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Showing 7 posts from April 2014.

Severance Payments are Wages Subject to FICA Taxes

On March 24, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court held in United States v. Quality Stores, Inc., 572 U.S. ____ (2014), No. 12-1408, that severance payments made to employees terminated in connection with a company’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan are taxable wages under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). The ruling resolves a split among federal circuits and affects all employers who provide severance pay. More >

Equal Pay Executive Orders Affect Federal Contractors

On April 8, 2014, President Obama signed two Executive Orders affecting federal government contractors. The signing was timed to coincide with National Equal Pay Day, the day that symbolizes how far into the next year women must work to earn what men earned the previous year. According to the Washington Post, the President’s actions were part of a Democratic effort to focus on gender pay gap issues and motivate women to vote in the midterm congressional elections. More >

Detecting FMLA Abuse

Dealing with employees who abuse FMLA can be difficult. Letting abuse run rampant, however, can impact business productivity and put a damper on company morale (as present employees often have to pick up the slack of someone on leave). Employers who detect abuse must proceed with caution because it is very easy to run afoul of regulations.

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Curbing FMLA Abuse

The Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) permits eligible employees to take up to 12 work weeks of leave during a 12-month period if a serious health condition makes the employee unable to perform the functions of his or her position. When an employer suspects that an employee is abusing the FMLA leave, employers may feel caught in a classic Catch-22. They can ignore the abuse and operate with a reduced workforce, or subject themselves to an interference or defamation suit if they decide to challenge or confront the employee about the questionable leave.

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What Does the Northwestern Decision Mean for Unions?

It is not often that a decision from the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) makes headlines, but the recent decision declaring Northwestern scholarship football players as “employees” of the university has done just that. While those in the sports world are theorizing about the ruling’s impact on college athletics, the decision does offer another takeaway. More >

Does the Northwestern Decision Change the Direction of College Athletics?

On March 26, 2014, Peter Ohr, Regional Director for the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”), issued a landmark decision: a group of Northwestern football players receiving scholarships qualify as employees of their university, and have the right to form a union and bargain collectively. The decision followed after a petition was filed by the College Athletes Players Association (“CAPA”), led by former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter. The university opposed the petition, arguing that scholarship football players are akin to stipend-receiving graduate student assistants, who have historically been categorized as non-employees by the NLRB. More >

OSHA & MSHA Budget Proposals for Fiscal Year 2015

As an employment and labor law attorney, I am constantly emphasizing the importance of complying with regulations regarding employee health and safety. Training, up-to-date policies and procedures, and an environment focused on safety are the best ways to ward off costly fines and potential employee lawsuits. More >

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