Recent Ohio Supreme Court Decision Represents Key Victory for Ohio Employers
Posted on December 28, 2007 by Rob Stalter
On December 20, 2007, the Supreme Court of Ohio released its decision in Bickers v. Western & Southern Life Insurance Company, which expressly limits the Court’s previous holding in Coolidge v. Riverdale Local School District. In Coolidge, the Supreme Court held that an employer could not terminate an employee who was receiving temporary total disability compensation on the basis of absenteeism or inability to work, when the absence or inability to work is directly related to an allowed medical condition in his or her workers’ compensation claim. Continue reading . . .

Sixth Circuit Holds That Gas Station Manager Is An Executive Employee Under the FLSA

Posted on December 28, 2007 by Rob Stalter

Adding clarity to an often-litigated area of wage and hour law, the Sixth Circuit recently held that a small store manager was exempt from the FLSA’s overtime requirements despite her performance of non-managerial tasks and close supervision by her district manager. The case – Thomas v. Speedway SuperAmerica, LLC, No. 04-00147 (6th Cir. 2007) – involved a Speedway  gas station and convenience store manager who Speedway claimed was an exempt “executive employee” under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Even though the store manager was the most senior employee at the store, she was supervised by a district manager who visited the store twice a week. She was expected to work at least 50 hours per week, and often worked much more than that. She received a $500 weekly base salary as well as managerial bonuses equaling a percentage of the gross profit from certain products sold in the store. As for her day-to-day work duties, the manager spent about 60 percent of her time performing non-managerial tasks such as stocking merchandise, sweeping bathrooms, operating the cash register, and performing routine clerical duties.  The remaining 40 percent of her time was spent performing several management functions, including supervising current employees, hiring new employees, preparing weekly work schedules, handling employee complaints, evaluating employees, and terminating employees.  Continue reading . . .

Ohio’s Minimum Wage Increases In 2008

Posted on December 28, 2007 by Rob Stalter

Ohio employers should be aware that the minimum wage is about to increase yet again. The Ohio Department of Commerce has announced that the state’s minimum wage will increase to $7.00 per hour on January 1, 2008 – a 15 cent increase over the 2007 minimum wage. The minimum wage for tipped employees will rise from $3.43 to $3.50 per hour, so long as employees earn a total of $7.00 per hour once wages and tips are combined.

These new minimum wages apply to employees over 16 years of age whose employers gross more than $255,000 annually. For employees younger than 16 and those whose employers gross less than $255,000 annually, the federal minimum wage of $5.85 applies – but not for long. The federal minimum wage will increase to $6.55 on July 24, 2008.

A copy of the Department of Commerce’s 2008 Minimum Wage poster can be found here.

Unionized or Not, Employers Should Revisit E-Mail Policies In Light of Recent NLRB Decision

Posted on December 28, 2007 by Franck G. Wobst

On December 16, 2007, the NLRB clarified its position regarding employer restrictions on employee e-mail use. The decision in The Guard Publishing Company, d/b/a The Register-Guard, 351 NLRB No. 70, is significant for two reasons. First, the decision holds that employees do not have a protected right to use employer e-mail systems for solicitations or communications regarding union-related topics. Second, it applies a new standard for determining when employers discriminatorily enforce e-mail policies and, thus, violate the NLRA.  Continue reading . . .

Affirmative Action Plan Admissible As Direct Evidence of Discrimination

Posted on December 28, 2007 by Christy Pate

As further proof that no good deed goes unpunished, one Ohio appellate court has held that an employer’s affirmative action plan (AAP) may be used against it to prove discrimination. Strange as it may seem, the court’s decision highlights the risks associated with invalid AAPs and gives employers everywhere reason to reevaluate their efforts on this front.  Continue reading . . .

Return to Sleep Deprivation?

Posted on December 27, 2007 by Brian Hall

As the Writers Guild of America’s strike against the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers moves into its seventh week, cracks are beginning to appear in the union’s armor. Until this week, late night television staples such as Leno, O’Brien, Letterman, Stewart and Colbert were mired in “classic” episodes (read: reruns) without any end in sight. Now, it looks as if all but Letterman will be returning – albeit without writers – beginning in early January.  For its part, Letterman’s production company is seeking a separate, interim deal with the Guild to facilitate the return of new episodes of the Late Show.  Continue reading . . .