Is it back to school or back to work for private college and university teaching assistants, research assistants and fellows? An historic August 23rd ruling by the NLRB said, in essence, these categories are employees first and students second. The case stems from a Columbia University group that sought to unionize. The NLRB’s decision, which overturns a decision from Brown University ten years ago, means if this category pursues and obtains union recognition, they can engage in collective bargaining activities and even go on strike. Nemeth Law attorney Kellen Myers offers highlights of the decision and a word of caution for Michigan’s more than 30 private colleges and universities. Read More ›

Remember the I-9 forms you are supposed to have your employees sign within three days of their start date? If you haven’t been taking them seriously, now’s the time to do so. Effective August 1, 2016 the minimum penalty per violation increased from $110 to $216 and the maximum penalty soared to $2,056 from $1,100 per violation. It’s a rapid way to adjust for inflation! The financial penalty increase presents a strong reason to conduct an internal I-9 form audit; Nemeth Law founder Patricia Nemeth explains. Read More ›

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Unions can now petition to hold a union election with temporary and staffing company employees, along with the permanent employees of a company contracting with the staffing company, in a single union election. Because the employment services industry, which includes employment placement agencies and temporary help services, is “one of the largest and fastest growing industries in terms of employment,” the significance of this decision cannot be overstated. Read More ›

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The routine process of filling out an I-9 form when hiring a new worker could soon become costly for unwary employers. Starting August 1, 2016, penalties for I-9 paperwork violations will nearly double. The increased penalties were spurred by a new law which required federal agencies to increase the level of civil monetary penalties they issue to adjust for inflation. (See, the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015) Read More ›

Pokémon NO? Nemeth Law looks at the latest fad and its impact on employers.  Is the new craze cutting into your workplace productivity? With more users than Twitter, the game likely has at least some of your employees distracted. What to do? Nemeth Law attorney Kellen Myers encourages employers to review and update mobile phone use policies, discipline employees consistently when necessary and, don’t be a killjoy, allow employees to enjoy the fun on breaks and at lunch. Read More ›

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Pokémon Go, the smartphone app, made its debut mere weeks ago but already has exploded across the nation (and world). Some estimates say that downloads for Pokémon Go have already surpassed the total number of daily active Twitter users. With that number of users, one inevitable question is how employee use of this game could impact workplaces. Here are some issues for employers to consider. Read More ›

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This month marks 11 years since 2,500 workers at the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News began a 19-month strike. Over the course of the strike, picketers blockaded printing plants, supervisors were cursed, carriers were robbed of their papers, cars were vandalized, delivery trucks were driven into crowds, tires were punctured by metal star nails, and police officers in riot gear used pepper spray and force to disperse crowds as strikers pelted them with auto parts and swatted at them with signs. Read More ›

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Yesterday, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued a court order temporarily preventing the Department of Labor (DOL) from enforcing its new “Persuader Rule.” In his order, U.S. District Judge Sam Cummings ruled that “the new rule is defective to its core because it entirely eliminates the LMRDA’s advice exemption.” Accordingly, Judge Cummings issued a court order not only preventing the DOL from enforcing the new Persuader Rule in Texas, but anywhere in the nation. Read More ›

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In the wake of what has been condemned as the worst terror attack on U.S. soil since 9/11, we should all be reminded of our duty to respond appropriately to suspicious behavior. Media outlets are now reporting that Omar Mateen worked as a security guard in Florida for British firm G4S since 2007. According to news reports, in the years prior to the attack in Orlando, at least one former co-worker had made complaints to management at G4S that Mateen used racial, ethnic and sexist slurs and talked about killing people. Although G4S is not responding to questions about Mateen’s conduct raised by the former co-worker, employers should take a moment to make sure they  have procedures in place for reporting and responding to complaints about employee behavior, whether through a non-harassment/discrimination policy or procedure or a non-violence policy or procedure. Read More ›

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Earlier this year the U.S. Department of Labor filed a lawsuit against U.S. Steel Corporation, Inc. in federal court alleging that the company violated the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act). So what did the company do to merit a federal lawsuit by a government agency? It required its employees to report work-related injuries immediately and disciplined two employees who did not. Specifically, the complaint alleges that the policy required “all employees to report immediately all injuries to a supervisor.” Most employers (if not all) would be shocked to learn that requiring compliance with such a commonplace policy may be considered unlawful.   Read More ›

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