"Winning" An Employment Dispute?


Just look at the headline of this article:

“Wal-Mart Workers Win $62 Million”

What is wrong with this headline and picture?

Everything.

“The Lotto Mentality” has officially infected our business culture, to the determent of business owners and to the employees who truly deserve compensation for wrong.

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Overtime Gets A Little More Complicated in California

An employee makes a false claim for overtime. He says it’s a mistake, but you believe otherwise, so you fire him.

That’s OK, right?

Uh..not so fast. A new court decision, Barbosa v. Impco Technologies, makes that a wrongful termination.

Here’s the recap and implications from Christopher W. Olmsted of Barker Olmsted & Barnier.

Independent Contractor or Employee? Better Be Sure, And Fast!

Many employers incorrectly classify an employee as an independent contractor.  Some employers do it intentionally (to avoid workers’ compensation and payroll taxes); but most are unaware of what the difference in classification actually is.

If you use Independent Contractors (also known as 1099’s), you better audit all of them at once.  The IRS is about to launch comprehensive audits of 6,000 businesses.  The focus is – you guessed it – properly classifying employees.

Please take a moment to review the criteria the IRS uses to determine whether a person should be classified as an employee or Independent Contractor.  It’s about control.  I’ve had clients insist a person is classified as a 1099 simply because that person requested classification that way! (That’s wrong as well, by the way).

Get a qualified consultant or employment attorney to audit your practices and procedures as soon as possible.

Courtesy Baker Hostetler

Nevada Wage & Hour Lawsuits

We’ve been warning employers for several months that wage & hour compliance issues will result in numerous lawsuits this year – especially in Nevada.

It’s starting to happen.

Wells Fargo & AutoZone have been sued (class-action status is currently pending) for mis-classifying employees.

With Wells Fargo, business banking specialists were allegedly mis-classified as exempt (from overtime, meal and rest breaks) when they were required to be ‘on-call’ on certain evenings.

In AutoZone’s case, Assistant Managers were not compensated for working overtime (this is a case very reminiscent of the Long’s Drugstore case in 2004).

The federal government is taking Wage & Hour violations seriously: Labor Secretary Hilda Solis recently announced plans to add 250 field investigators, increasing staff by 33%. The DOL believes 7 out of 10 businesses are not in compliance with Wage & Hour laws.

Garry Mathiason of Littler recently wrote:

No employment-law trend is more certain, universal or important than the total wage-and-hour compliance initiative and stopping the epidemic of wage-and-hour class-action (lawsuits)…

More ominous and prescient are these words from Mathiason (and, I believe, completely true):

With thousands of plaintiffs’ attorneys examining every aspect of the payroll process, employers must expect maximum scrutiny…”Every employee who is terminated or demoted, or who experiences an unpleasant workplace event, is encouraged by Internet and television advertising to seek the advice of counsel. In almost every intake interview, the attorney’s questioning turns to wage-and-hour issues in an attempt to find additional claims. Inspired by the prospect of turning a small individual claim into a multimillion-dollar class-action, the organization’s wage-and-hour compliance goes under the microscope.”

Thanks to Las Vegas Sun.

Wage & Hour Enforcement On The Rise

We’ve written previously on the increase in wage & hour claims by employees. Now, the federal Department of Labor is joining the fray.

The DOL has proposed hiring 200 new investigators in their wage & hour division for the 2010 budget. This will bring investigation staffing up to the levels last seen in 2001.

Audit. Prepare. Be proactive. It’s better than having to react to an investigation or claim.

More information from Ford & Harrison.

Nevada Minimum Wage(s) Increase on July 1

Nevada has a fairly unique minimum wage rule. Actually, it’s not one rule – it’s two.

Starting July 1 – employers who offer their employees qualified health benefits will pay a minimum wage of $6.55 per hour.

Employers who don’t offer qualified health benefits will pay a minimum of $7.55 per hour.

The details here from Fisher & Phillips.