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New Federal Law Protects Trade Secrets But Also Requires Changes to Employee and Contractor Agreements

May 5, 2016 Leave a comment

By: Sandra E. Kahn

The new Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA) is expected to be signed into law by President Obama.  The Act will allow claims for trade secret theft to be brought under a federal civil cause of action.

Under certain circumstances, the Act will provide protection for whistleblowers who divulge trade secrets to the government in order to report wrongdoing.  As such, employers will now have to inform their employees of that protection in any agreement or contract.  It is advised that employers consult with their counsel to revise contracts as necessary.

For a more detailed explanation of the DTSA, read the full post on our Good Company blog.

2016 New Year’s News for Employers

December 28, 2015 Leave a comment

2015-01-05_8-57-41As we approach the New Year there are a few important changes to keep in mind, as well as recommendations to get your employment law practices in order.

What are these changes?

  • Minimum Wage Goes Up
  • Earned Sick Leave Safe Harbor Ends
  • Sexual Harassment Law Compliance
  • Data Protection Compliance

For all the details read our Employment Law Alert.

If you have questions about any of the above suggestions, please contact Sandy Kahn or any member of MBBP’s Employment Law Group.

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Interpretation on Independent Contractor Misclassification

July 28, 2015 Leave a comment

ela_indexThe Administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) Wage & Hour Division issued a formal Interpretation to provide “additional guidance” concerning the misclassification of workers as independent contractors under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). Businesses continuing to utilize independent contractors need to understand that combating misclassification is a priority for DOL and this latest action may lead to increased misclassification litigation.

To learn more about this important issue read our Employment Law Advisor.

Significant Amendments To The Overtime Regulations Proposed By The DOL Will Result In Many More Workers Becoming Entitled To Overtime

July 22, 2015 Leave a comment

ela_indexIf the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed rule is adopted, any exempt employees who earn less than $50,440 per year will need to be reclassified as non-exempt.  These employees will now earn overtime if they work over 40 hours per week.

This proposal would increase the salary level required significantly in order for the employee to remain qualified for the “white collar” exemptions.

To learn more about this proposal and how it may affect you if it goes into effect, please read our full Employment Law Advisor.

Proposed Noncompete Legislation Filed in Massachusetts

February 10, 2015 Leave a comment

By: Robert M. Shea

Employment Attorney Bob SheaSeveral bills that would restrict the use of noncompete agreements were filed in the Massachusetts legislature in January.  Two bills (H.730 and H.2157) filed by Rep. Angelo Puppolo and Rep. Sheila Harrington, respectively, use language similar to the California law that bans most employee noncompetes (as well as nonsolicitation agreements) but permits nondisclosure agreements.

Three other bills take a more limited approach.  Two bills (H.2332 and S.809) filed by Rep. Lori Erlich and Sen. Will Brownsberger, respectively, are identical to each other and use language similar to that proposed by Governor Patrick last year.  These bills are focused on noncompete agreements and do not seek to ban customer (or employee) nonsolicitation agreements or nondisclosure agreements.  The bills also would not affect noncompete agreements already in place (that is, the law would not apply retroactively).  Another bill (S.334) filed by Sen. Jason Lewis uses almost the same language but would apply retroactively.  A sixth bill (H.709) filed by Rep. Garrett Lewis, uses similar language but could be interpreted as barring not just noncompete agreements but all employee restrictive covenant agreements.  It would also apply retroactively.

We will keep clients updated on the proposed legislation.  In the meantime, please feel free to contact the Employment Law team with any questions.

When was the last time you updated your employee handbook?

February 5, 2015 Leave a comment

ela_index

It’s important to communicate the policies and expectations regarding employer conduct and with the recent legal developments you are required to make frequent updates to your employee handbook.  We’ve outlined several policies that should be reviewed to be sure they are compliant.  In addition if these are not in your handbook, they should be added!

To learn what steps employers should take, read the full advisor.

Time Spent In Security Screenings Does Not Have To Be Compensated – The U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision in Integrity Staffing v. Busk

January 8, 2015 Leave a comment

2015-01-05_8-57-41The question of when an employee’s compensable work for the day begins and ends is one which can be more complicated than it seems at first glance. Does an employee who checks email before driving to work have to be compensated for that time? Will an employer have to pay an employee for the time it takes to park in a remote lot and take a shuttle bus to work? The U.S. Supreme Court weighed in on this subject in its recent decision in Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk, No. 13-433 (December 9, 2014), where it ruled unanimously that employees did not have to be paid for the time they spent waiting to undergo and then undergoing security screenings before leaving the workplace each day.  In this class action case, the employees were hourly workers who worked in two different warehouses. Their duties involved retrieving products from shelves and packaging the products for delivery to Amazon customers, and at the end of the day,  were required to undergo a security screening which included removing their wallets, keys and belts, and going through a metal detector. The employees complained that they were forced to spend up to twenty-five minutes a day in this screening process, and argued that under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) they should be compensated for this time.

 

Please see this month’s Employment Law Alert for further details.
Feel free to contact any member of our Employment Law Group with any questions.