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 "Heads Up” - HR Hot Topics



DOL Exempt Final Rule           



 EEOC Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination


DOL Agencies Announce Rulemaking Priorities
The Department of Labor's (DOL) Wage and Hour Division and Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) have a busy year before them, according to their spring regulatory agendas. The Wage and Hour Division listed five rules it's working on, while the OFCCP listed four.


Veteran Hiring Bill Has a Fighting Chance
Despite a parliamentary procedure in the Senate that puts enactment on pause, the chances of the bipartisan Hire More Heroes Act eventually being enacted remain good. The bill has strong bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.


Coaching Teens on the Job

About 22 million teens in America are eligible to work. As summer approaches, managers may find themselves spending extra time training these adolescents, schooling them in workplace etiquette, and even coaching them through the anxiety and self-doubt that inevitably surface as teens begin what may be their first, regular-paying job.


No Pre-employment Drug Tests Without Suspicion

A federal judge says the city of Key West was violating the Fourth Amendment by requiring job applicants to take drug tests.

Last year, Karen Voss was excited to begin her new job as Recycling Coordinator for the city, but that all changed when she arrived to fill out her HR paperwork.  When she was told she had to provide a urine sample for a drug test, Voss refused, saying the city couldn’t demand a test without suspicion. The city revoked the job offer and gave the position to someone else.

The ACLU took the case to court, arguing that the policy treated applicants like suspected criminals.  A federal judge declared the city’s policy to be unconstitutional, as it violated their protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.  There is no word on whether Voss has been offered another opportunity.


House Plans to Move on Anti-Human-Trafficking Proposal; Big Consequences for Employers 
As previously reported in the HR Issues Update, the U.S. House of Representatives is poised to turn its attention to a bill, the Fraudulent Overseas Recruitment and Trafficking Elimination Act of 2013 (FORTE Act), introduced by Rep. Edward Royce (R-CA). As introduced, the FORTE Act is aimed at combatting labor trafficking and is part of a wider anti-human-trafficking legislative effort planned by House leaders in the coming weeks.

Minimum Wage Update—Action in the U.S. Senate 
On April 30, the U.S. Senate failed to invoke cloture by a vote of 54 to 42  on S. 2223, the Minimum Wage Fairness Act, introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) that would increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour in three steps. The legislation would then provide for automatic annual increases linked to changes in the cost of living. 

Day on the Hill Presentation
HR Florida Policy Update Presentation


Wage Theft Bill Update


As an update, late Thursday the Senate committee considering the wage theft bill (SB 926) adopted a committee substitute (attached) which now looks like it will be moving forward toward approval by the Senate.  The bill creates a cause of action for wage theft and provides that any action must be brought in County Court.   The good news – the bill requires an employee to first notify the employer of a claim before bringing an action and allow the employer 7 days to pay up.  Further, non-economic damages and attorney’s fees are not recoverable in these cases.  Finally, there is a 1 year statute of limitations.  The bad news – the bill permits an award of unpaid wages, times two.  Essentially, the court can award “liquidated damages.”

Wage Theft Bill Substitute


High Court Says Severance Is Taxable
Severance payments are taxable wages under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), the Supreme Court has ruled in a unanimous decision. Observers say the high court’s decision reaffirms what has been long-standing law: that severance paid to employees in lump sums is taxable as wages for both income-tax withholding and FICA purposes.
NLRB: College Football Players Are Employees

Scholarship football players for Northwestern University are employees who may organize, be represented by a union and collectively bargain, a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decided. The university is expected to appeal, but, in the meantime, board observers are left to wonder whether the ruling will survive an appeal to the full board and, if so, just how extensive the decision’s impact will be.

SHRM Members Endorse Greater E-Verify Use If Improved
Human resource professionals overwhelmingly support specific improvements to E-Verify, the federal government’s electronic employment verification system, according to a recent survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management.


3/13/14:  Proposed Change to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

It is anticipated that, yet this week, President Barack Obama will formally announce a proposed change to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to direct the Department of Labor to revamp its regulations to require overtime pay for several million exempt employees who are currently classified as “executive or professional.”

As you know, under the FLSA 541 Regulations, an employee qualifies as exempt from the overtime requirements if he or she satisfies a “duties test” (does specific job responsibilities under the executive, administrative, professional, computer and outside sales regulations) and the employee is paid on a “salary basis” (that is, salary does not fluctuate based on hours that the person works). Under the current regulation, the employee must be paid a salary of $455 per week to meet the salary basis test. If the changes to the overtime regulations are made, it will fall to the Labor Department’s wage and hour administrator to put them into effect.

Although we still know little about what changes to the duties tests the administration will propose, it is likely that the changes will touch almost every employer and employee in the country. At this time, it is not clear whether the change to the FLSA will be issued as a proposed regulation from the Department of Labor (which is the normal process for a change of this magnitude) or an Executive Order from the administration, as a formal proposal has not yet been released by the administration.

According to press reports, the proposal will likely include an increase to the “salary basis” amount from $455 a week “by a significant amount.” This means that a substantial number of employees currently classified as exempt from the overtime requirements would be eligible for overtime pay.

3/5/14:  Overtime, Exempt, Non-exempt. Have questions??? Quick reference docs below.
Reference document #1.
Reference document #2.

2/19/14:  For Midsize Employers, PPACA Mandate Delayed Until 2016
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) employer "shared responsibility" mandate, originally set to take effect in January 2014 but delayed last year until 2015, will now be phased in so that midsize employers will not be subject to "play-or-pay" penalties until 2016, the U.S. Treasury Department has announced. The department issued a new final rule and related questions and answers on Employer Shared Responsibility Under the Affordable Care Act.


2/11/14:  You can find more info on the topics below at

  • The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) once again is proposing "quickie election” rules to streamline the union campaign period, the board announced Feb. 5, 2014.


  • By March 2014 the Wage and Hour Division at the Department of Labor (DOL) will issue a proposal to revise the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) definition of "spouse” based on the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, the agency promised in its Nov. 26, 2013, regulatory guidance.  


  • Whether or not Congress votes to boost the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, plenty of employers are responding to minimum-wage increases being imposed at the state and local levels, some of which are subject to automatic raises tied to inflation.




National Labor Relation Board's (NLRB) Report of the Acting General Counsel Concerning Social Media

Employment Law Guide
This Guide, prepared by the office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy and posted on the Department of Labor website describes the major statutes and regulations administered by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that affect businesses and workers. The Guide is designed mainly for those needing "hands-on" information to develop wage, benefit, safety and health, and nondiscrimination policies for businesses.

Statutory and regulatory changes will occur over time, which may affect the information in this Guide.  For the latest information on all laws check this site periodically.

Florida Government Information Locator Service (FGILS) is a comprehensive list of Florida government sites. Copy the following link into your internet search bar:


U.S. Department of Labor updated information on FMLA:


Workplace Law Bulletin
Published twice a month, the Workplace Law Bulletin from provides the most recent legal news relevant to HR, plus a chart of upcoming compliance deadlines. You can sign up for free newsletters at the following link:


Employment Law Information 


Write Your Elected Officials!


SHRM National



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