If they don’t already, US employers must view Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, as more than just a form. Changes to the form reflect changes in law, regulation, policy, and technology. Employers must monitor Form I-9 developments and learn to read between the lines. After several years without changes, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has rolled out two new versions of Form I-9 since November 14, 2016, with the most recent version taking effect on September 18, 2017.

The recent releases of the Form I-9 coincide with an increase in a focus on employer enforcement activity and policies. The Form I-9 and the associated fines for violations and non-compliance were static since 2013. Thus, while many of the Form I-9 changes can be correctly characterized as technical and non-substantive, employers should not minimize the implications of frequent changes and governmental investments in technology enhancements.

Continue Reading Why Employers Should Care About Form I-9 Changes

The Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) held a public hearing on August 8 on its proposed rules under Arizona’s new paid sick time (PST) law of the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act. Those who attended had an opportunity to ask ICA representatives, including Labor Department Director Steve Welker, questions about the ICA’s interpretation of the law. Here’s a summary of information shared during the hearing:

Continue Reading Prop 206: ICA Answers Questions About Paid Sick Time Law

Overtime claims continue to dominate class action filings and cause significant exposure for companies in all industries.  In July alone, plaintiffs filed more than 200 class action complaints alleging overtime violations in federal courts across the country (not counting the number also filed in state court).  And because courts calculate back wages at time-and-a-half the regular rate, plus liquidated damages and other penalties, overtime mistakes can cause significant damage to a company’s bottom line.

This post kicks off a series for Steptoe’s Labor & Employment blog on the top five overtime pay violations alleged in class action complaints. The first in the series focuses on one of the most common (and most expensive) kinds of overtime blunders: misclassification of employees as exempt.

Continue Reading OT Series Kickoff: Misclassification of Exempt Employees

Today, the Ninth Circuit in Mendoza v. Nordstrom, No. 12-57144, affirmed dismissal of the plaintiffs’ California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) claims.  The plaintiffs sought to recover from the luxury retailer on behalf of themselves and other employees for violations of California’s day-of-rest rules, Cal. Labor Code §§ 551 and 552.  The court rejected the plaintiffs’ arguments that it should remand the case to permit them to name a new PAGA class representative after their underlying claims failed, reasoning that nothing prevented a proper plaintiff from filing a new suit.

Continue Reading 9th Circuit Puts Nordstrom PAGA Case to Rest

On August 2, Arizona’s highest court released a unanimous opinion explaining its March 14 rejection of several constitutional challenges to the state’s new paid sick time (PST) law. You may remember that, upon denying the requested injunction and special action relief, the Court said it would issue a written opinion further explaining its decision in due course. The August 2 opinion does just that. It discusses the constitutionality of the PST law under the Revenue Source Rule (Ariz. Const. art. 9, § 23), the Separate Amendment Rule (art. 21, § 1), and the Single Subject Rule (art. 4, pt. 2, § 13). Although informative, the opinion does not change anything for Arizona employers. The PST law remains effective and enforceable.

House Republicans recently introduced H.R. 3441, a bill that aims to clarify and narrow the definition of “joint employer” under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The bill proposes the following uniform definition:

Continue Reading House Republicans Seek to Narrow Definition of ‘Joint Employer’ Under NLRA and FLSA

This week the Democratic Party announced a new economic agenda largely focused on employment issues affecting working families. Entitled: “A Better Deal,” the agenda consists of several proposals that aim to create jobs, raise wages, and lower household costs.

For example, the agenda sets a goal to create 10 million good-paying, full-time jobs within five years through employer tax credit incentives, apprenticeships, and paid on-the-job training. It also seeks to implement paid family leave, as well as new merger standards and post-merger reviews aimed at protecting workers, consumers, and competition.

The Department of Labor posted its anticipated Request for Information on the 2016 overtime rule.  In its post, the DOL stated that it will publish the RFI in the Federal Register tomorrow, July 26. The RFI represents a preliminary step in the rulemaking process to revise the federal overtime rules set by the Obama administration. The RFI seeks comments on whether and how the DOL should set salary minimums, whether the regulations should contain multiple salary levels, and the impacts of the 2016 rule.

Stakeholders have 60 days from publication to submit comments.

Yesterday the Second Circuit cast doubt on whether an arbitrator can certify a class that includes absent class members.  The court remanded for the district court to decide “whether the arbitrator exceeded her authority in certifying a class that contained absent class members who have not opted in.”  Jock v. Sterling Jewelers, Inc., No. 15-3947-cv (2d Cir. July 24, 2017).  The case poses potentially big implications for class arbitration’s ability to resolve cases with finality.

Continue Reading Second Circuit Questions Arbitrators’ Authority Over Absent Class Members

This week the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that a fired medical marijuana user can pursue a disability discrimination claim against her former employer under the state’s anti-discrimination law. The decision is significant because it’s the first time a state’s highest court has recognized that the protections afforded under an anti-discrimination law extend to employees who use medicinal marijuana to treat disabilities.

Continue Reading Medical Marijuana User Can Bring Disability Discrimination Claim