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February L&E Update from Baker Donelson

Submitted by Firm:
Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC
Firm Contacts:
Kathlyn Perez, Phyllis G. Cancienne, Robert C. Divine
Article Type:
Legal Update
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Cupid may be hard at work this time of year, but what would happen if he wanted to bring his service dog to work with him this Valentine's Day? And what if Cupid asked his boss to take this month off to seek treatment for a dependency on liquor-filled Valentine's Day candy? Meanwhile, 100 members of Congress just made sure the DOL knows that they are not feeling the love for the proposed FLSA regulations. We'll also look at a controversial Department of Labor (DOL) regulation that may affect companies who seek legal advice about union activity, and read our Immigration Corner column to prepare for the upcoming H-1B season.

100 Members of Congress Throw a Hail Mary Against New Overtime Regs

Dena Sokolowdsokolow@bakerdonelson.com

On February 9, 100 members of Congress sent a letter to Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez arguing that the proposed overtime regulations will "hurt American workers and the businesses that employ them." While the letter reflects the sentiments of many business owners, the letter is akin to standing on the tracks to stop a locomotive. This train is coming whether we like it or not.

All signs point to July 2016 as the date the proposed regulations will become final. Employers will be given a "compliance period" of anywhere from 90 to 180 days to make sure their employees are paid correctly under the new requirements. The annual salary level to qualify for an exemption from overtime is increasing by 113 percent from $23,660 to $50,440. So if your employee doesn't make $50,440 per year, they will need to be paid time and a half for all hours worked in excess of 40 per week.

Now is the time to start preparing! Join us March 22 for our next webinar, "Fireworks in July 2016 – The Final DOL Overtime Regs Are Coming!" where we will discuss steps every employer should be taking right now to prepare for the upcoming changes in the overtime law.  More...

Wake Up – The Persuader Agreements Rule is On the Way

Robert M. Williamsrwilliams@bakerdonelson.com

The somewhat forgotten "persuader agreements" rule is now suddenly expected to be promulgated by the DOL as soon as March 2016. This proposed regulation (originally disclosed in June 2011), interpreting the term "advice" under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, will have a major impact in promoting union organizing by undermining the attorney-client relationship when companies seek legal advice concerning union activity.  More...

Play Under Review: USC Football Coach Wanted Mid-Season Timeout for Alcoholism

Nick Margellonmargello@bakerdonelson.com

At the beginning of last year's college football season, many folks had high expectations for the University of Southern California Trojans and the team's second-year head coach, Steve Sarkisian. Instead, USC ended the season with a new head coach, six losses and one lawsuit. The lesson for HR managers is this: each alcoholic's request for accommodation may require individual analysis under the ADA and FMLA.   More...

All Dogs Go to Heaven, But Can They Go to Work?

Mark Fulksmfulks@bakerdonelson.com

Cartoonist Charles M. Shultz once said, "Happiness is a warm puppy." It is a common sentiment among the canine crowd, those who love their dogs as much as they love their friends and family, and science has recently given reason to believe that it may be true. It has long been known that people experience an increase in their oxytocin levels when they interact with their dogs, but a recent study has shown that oxytocin indicates that dogs may love people as much as people love their dogs.  More...

Immigration Corner

Melanie C. Walkermwalker@bakerdonelson.com

This month: H-1B Cap Season and a Cautionary Fairy Tale; Changing ESTA/VWP Questions Answered; Improvements to E-3, H-1B1, CW-1 and EB-1 Regulations.   More...