On February 1, 2019 the Keene Sentinel reported that a Massachusetts construction company had been hit with more than $64,000 in fines after an audit conducted by the New Hampshire Department of Labor. Although the bulk of the fines were related to the misclassification of employees as independent contractors, there were also a number of recordkeeping violations found.

The Keene Sentinel article devotes significant attention to the problems of trying to classify individuals as independent contractors under NH state law, a very difficult burden to meet. The result of the audit and the fines imposed on the business, however, showcase how difficult it is for businesses who typically do not operate in a state to establish a workforce there and be in compliance with state laws.

Continue Reading Trials of Massachusetts Company Building Keene Hotel Signals Warning to Businesses with Multi-State Workforces

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is proposing a measure, which, if passed, would make the Big Apple the first place in the nation to require private-sector employers to provide paid vacation to employees.  The details of the plan have not yet been released, but the New York Times is reporting that the law would require private employers with five or more employees to provide at least two weeks of paid vacation.  City Hall officials have estimated that approximately half a million NYC workers would benefit from the new law.

Continue Reading NYC Mayor Proposes Mandatory Paid Vacation for Private-Sector Workers

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees the E-Verify program, has announced that the website www.e-verify.gov will not be available to employers during the current partial government shutdown. The website will not be managed or updated until after funding is restored. DHS reported that “information on this website may not be up to date. Transactions submitted via this website might not be processed and we will not be able to respond to inquiries until after appropriations are enacted.” Continue Reading During Fight Over Funding for Border Security, E-Verify Closed for Business

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With the first recreational marijuana retail shops now opening in locations throughout Massachusetts, one legislator is proposing protections for employees who choose to use the newly-legal drug on their own time.  The Boston Globe is reporting that Jason Lewis, a state senator from Winchester, Massachusetts, is planning on introducing legislation in the new year that, if passed, would prevent most employers from terminating or disciplining employees for off-duty, legal use of marijuana.

Continue Reading Proposed Legislation Would Prevent Employers From Firing Employees For Off-Duty Marijuana Use

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In July 2018, Governor Charlie Baker signed the BRAVE Act, a wide-ranging piece of legislation including a number of provisions aimed at increasing the support and services available to veterans and their families.  Among other things, the act provides increased tax relief and access to educational programs and other resources to veterans.  The BRAVE Act also updates state law with regard to the time off provided to veterans on Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

Continue Reading Massachusetts Veterans Entitled to Time Off on Veterans Day

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Perusing LinkedIn, as I often do over morning coffee, I saw this plea on one of the human resources groups I follow.  Not having the time to read it carefully, I put it aside in my “fodder for future blog posts” folder.  Like most of the people who responded quickly with advice for the human resource professional who sought help from her colleagues, my first thought was “big red flag.”  How can a company operate with all leaders and no workers, with all executives and no support staff?  The reality is that very few businesses of any size can realistically classify all of its workers as exempt.

Continue Reading FLSA Experts, please help. Can a small biz have all exempt employees?

On June 6, 2018, National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) General Counsel Peter B. Robb issued a memorandum (“GC 18-04”) to NLRB Regional Directors providing guidance on how to analyze employee handbook rules in the wake of the Board’s recent decision in The Boeing Co., 365 NLRB No. 154 (2017).  This guidance provides employers with a helpful road map for navigating the Board’s new three-category—and more employer-friendly—approach to evaluating the lawfulness of employer handbook rules by balancing the employer’s interests against an employee’s right to engage in protected, concerted activity under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

Continue Reading NLRB General Counsel Issues Post-Boeing Guidance Memorandum On Employer Handbook Rules

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The stories are legendary:  the employee who calls in sick and then posts a picture of himself dressed as a fairy at a Halloween party hundreds of miles away; the video of the salesman in a drunken stupor at a conference he is attending on the company’s dime; and just this past week, the New York City lawyer railing against an employee and a customer speaking Spanish to one another in a restaurant.  An individual’s social media can be a treasure trove of information about a person and could give insight into a person’s character and habits that might not become apparent until months or years of employment have gone by, perhaps never.

Continue Reading To Google or Not to Google: The Potential Pitfalls of Using Social Media in Hiring