According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, about 2 million U.S. workers each year are victims of workplace violence. While no one can predict or prevent every incident, employers do have a duty to take reasonable steps to keep their workers safe from workplace violence.
Companies like Lyft, Uber and the like have been using a new model for delivering their services to customers. Instead of hiring employees, they rely on contract workers -- even for their core business. This is often called the "gig economy" model.
The U.S. Department of Labor recently took a new position on the timing of leave taken under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Many employers allow or even require workers to use up their sick time and other paid time off before initiating an FMLA leave. In a March 14 opinion letter, the DOL said that practice is improper. FMLA leave must begin to run within five days of the employer learning that leave is being taken for reasons covered by the FMLA.
"When you get cultural change on civil rights, it happens because industry leaders do the right thing," said the commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently.
Employers with more than 100 employees will soon be required to submit detailed reports on how their workers are paid, broken down by gender, race and ethnicity. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission passed a rule requiring the reports in 2016, but the rule was halted by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Now, a judge has ordered the rule to move forward. What remains unclear is whether companies will have to begin submitting the reports by the original deadline of May 31.
When an employee makes a complaint about a co-worker or supervisor, it's crucial to get to the truth. After all, employers must take reasonable steps to protect employees from discrimination and harassment, which are among the most common complaints. At the same time, both the accused and the accuser have reputations and careers to protect. Ideally, the employer is a neutral arbiter on the issue.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has just overruled a previous case that had expanded the definition of independent contractor for the purposes of the National Labor Relations Act. In its SuperShuttle DFW Inc. decision, the board has brought that definition into greater alignment with the definition used by other agencies such as the Department of Labor and the IRS.