Medical Marijuana Use or Employer Rights – Which Comes First?

Posted by on Sep 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

By: Susan L. Swatski, Esq. (sswatski@hillwallack.com)

On September 30, 2014, the Colorado Supreme Court is set to hear argument in Coats v. Dish Network, L.L.C., about an employee’s right to use medical marijuana during non-work hours, and the employer’s right to test for the drug and discipline users. At issue is the right of an employee to use medically prescribed marijuana to help with painful spasms when he/she is not at work. Dish Network contends that it should not have to retain employees whose marijuana use violates federal law and whose performance as a result of their marijuana use could be an issue.

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California Court Finds Teacher Employment Statutes Unconstitutional

Posted by on Jul 11, 2014 in School Law, Uncategorized

By Felicity S. Hanks, Esq. (fhanks@hillwallack.com)

In a decision that has sparked interest from the beaches of Malibu to the beaches of Sea Isle, a Los Angeles County, California Superior Court ruled that three teacher employment laws – California’s Permanent Employment, Dismissal, and LIFO (last in, first out) Statutes – were unconstitutional.*[1]

Decided on June 10, 2014, the case, Vergara v. California, was brought by nine California public school students claiming that the statutes resulted in “grossly ineffective teachers” attaining tenured positions which disproportionately affected low income and minority students. The Court agreed, ruling that the three statutes violated the children’s fundamental right to equality of education.

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Fair Labor Standards Act Violations cost Chickie’s and Pete’s $6.8 Million

Posted by on Mar 6, 2014 in FLSA, Uncategorized

By Felicity S. Hanks, Esq. (fhanks@hillwallack.com)

Our region’s beloved sport’s bar and Crabfries architect, Chickie’s and Pete’s has signed a consent judgment agreeing to pay $6,842,412  for back wages and damages for violations of federal minimum wage, overtime and record keeping requirements, and for improperly taking tips from its servers.  The United Stated Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced the result of its year-long investigation into the company in a News Release dated February 20, 2014.  The News Release is available on the DOL website at:  http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/whd/WHD20140044.htm.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) sets out the federal minimum wage requirement of $7.25 per hour.  If an employee total earning with tips and its base wage do not equal the minimum wage requirement, the employer is required to make up the difference during that pay period. However, because servers typically earn tips, the restaurant owner can claim a “tip credit” and pay the employee a base wage of only $2.13.  The presumption is that the employee will receive tips that cover the difference up to the full minimum wage.

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College Football Players Attempt to Unionize

Posted by on Mar 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

By Felicity S. Hanks, Esq. (fhanks@hillwallack.com)

To continue with sports/labor theme, I want to discuss a unique labor law issue that arose just this January:  Can student athlete unionize?

Football players at Northwestern University, represented by advocacy group the National College Players Association, filed a union election petition with the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”).[1] The NLRB has statutory jurisdiction private sector employers and alleged violations of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”), which, among other things, guarantees employees the right to form a labor organization and/or join together to improve terms and conditions of employment without a union. As a private university with activities in interstate commerce, Northwestern University is subject to the NLRA.

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The Affordable Care Act – Employer Penalties Postponed Again

Posted by on Feb 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

By: Felicity S. Hanks, Esq. (fhanks@hillwallack.com)

On February 10, 2014, the Treasury Department issued a press release advising that Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) have issued final regulations implementing the employer responsibility provisions of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) that take effect in 2015. These regulations, among other things, delay and relax the employer-provided healthcare mandate.

The ACA requires employers with an equivalent of 50 or greater full-time employees (referred to as “Large Employers”) to provide affordable health benefits to all or virtually all full-time workers.  Failure to offer any healthcare coverage would result in a penalty of $2,000 per full time employees, less 30 ($2,000 x (FTE-30)).  Where a Large Employer fails to offer affordable coverage, it is subject to a penalty in the sum of the above-described penalty or $3,000 multiplied by the full time employees who received a tax credit through the healthcare exchange, whichever is less.

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The Obama Administration Gives Employers Additional Time

Posted by on Jul 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

By: Felicity S. Hanks, Esq. (fhanks@hillwallack.com

For several months employers of all shapes and sizes have been sweating the arrival of January 1, 2014, the date on which the employer-provided healthcare provision of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) became effective. This most daunting ACA provision requires employers with at least 50 full-time employees to provide health benefits to at least 95% of those full-time workers. Failure to do so would result in a penalty of $2,000 per employee (without counting the first 30 employees) per year. On July 2nd the Treasury Department announced that the administration will be extending the deadline for employers to provide healthcare coverage, thus giving employers additional time to wade through the complexities and logistics of the healthcare mandate. Official guidance is expected from the Treasury Department shortly.

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