Whether the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is taking advantage of the fact that HIV infection has been in the news lately (thanks to Charlie Sheen’s recent disclosure about his own HIV status) or the timing is pure coincidence, the EEOC earlier this month issued two publications regarding the rights afforded by the Americans with

As we enter football season, workforces should prepare for the estimated 25 million fantasy sports enthusiasts who spend at least an hour of work time managing their teams each week during the 13- to 17-week football season. (See more here.)  Distracted employees can reduce productivity, cause workplace accidents, and potentially impact the bottom line. As such, employers that are concerned with such productivity issues should put proper procedures in place to address these issues head on.

The first question of course, however, is are fantasy football leagues even legal? On the federal level, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (“UIGEA”) provides that “no person engaged in the business of betting or wagering may knowingly accept” funds “in connection with the participation of another person in unlawful Internet gambling.” It does, however, exempt fantasy sports so long as the outcome of any contest reflects the relative knowledge or skill of the participants rather than chance, has an outcome that is determined predominantly by accumulated statistical results of sporting events, but not solely on a single performance of an individual athlete. In addition, for the exemption to apply, all prizes and awards must be established and made known before the start of the contest.
Continue Reading Fantasy sport issues in the workplace

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Glatt et al. v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc. recently rejected the Department of Labor (“DOL”) six factor test for determining whether an individual has been properly classified as an unpaid intern in favor of another test that looks at whether the intern or the employer is the primary beneficiary of the relationship.

The DOL’s six factors are:

  1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
  2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
  3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the end conclusion of the internship; and
  6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship. Rejecting the DOL test, the court (as discussed below) elected to adopt a test that it believed aligned more closely with common law and the underlying purpose of an unpaid internship.

In Glatt, the Second Circuit reversed a district court decision that held, in part, that three individuals working for either Fox Searchlight or Fox Entertainment Group were improperly classified as “unpaid interns” in accordance with the FLSA and the New York Labor Law (“NYLL”). In doing so, the Second Circuit rejected the district court’s analysis that relied on the DOL test. The six factors came directly from a 1947 Supreme Court decision in which the Supreme Court refused to recognize unpaid railroad brake trainees as employees under FLSA. The Glatt court rejected the DOL test because it relied on what it considered to be an outdated Supreme Court decision that failed to reflect the purpose of the modern internship.
Continue Reading Second Circuit rejects DOL test for unpaid internships

Thanks to Summer Associate Christopher Hawthorne for his assistance with this blog entry.

In an era of consumers making choices based on whether companies have ethical labor and sourcing practices, a new app now tracks how female friendly a company is. “Buy Up Index,” reveals whether a company’s workplace policies and practices accommodate and empower

Thanks to Porter Wright Summer Associate Carolyn Alford for her assistance in preparing this blog post.

The recent tragedy in South Carolina, where a reputed white supremacist opened fire on a crowd of Black churchgoers, has propelled the Confederate flag as a symbol of racism back into the public spotlight, after a picture surfaced of

The United States Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges  requiring that all states recognize same-sex marriages is one of the more significant constitutional law decisions from the Court in many years. The impact of the decision extends in some ways to the workplace and to the day-to-day responsibilities of human resource and benefits professionals.

Summertime brings company picnics, charity walks and softball leagues. Great moments for increasing employee morale, but these activities may lead to employer liability if an employee is injured while participating in such activities.

In Ohio, employees injured while engaged in an employer-sponsored recreational or fitness activity are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits unless the employee

It is summer, and you know what that means: teenagers, everywhere. And they are not just hanging out at the mall, they are working at the mall, at the local pool, and in other entry-level positions. Unlike other workers, however, teenagers come with their own special set of complications. Generational issues aside, the real concern for employers with employment of minors is complying with federal and state laws specific to employment of minors.

Hiring

Before hiring minors, each employer should verify whether it can hire minor employees in the industry in which the employer operates and the state in which the business is located. Many states, including Ohio, require that an employer first obtain some type of work permit before hiring minors. Under Ohio law, every minor 14 through 17 years of age must have a working permit unless otherwise exempted, e.g., 16 and 17 year olds who only work during the summer in nonagricultural and nonhazardous employment. R.C. § 4109.02.

There are, however, some occupations deemed too hazardous for minors. In Ohio, they include the following:
Continue Reading Hiring minors: Not my teenage dream

For many, summer is a more laid-back time of year and rightfully so. There are summer holidays for people to enjoy, vacations, long weekends, lazy days outside taking advantage of the nice weather and, in the employment law area, many law-making and law-enforcing bodies are less active or not in session. Sometimes this laid-back attitude seeps into the workplace. Specifically, during these hot, sticky summer months, employers often notice employees start taking a relaxed approach the office dress code. It makes sense; the rising temperatures make some people reach for shorter hemlines or lighter-weight fabrics. Many times this can be done while complying with the office dress code, but almost every employer has that one employee who shows up at work wearing something that runs afoul. Sometimes it is an employee in flip flops … an employee opting for a higher-than-allowed hemline … or an employee who takes the lighter-fabric idea a little too far and ends up flashing the office in a see-through ensemble.

Whatever the case, most workplaces have at least one employee who skates along the edges of the employer’s dress code policy. The questions become: (1) what can an employer include in an office dress code, and (2) how can employers ensure employees comply with it. The answer to the first question is, yes, employers can implement dress code policies that prohibit employees from wearing too-casual attire such as jeans, shorts, or flip flops.
Continue Reading Summer dress codes: The long and skorts of it