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A skilled labor and employment attorney and highly educated labor management scholar, Rob advises clients across the United States, including closely held companies, publicly traded corporations, local units of government, K-12 school districts, charter schools, community colleges, and state universities.

On April 23, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) published a set of final regulations dramatically increasing the salary level most executive, professional, and administrative employees must be paid to retain their overtime exempt status under the Fair Labor Standards Act. In most respects, and after considering 33,000 comments, the final regulations are similar to those proposed last September. The DOL has “dug-in” on many of the proposed regulations’ controversial terms. The changes are to the salary level test, only. The DOL did not modify the other two tests most workers must satisfy to be deemed exempt, i.e., the salary basis test and the duties test.Continue Reading New Overtime Exemption Rules Announced: What Employers Need to Know and Do

On January 9, 2024, the U.S. Department of Labor issued final rules for employers to determine if a worker is an independent contractor or employee. Workers who do not meet the new criteria under the rule must be classified as employees and subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act  (“FLSA”) protections and requirements. If misclassified, these workers must be treated as employees and will be eligible for overtime pay, unless they otherwise satisfy the requirements to be considered exempt, and be subject to the minimum wage requirements under the FLSA. The employer would also need to comply with the recordkeeping requirements and maintain daily and weekly time records for the worker.Continue Reading To Be or Not to Be (An Independent Contractor): U.S. Department of Labor Issues Final Rules for Employers

Over the past decade or so, there’s been much effort by the government to expand the scope of who may be deemed a joint employer. Those efforts have been to make contractors and their subcontractors, franchisors and their franchisees, and staffing agencies and their clients, joint employers. If they are joint employers, then one may be liable for the employment law wrongs of the other, and one may even have to engage in collective bargaining with respect to employees on the other joint employer’s payroll. Major efforts in this regard were made during the Obama Administration, all of which were rolled back during the Trump Administration.Continue Reading The Rules on Who’s a Joint Employer Have Dramatically Changed

On August 30, 2023, the U.S. Department of Labor announced its proposed new regulations on who can be treated as exempt from overtime pay. These proposals have been in the pipeline for nearly two years, with many in the business community anxious about what to expect. Some of that anxiety was somewhat undeserved, but some fears have been realized.Continue Reading DOL Proposes New White Collar Exemption Regulations – Legal Issues Abound!

Over the last two years, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) has been aggressively trying to expand its coverage in a manner that has taken many employers of non-unionized employees by surprise. Many rules and concepts that have been in place for decades without challenge have been turned on their heads and are now construed to be illegal. One example is a decision by the NLRB earlier this year in McLaren Macomb ruling that common confidentiality and non-disparagement provisions in settlement and separation agreements are illegal, as a matter of law, because they could – at least theoretically – chill a worker’s right to engage in concerted activity  protected under  the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). The takeaway from these actions by the NLRB and its General Counsel is that all policies and practices of every employer – unionized and non-unionized – will be scrutinized under the NLRB’s new highly powered microscope. In other words, employers watch out!Continue Reading Employee Handbooks: The Pendulum Swings Back Questioning the Legality of Many Common Policies

In a case decided by the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) on February 23, 2023, provisions in separation and settlement agreements regarding non-disparagement and confidentiality may run afoul of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA” or “Act”). On March 22, 2023, in an effort to provide guidance as to the scope and impact of the decision, the NLRB’s General Counsel issued a Guidance for how its regional offices should evaluate these agreements going forward. The Guidance suggests that the decision has even broader ramifications than initially thought. As described below, the decision along with the Guidance should cause employers to pause before inserting many commonly used provisions in these types of agreements.Continue Reading Non-Union and Union Employers Beware: Basic Provisions in Separation and Settlement Agreements Are Now Illegal

Dykema attorneys Robert Boonin and Sean Darke will be presenting the above entitled webinar for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce on January 18, 2023. They will address how the legal landscape for employers has changed since the pandemic, the 2020 election, and 2022 mid-term elections, which may surprise many employers and which may require major changes to their approaches to employment relations. The webinar, which will have interactive Q&A, will highlight the biggest developments and provide participants guidance on how to reduce their liability going forward, and to otherwise avoid unwittingly stepping on a legal land mines triggering significant liability. Continue Reading What Employers Need to Know Now! The Top Legal Changes and Issues for 2023!

The U.S. Department of Labor on Tuesday unveiled a six-step “economic realities” test that looks to narrow the ability of employers to classify workers as independent contractors. The changes have broad implications as to whether, under federal law; workers are entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay; employers must comply with recordkeeping requirements for such employees; and payroll taxes such as FICA, workers’ compensation, and unemployment must be paid with respect to these workers. The misclassification of workers as independent contractors also can have dire consequences for employers based on the potential assessment of liquidated (double) damages and attorney’s fees under the Fair Labor Standards Act, particularly where such claims are brought as collective actions. The Department suggests that 10-30% of employers in the private sector are, per the proposed rule, misclassifying employees as contractors.
Continue Reading Employees in Disguise: Proposed Rule Would Roll Back Trump-era Independent Contractor Rule

On Thursday, July 28, 2022, the Michigan Supreme Court issued its opinion in Rouch World, LLC v. Department of Civil Rights, finding in a 5-2 decision that Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (“ELCRA”) protects against discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. While so holding, the Court overturned precedent set nearly 30 years ago by the Michigan Court of Appeals in Barbour v. Department of Social Services. That court had relied upon then analogous federal precedent in holding that the same statute did not extend protection on the basis of sexual orientation, as “sex” in the context of ELCRA meant only “gender discrimination, not discrimination based on sexual orientation.”
Continue Reading Michigan Supreme Court Recognizes Protection Under State Law Against Discrimination Based on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation