Polsinelli at Work |  Labor & Employment Blog

Employers, whether large or small, face an ever-growing web of workplace regulations and potential entanglements with employees. With employment litigation and advocacy experience as our strength, preventing legal problems from arising is our goal.  Our Labor & Employment attorneys advise management on complex employee relations and workplace issues. 19 offices; 800+ attorneys. 


New DOL Rule on Salary Threshold for Exempt Status Under Challenge in Federal Court, But Don’t Defer Compliance Efforts…

New DOL Rule on Salary Threshold for Exempt Status Under Challenge in Federal Court, But Don’t Defer Compliance Efforts…

By Carol Barnett

Litigation challenging the new DOL regulations that, among other things, set a minimum salary threshold of $47,476 for exempt status, white-collar workers, was recently filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. A group of 21 states filed suit: Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin.

The states claim that the new salary threshold rule will force local and state governments to unfairly increase the costs of employment. The chief argument appears to be that the new rule, by more than doubling the previous minimum of $455 per week to $913 per week (or $23,660 changed to $47,476, annualized), will wreak havoc on State budgets and is in violation of the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. (The Tenth Amendment reserves for the States all powers not specifically delegated to the federal government.)

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Unused Vacation Not “Priceless” in Colorado

Unused Vacation Not “Priceless” in Colorado

By Gillian McKean Bidgood

Time off is important to employee morale and productivity. However, because the Colorado Wage Act requires employers to pay for accrued but unused vacation time in an employee’s final paycheck, overly generous policies can be costly.  Accrued unused vacation time is not “priceless,” and we offer three legal developments and reasons for Colorado employers to re-visit their vacation and time off policies now.

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5 Tips for Handling Employee Secret Recordings

5 Tips for Handling Employee Secret Recordings

By Anne Baggott

Employees’ secret workplace recordings are nothing new to many employers, but a recent, high-profile settlement may tempt employees to record their employers more often. In early September 2016, Fox News settled sexual harassment and retaliation claims of former anchor Gretchen Carlson for $20 million. Carlson had secretly taped the network’s CEO and President Roger Ailes for more than a year.

Employers should assume their employees are recording them in the workplace and act accordingly. The proliferation of smartphones with built-in recorders has made audio recordings possible at virtually all times. Most states allow one-party consent for recordings, which is accomplished when the party doing the recording knows they are recording, and therefore “consents.”

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What Does it Mean To “Blow the Whistle” Under The Dodd-Frank Act? Courts Provide Different Answers

What Does it Mean To “Blow the Whistle” Under The Dodd-Frank Act? Courts Provide Different Answers

By Brian Zickefoose

As discussed in our September 12, 2016 Labor & Employment blog post, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) continues to incentive employees to “blow the whistle” on their employers for alleged securities violations. What happens when the complaint of alleged securities impropriety is made only to the employer, rather than the SEC? Is the employee’s complaint protected? If you do not know the answer, you are not alone. Dozens of district courts and several appellate courts across the country have come to opposite conclusions when faced with the question of whether employees may seek the protections of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act) when making purely internal complaints to their employer.

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Fluctuating Workweek Pay Method: Quick “Fix” for the Upcoming FLSA Salary Threshold Change?

Fluctuating Workweek Pay Method: Quick “Fix” for the Upcoming FLSA Salary Threshold Change?

By Elizabeth Gross

The impending change to the salary threshold for the “white collar” overtime exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) (from $23,660 to $47,476) has employers making tough decisions—“Should we raise an employee’s salary above the threshold?” “Do our employees still qualify for the exemption, even with a raise?” “Can we keep our employees’ pay the same?”

Some employers, unable to make significant salary increases or concerned that an employee may not meet the exemption requirements, are increasingly considering the “fixed salary for fluctuating hours” method of compensation for non-exempt employees. This so-called fluctuating workweek method allows a previously exempt employee to continue to receive a regular salary, but does not require the employer to raise the once-exempt employee’s salary to the new threshold.

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