages/Minimum-Wage-Rate-Summary.aspx
Minimum wage in Washington State will increase to $9.53 an hour on January 1, 2017. http://lni.wa.gov/News/2016/pr160928a.asp
Here is a link to the 10 most frequently cited safety and health violations for 2016: https://blog.dol.gov/2016/10/18/top-10-osha-citations-of-2016-a-starting-point-for-workplace-safety/
Yesterday, Congress voted to delay the start date for compliance with the DOL’s new overtime rule. As we posted earlier this week, the legislation proposes a six month delay, but does not propose substantive changes to the rule. According to Reuters, the vote was 246 to 177, with 5 Democrats joining 241 Republicans in voting for the legislation. The White House has indicated that President Obama will veto the legislation.
We will continue to track developments.
The House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections has introduced a bill which would delay the effective date for the DOL’s new overtime rule from December 1, 2016 to June 1, 2017. The Regulatory Relief for Small Businesses, Schools, and Nonprofits Act (H.R. 6094), is sponsored almost entirely by Republicans and does not propose material changes to the DOL overtime rule or challenge the substantive provisions of the rule. Instead, it solely seeks to delay the effective date of the new rule by six months. We will continue to monitor H.R. 6094’s progress. In the interim, more information about H.R. 6094 can be found here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/6094
As businesses gear up to comply with the new DOL rule for exempt administrative and executive employees, a group of officials from 21 States have filed a legal challenge to the constitutionality of the new rule. The lawsuit, filed in the Eastern District of Texas, challenges the increased salary requirements and the automatic future salary increases that are included in the rule, in large part because of the burden the higher salary requirements place on State government budgets. The plaintiff states are: Nevada; Texas; Alabama; Arizona; Arkansas; Georgia; Indiana; Kansas; Louisiana; Nebraska; Ohio; Oklahoma; South Carolina; Utah; Wisconsin; Kentucky, Iowa; Maine; New Mexico; Mississippi; Michigan.
The lawsuit does not mean that private employers should stop current efforts to analyze salaried exempt positions, and potentially reclassify exempt employees as non-exempt based on the new rule. It does, however, confirm that this area of the law is in flux (and may continue to be for some time).
BOLI has set September 26, 2016 as the last day for public comment on clarification of the Administrative Rules for Oregon’s paid sick leave law. According to BOLI, the proposed clarifications: “Add ‘employee’ definitions. Clarify ‘regular rate of pay’ in definitions. Update jointly employed employees rule. New rule explaining restoration of sick time. Clarify employer obligations if applying undue hardship provision in law. Update all division 7 rules to reflect statutory references. Other rule changes as needed to provide clarification.”
The proposed amended rules are here: http://www.oregon.gov/boli/Legal/docs/839-007-Proposed%20Sick%20Time%20Rules.pdf
We will update the blog once the final amended rule is issued.
A recent NLRB Board Decision is a reminder to employers that employees have a legal right to seek support from co-workers regarding workplace concerns. The case involved an employee who was disciplined (in her opinion unfairly) for violations of the employer’s dress code. The employee approached a co-worker to ask his advice about how to respond to the discipline. Shortly thereafter, the co-worker told HR about his conversation and complained that the employee was disrupting his work. HR then terminated the employee.
The Board found that the employee was discharged in violation of the NLRA because she was engaged in concerted activity when talking to her co-worker and that the employee’s discussion was for the purpose of mutual aid or protection because the employee was seeking a coworker’s advice on the best way to the address the employer’s discriminatory and arbitrary application of its dress code – a policy applicable to all employees. The fact that the co-worker did not share her concerns (and later complained about the conversation to management) was not dispositive.
The Decision is here: https://www.nlrb.gov/case/25-CA-132398
Age discrimination is alive and well, as evidenced by this story about a 54 year old retired software engineer who worked at Apple for more than 20 years but was rejected when he applied to work at the Apple Genius Bar.
More interesting statistics and stories about age discrimination from a recent NY Times article are here: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/04/opinion/sunday/youre-how-old-well-be-in-touch.html?_r=0
The EEOC has issued its final Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related issues. This document replaces and updates a Compliance Manual from 1998. Also available is a Q&A publication and a Small Business Fact Sheet (links are embedded in the press release below).
The EEOC’s press release is here: https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/8-29-16.cfm
Full text of guidance is here: https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/retaliation-guidance.cfm