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The information provided on this website is for informational and educational use only.  It is not prepared or presented as legal advice or to recommend a specific course of conduct.  The content, information and updates provided on this website may change frequently and readers are encouraged to review and analyze the material independently.   

January 2018

The Bill introduction period has closed and, after including the carryover bills, there are in excess of 860 legislative bills.  We have tried to capture the relevant HR, employment and labor related bills for your consideration.  We have identified 46 relevant bills.  We have attached a summary identifying the bill number, description and movement of each bill.  The bills that were recently introduced this January begin with legislative bill 712 on the attached document.  I have identified a few bills that have upcoming committee hearings next week: 
 
·         LB 712  Require Drug Testing for Certain Applicants and Recipients of Unemployment Benefits – Hearing before Business and Labor Committee 1/22/2017
·         LB 784 Amend the Employee Classification Act – Hearing before Business and Labor Committee 1/22/2018
 
It is possible that I have not included a bill that you believe we should be tracking.  To that end, please let me know and I will add it to the list.  With that said, I believe we have identified the most relevant bills to the HR profession.


Nebraska HR Legislative Seminars - 2018

SHRM Nebraska Legislative Director Chad Richter plans to present a 30-minute webinar regularly to explain relevant Nebraska legislative bills and provide a status update on the proposed legislation both at the state level and federal level.

The first webinar will be Friday, Jan. 12 from 12:30 to 1 p.m. Central time.

To join the meeting:
https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/966408845 
or call 888-640-7162  --  access code: 966-408-845



UPDATED DECEMBER 20, 2017

NLRB:   Two weeks after the newly appointed NLRB General Counsel signaled his intent to ask the Board to consider overruling many union-friendly precedents of the Obama-era Board, the NLRB has beat him to the punch.  Over the course of two days (December 14 and 15) the Board reversed three of the Obama Board’s most vexing decisions:  (1) Joint employer status (Browning-Ferris Industries / Hy-Brand industrial Contractors); (2) Micro-bargaining units (Specialty Healthcare / PCC Structurals), and (3) Employer workplace rules and policies (Lutheran Heritage-Livonia/The Boeing Company).  These are pretty significant reversals and if you would like to read more, you can locate an article summarizing these decisions here:https://www.jacksonlewis.com/publication/unwrapping-late-year-nlrb-decisions-next-steps-your-organization-consider

Tax Bill & HR:   There are a few incentives located in the current tax bill that impact workplace policies.  Specifically, as proposed, the tax bill includes offering businesses a credit if they provide up to 12 weeks of paid family leave.  (Important to note, this measure was taken from a stand-alone bill by Senator Deb Fischer of Nebraska).  The tax bill also prohibits businesses from deducting the cost of confidential settlements in claims of sexual misconduct.  The bill also would remove the tax incentives for businesses to provide commuter and parking benefits for employees.  In essence, up to $255 per month that companies can provide and write off as a business expenses will be removed.

Immigration:  The Trump administration has promised an increase in enforcement and scrutiny in the area of immigration in 2018.  The Department of Homeland Security is undertaking the “extreme vetting” in this area and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Thomas Homan has promised a fourfold increase in work-site enforcement actions to include actions against both employers and undocumented workers.

Wage and Hour:  The Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division stated recently that it is estimating an October 2018 release for the agency’s second stab at a high priority rule designed to expand the number of workers eligible for overtime pay.  The Department of Labor also anticipates publishing a proposal in January to implement President Trump’s executive order calling for the streamlining and expansion of U.S. apprenticeships.  In addition, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently held that Fair Labor Standards Act claims (i.e. wage and hour claims) are arbitrable, notwithstanding the requirement that FLSA litigation settlements be “supervised.”  Rodriguez-Depena v. Parts Authority Inc. (2nd Cir. December 12, 2017).

UPDATED DECEMBER 2017

· Nebraska Legislature:  The 105th Legislative Session (2nd Session) will reconvene on January 3, 2018 and is scheduled to conclude on April 18, 2018 (Day 60).  As you likely know, the Unicameral operates on a biennium schedule (1st session concluded in the Spring and the 2nd session will begin in January) with the bills from the first session carrying over to the second session.  As with previous years, we will provide weekly (if not more frequent) updates as bills advance and the like.  I will also be providing a weekly 20 minute webinar on updates before the Unicameral beginning in Mid-January.   If you have interest in being involved in the legislative process, please let me know.     

· NLRB:  The new General Counsel for the NLRB, Peter Robb, directed the NLRB regional offices to submit to his Division of Advice for review cases involving “significant legal issues.”   Robb signals that he will ask the NLRB to overturn numerous hot-bottom Obama-era Board precedents.  The Memorandum identifies 26 examples of Obama-era decisions that “might support issuance of complaint but where his office also might want to provide the Board with an alternative analysis. 

· Wage and Hour:  Labor Department proposes reversing Obama-Era “Tip Pooling” Rule.  Employers would be expressly permitted to require servers and other tip-earning employees to share their tips with employees working in the kitchen and other “back of the house” employees, but only when the employer does not use the tip credit and state law would not otherwise prohibit the practice, under the proposed regulations published by the DOL.  This is a reversal of the current DOL regulations, which could be rescinded.  Many employers who do not take a tip credit will like this proposed regulation.  It would allow those employees working in the back of the house, who typically receive no tips at all, to share in sometimes lucrative tips received by servers.  Pursuant to its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the DOL has provided a 30 day comment period until January 4, 2018, on the new rule.

· Wage and Hour:  The federal minimum wage has remained stagnant at $7.25 an hour since 2009.  In the absence of an increase to the federal minimum wage, an increasing number of states, cities and other municipalities have enacted statutes providing for minimum wage rates in excess of (and, in some cases, more than twice as high as) the federal rate. I will provide a print out of the jurisdictions slated for a wage increase to take effect on 1/1/18 tomorrow for the meeting.  However, you can also access this here:  http://www.jacksonlewis.com/publication/2018-minimum-wage-rate-increases-are-you-ready

· Sexual Harassment Claims.  Sexual harassment claims are grabbing headlines at a pace and intensity like never before.  In the more than 30 years after the landmark decision (Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson in 1986), the law prohibiting sexual harassment has not changed drastically – nor has the underlying conduct that constitutes sex harassment.  What has changed dramatically is the number of those who speak out.   We have prepared and will present a complimentary webinar on December 14thin light of the rash of claims entitled “Bolstering Your Preventive Practices” in attempt to introduce new strategies, training and the like.  In addition, the EEOC has placed on the front page of their website, “Promising Practices for Preventing Harassment.  You can access this here: https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/promising-practices.cfm

· EEOC:   The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently took a step toward providing employers with guidance on the ADA’s requirements for job protected leave as an accommodation.  In Billups v. Emerald Coast Utilities Authority, the Court noted that the accommodation language of the ADA is written in the present tense – that is, whether an employee “can” (not “will be able to”) perform the essential functions of the job with or without accommodation.  As such, when an employee seeks job protected cleave as an accommodation, the employee must show that “his requested accommodation would have allowed him to return to work “in the present or in the immediate future.”  The Court held that an accommodation is therefore unreasonable if it would only allow an employee to work at some uncertain point in the future.

· Wage and Hour:  The U.S. Department of Labor confirmed last month that it intends to “undertake new rulemaking with regard to overtime.”  While the DOL simultaneously filed an appeal of the district court order holding the prior overtime rule invalid, the DOL stated it intends to request that the Fifth Circuit “hold the appeal in abeyance while the Department of Labor undertakes further rulemaking to determine what the salary level should be,” according to the statement made by the DOL.  The Obama-era rule set the salary level for the white collar exemptions at $47,476.  It is expected the new salary level will be in the low $30,000 range.

· Paid Family Leave:  Senator Deb Fischer included a measure that will offer a tax credit for businesses that offer their workers paid family and medical leave.  The measure is predicted to remain intact as the House and Senate lawmakers start negotiating a compromise to the tax reform bill.  The amendment was patterned after her stand-alone legislation in the Senate (that stalled).

· NLRB:  Management-side attorney John Ring is expected to be the next nominee for the upcoming Republican vacancy on the National Labor Relations Board.  Provided he clears the background check process, he is expected to be tapped to fill the seat of Chairman Phil Miscimarra whose term expires December 16th.

 

RSS US news

  • Demoted L.A. Times Columnist Was Not Forced Out of His Job January 22, 2018
    A sports columnist for the Los Angeles Times was not forced to resign but rather left the newspaper voluntarily after he was demoted, the California Court of Appeal ruled, affirming a 2016 trial court decision.
  • Are Employers Required to Give Workers Meal and Rest Breaks? January 19, 2018
    Employers may have a difficult time figuring out which employees are entitled to take meal and rest breaks and what rules they have to follow when offering those breaks. Here's what employment law attorneys told SHRM Online about federal and state break rules.
  • Distracted Driving, Violence and Drug Use Contribute to Workplace Fatalities January 19, 2018
    The number of annual workplace fatalities rose for the third consecutive year in 2016, according to data recently released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Transportation incidents, workplace violence and drug overdoses are key issues that contributed to the rising numbers.
  • China: New Rules on the R Visa Implemented January 19, 2018
    China has introduced a more open visa policy for overseas talent in order to attract "super brains" from around the world.
  • EU: Covert Surveillance at Work Prohibited January 19, 2018
    ​The European Court of Human Rights has found that the covert surveillance of an employee at his or her workplace is a considerable intrusion into his or her private life.