The flexible work arrangement has become a norm in the post-pandemic time, presenting hurdles among company decision-makers when it comes to employee classification. Misclassifying an employee as an independent contractor can pose legal risks to employers including liability claims related to employment taxes, interest, and penalties.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact workplace situations in the U.S., the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently released guidance to clarify employers’ growing concern on the application of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other EEOC laws.
Regulatory uptakes on anti-competitive restrictions in labor markets is expected to ramp up with the Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the lead. Recently, the DOJ filed Statement of Interest on several pending cases to provide courts with significant guidance on the analysis of “no-poach” agreements and clarified that alleged cases of “no-poach” agreements do not automatically warrant per se review.
Issues concerning employee misclassification continue to grow, as employers often misunderstand the legal distinctions between employees and independent contractors. While many employers are tempted to hire and classify their workers as independent contractors, they often fail to appreciate both the legal requirements necessary to accomplish this, and the disastrous financial outcomes that can result from their mistake. It is essential that employers understand and follow the complex and often confusing rules issued by state and federal agencies as well as the U.S. courts.
The COVID-19 virus has posed unprecedented challenges for employers of all sizes. Agencies at the federal, state, and local levels are issuing a stream of guidance and orders that are updated on a daily basis. Relatedly, employers are trying to familiarize themselves with the obligations imposed and benefits conferred by a barrage of new legislation.
Class actions alleging labor law violations continue to hound employers throughout the country. As the volume of these cases increases, new court rulings also continue to emerge and reshape the litigation landscape. Anticipated court rulings which employers should follow in 2020 include Retirement Plans Committee Of IBM v. Jander, et al., Intel Corp. Investment Policy Committee v. Sulyma, et al., and Thole, et al. v. U.S. Bank, N.A.
Classifying whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee is crucial for businesses. However, although most employers try to do it right, many of them still misunderstand the legal distinctions between the two. This typically results in worker misclassification, making employers at risk of enforcement actions and financial penalties.
The Department of Labor Regulations on disclosure of 401(k) plan fees and expenses are designed to provide transparency to participants in a user-friendly format, allowing for an apples-to-apples comparison of fees and expenses under a plan’s investment options that impact participant account balances, and a look under the hood on plan administration costs charged to participant accounts. But greater disclosure can lead to greater scrutiny, and an essential duty for plan sponsors is monitoring fees and expenses that could reduce participant account balances, and timely addressing excesses.
The past years have seen changing tides on the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) litigation landscape. The number of lawsuits filed in federal courts, which chiefly stemmed from alleged violations on websites and mobile application accessibility, has continuously increased. As regulatory developments and court decisions are yet to unfold, the ADA litigation landscape remains uncertain. Thus, businesses and their counsel must keep themselves in the know of any emerging update in this field of law. They must also revisit their practices to ensure ADA compliance and dodge potential lawsuits.
Numerous policy changes and trends concerning wage and hour have made the landscape more complicated and challenging. Recently, the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the US Department of Labor (DOL) released six opinion letters which aimed to address a raft of issues under the Fair Labor and Standards Act (FLSA).
The ever-changing landscape of non-compete law continues to give rise to significant developments that companies need to be aware of. Recently, several new state laws have been adopted to limit non-compete agreements’ enforceability, thus, further complicating matters for employers. At the federal level, the Freedom to Compete Act has been introduced in the Senate to prohibit non-compete pacts for minimum wage earners. Moreover, with a pandemic in the backdrop, many other issues have also emerged.
Over the past years, employee arbitration agreements have been helpful in preventing employment-related lawsuits. If properly executed, arbitration clauses provide several benefits to both employers and employees. These benefits include the resolution of claims away from the public, the ability to select the arbitrator, and the faster process by which conflicts are resolved. Arbitration of claims is also significant in redirecting employment-related cases from overburdened courts.