Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commissioners Confirmed

The Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission is back in business as it will soon have a quorum again to decide cases. The Commission plays an important role in mine safety and health law. The Commission establishes precedential case law when it decides appeals of administrative law judge decisions in Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) cases, including citation contests and discrimination cases.

DOL Opinion Letter Clarifies Designation and Use of FMLA Leave

On March 14, 2019, Keith Sonderling, the acting administrator of the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the Department of Labor (DOL) issued an opinion letter clarifying the DOL’s position on designating and taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and placing the department at odds with the Ninth Circuit’s Escriba decision.

EEOC’s Proposed Changes May Lead to Increased Charge Activity and Subsequent Litigation

On February 22, 2019, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to update and amend procedural regulations to fully digitize the EEOC’s charge processing and records systems, clarify the meaning and significance of a “no cause” determination, and delegate the issuance of dismissals to lower-level EEOC employees.

Key Immigration Considerations During Mergers and Acquisitions, Part II: Green Cards

Part one of this two-part series outlined common considerations related to temporary work visas employers may have during the due diligence process of a merger, acquisition, or other corporate restructuring. Part two will cover key considerations for employers during a pre-close assessment of impacted foreign national workers—this time, regarding green card processing.

Initiate Petitions Now–H-1B Cap Filing Date Quickly Approaching

On April 1, 2019, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting new H-1B petitions subject to the annual quota for fiscal year 2020 (FY 2020). With the filing window quickly approaching, employers now have only a limited amount of time to identify and prepare petitions for employees who require new H-1B visas to work in the United States.

Part 541 Overtime Rule, Round 2: How the New NPRM Differs From the 2016 Proposal

On March 7, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced the release of its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to revise the regulations defining who is an executive, administrative, professional, outside sales and computer employee exempt from the overtime and minimum wage protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Texas Committee Advances Bill to Prevent Municipalities From Enacting Employment Leave Ordinances

In 2018, the city councils in both Austin and San Antonio passed ordinances to require employers to provide paid sick leave to employees. The ordinances have faced legal challenges, including a ruling in November 2018 that the Austin law is unconstitutional due to preemption by the Texas Minimum Wage Act. Neither ordinance has taken effect to date. Now the state senate has taken up the matter.

Big Labor Takes a Hit: NLRB Prohibits Unions From Forcing Nonmembers to Pay for Lobbying Activities

In a long-awaited decision, United Nurses & Allied Professionals (Kent Hospital), issued on March 1, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that a private-sector union may not require nonmember objectors (also known as Beck objectors) to pay for its political lobbying expenses because lobbying falls outside the union’s “representational function.”

Minnesota Legislative Update: Bills to Watch

The Minnesota Legislature is in session through May 20, 2019. This session promises to be very active with numerous bills affecting employers and the workplace. Major bills include paid leaves of absence (including family and sick leave), restrictions on an employer’s ability to access social media accounts, right-to-work legislation, vaccination exemptions, wage theft, and the legal standard for sexual harassment, and making available to a complaining party more information regarding the employer’s investigation and corrective action.