In a Tight Labor Market, a Reminder: Most No-Poaching Agreements are Illegal, Some Could Land You in Jail

In recent months, the U.S. unemployment rate has dropped to levels not seen since the late 1960s. This news—great for American workers—has left many employers scrambling to identify, hire, and retain qualified talent and to shore up efforts to assess and manage the business risks posed by an increasingly peripatetic workforce. As employers evaluate and […]
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Can Companies Require the Arbitration of Disputes Brought By a Vendor’s Workers?

Both before and after the U.S. Supreme Court’s important recent decision in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, 138 S. Ct. 1612 (2018) holding that class action waivers in arbitration agreements are not precluded by federal labor law, many employers have implemented arbitration agreements with their employees specifying that employment disputes with the company must be […]
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Jury in the Southern District of Texas Finds that Mud Engineers are Exempt from Overtime under the FLSA

On October 25, 2018, a jury in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas decided that drilling fluid specialists, also known as “mud engineers,” were exempt from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) under the white collar, administrative exemption.  This case is one of the very few FLSA cases […]
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Department of Labor Clarifies the Compensability of Travel Time

Determining the circumstances in which “travel time” must be paid to non-exempt employees is often a vexing issue when employees work at customer locations rather than a fixed worksite.  A recent Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division opinion letter sheds light on some of the difficult questions that arise with respect to such employees.  […]
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OSHA Issues New Guidance on Workplace Safety Incentive Programs and Post-Incident Drug and Alcohol Testing Policies – And It’s Good News for Employers

Heads up if you administer a workplace safety incentive program or have a post-incident drug and alcohol testing policy – OSHA has just done an about face. Two-plus years ago on May 12, 2016, OSHA published a final rule that added a provision to 29 CFR §1904.35 prohibiting employers from retaliating against employees for reporting […]
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Fifth Circuit Upholds Right to Wear “Fight for $15” Buttons at Work

The National Labor Relations Act requires employers to allow all employees—including non-unionized ones—to express opinions on the terms and conditions of their employment. The National Labor Relations Board and the Fifth Circuit recently reaffirmed this idea in a case where the employer argued that the employees’ expression would hurt the employer’s business. The case is […]
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Do Employees Have to Return Severance Pay Before Filing Suit Under Title VII and the EPA?

Many employers have had employees sign separation agreements releasing all claims in exchange for severance pay.  But what happens when an employee signs a separation agreement and receives severance pay, but then changes her mind, alleging that she was pressured into signing the agreement and that the release is invalid, and decides to pursue her […]
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Student Loans and 401(k)s: IRS Private Letter Ruling Opens the Door to a New Recruitment Strategy for Employers

Today I break from the newsletter’s traditional format of discussing an in-depth labor and employment legal issue to write on a topic of widespread application and an issue of personal interest to me – student loans, and a great new benefit employers may provide related to them courtesy of the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”). The […]
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Five Tips for Better, Less Risky Terminations

Involuntary terminations can be tough to do well. Even when discharge is clearly warranted—such as in egregious for-cause situations—few managers are eager to sit down with an employee to deliver the bad news. And even fewer are interested in becoming expert in the art of letting someone go. But this doesn’t mean that termination discussions […]
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San Antonio Joins Austin in Passing a Paid Sick Leave Law—But Will These Laws Survive, and What’s Next for Paid Sick Leave?

On August 16, 2018, San Antonio joined Austin to become the second major city in Texas to pass a paid sick leave ordinance.  The law allows workers to earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked in San Antonio, up to a maximum of 64 hours of paid leave each year […]
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