New Overtime Rules Released

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This morning, the Department of Labor released its final rule regarding the White Collar Exemptions.   I am still working through the over 500 page document but post now to share a few of the most important details.

The new rule is expected to affect over 4 million workers in the United States, who will now be eligible for overtime unless their compensation is restructured.  The rule goes into effect on December 1,

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Defend Trade Secrets Act Sent to Obama for Signature

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After passing the Senate (87-0) and the House (410-2), the bill known as Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (“DTSA”) is off to President Obama for signature.  Every indicator signals the President’s approval of this proposed law.  The DTSA would amend the federal criminal code to create a private civil cause of action for trade secret misappropriation.  The bill expresses the sense of Congress that: (1) trade secret theft occurs in the United States and around the world,

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President Obama’s U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Shows Consistent Deference to Employment Agencies

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Today, President Obama nominated Merrick B. Garland as his choice to fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy left by the recent death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Chief Judge Garland was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia by President Clinton in 1997 and became Chief Judge on February 12, 2013. He received wide, bipartisan support for his nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals. Seven of the Republican Senators who voted for his 1997 nomination still serve in the U.S.

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NLRB Attacks Dish Network’s Solicitation and Distribution Policy

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On March 3, 2016, in Dish Network, LLC, 363 NLRB No. 141, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) struck down Dish Network’s policy prohibiting certain solicitation and distribution of literature in the workplace.  The policy in question read:

In the interest of maintaining a  proper business environment and preventing interference with work and inconvenience to others, employees … may not distribute literature … of a personal nature by any means,

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Forrest R. Goodrum Joins Sperry Law Office

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Sperry Law Office, PLLC is pleased to announce that Forrest R. Goodrum has joined the firm “of counsel.” Forrest will be advising and assisting the firm in a wide range of matters from commercial transactions to complex business litigation.

Forrest attended the University of North Carolina (B.S. 1968) and Rutgers Law School (J.D. 1971). Forrest practiced in New Jersey for over 20 years, both in private practice and later as Vice-President and General Counsel of Lincoln Federal Savings.

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Nondisclosure Clauses are NOT “Just Boilerplate”

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Your company may have entered into a settlement agreement with an employee, vendor, customer, or other party. The settlement could have been months or years ago, and while you recall that the matter settled, you may not remember all of the settlement agreement provisions.

Settlement agreements often contain a nondisclosure clause requiring the parties to the agreement to keep the matter confidential. A typical clause might read as follows:

As part of the consideration for this Agreement,

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The EEOC Has Been Busy . . . .

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Just days before its proposed rule on changes to its EEO-1 form and reporting requirements, on January 21, 2016, the EEOC released proposed changes to its Retaliation Enforcement Guidance.  While this document does not carry the force or weight of regulations or statutes, it can guide a court’s reasoning.  This 76-page document purports to summarize the law of retaliation and provide its investigators with information to help them conduct and complete their investigations.

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Obama Administration Taking Actions to “Advance Equal Pay for all Workers”

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On the 7th anniversary of President Obama’s signing into law his first piece of legislation as President, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, he announced “several additional actions that his administration is taking to advance equal pay for all workers and further empower working families.”

The most interesting additional action would affect employers with 100 or more employees.  These companies would be required, on an annual basis, to report details of what they pay their employees categorized by race,

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DoL Publishes Joint Employer Interpretation

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On January 20, 2016, the Wage and Hour Division released an Administrator’s Interpretation concerning joint employment under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act. The interpretation identifies common scenarios in which two or more employers jointly employ an employee and are thus jointly liable for compliance. It pulls together all the relevant authorities – statutory provisions, regulations, and case law – to provide comprehensive guidance on joint employment under FLSA and MSPA so that employers can properly analyze a potential joint employment scenario.

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House to Consider Federal Intern Protection Act of 2015 this Week

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On January 7, the House Majority Leader indicated that H.R. 3231, the “Federal Intern Protection Act of 2015,” may be considered in the House this week.  The resolution would extend protections against discrimination in the workplace based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability to interns and applicants for internship.  Interns are defined in the resolution as individuals who perform uncompensated voluntary service in an agency to earn credit awarded by an educational institution or to learn a trade or occupation.

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