Does Sexual Harassment Training Work?

The New York Times ran an article on December 11, 2017, titled, “Sexual Harassment Training Doesn’t Work. But Some Things Do.”

The article describes sexual harassment training as an exercise that consists of “clicking through a PowerPoint, checking a box that you read the employee handbook or attending a mandatory seminar at which someone lectures about harassment while attendees glance at their phones.” According to the article, the type of training to which we’re accustomed fails to achieve what should be the primary goal – preventing sexual harassment in the first place – because training is geared towards providing a defense to liability. Continue Reading

Tax Reform: Confidential Sexual Harassment Settlements Come With a Price

The recently passed tax act promises to have wide ranging impacts on businesses which go beyond the accounting department. There have been attempts by other agencies such as the SEC, EEOC, DOL and NLRB to limit the confidentiality of settlements.  The new tax act follows suit by including a provision which makes confidential payments or settlements including any related attorney’s fees for sexual harassment or sexual abuse nondeductible.

The specific language of the new act states: Continue Reading

Restaurants and Hotels: Are We Reaching a “Tipping” Point on Tips?

Florida and federal law allow restaurants and hotels to pay tipped employees minimum wage, less a credit of $3.02 per hour against tips received. Tips can be pooled and then redistributed to those who are in traditionally tipped positions.  However, if an employer wrongly allows non-tipped employees to share in the tips (e.g., supervisors, maintenance, cooks, dishwashers, chefs and other back-of-the house employees), the employer loses the ability to take the $3.02 per hour tip credit. Continue Reading

Work Authorization for Honduran and Nicaraguan Nationals in TPS

On Friday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Honduran nations will be extended by six months, to July 5, 2018, while the administration decides whether to continue TPS designation for Honduras. The DHS also announced that it would not renew TPS designation for Nicaragua and that TPS status for Nicaraguans would expire on January 5, 2019. Currently, nationals of Honduras and Nicaragua in TPS have work authorization to January 5, 2018, but with the announcements, both groups receive automatic extensions of their Employment Authorization Documents (EAD). Continue Reading

Happy Holidays from Stearns Weaver Miller’s Labor & Employment Department

Thank you for being a subscriber. We hope that BeLabor the Point has brought you important information throughout the year and a few smiles along the way. Speaking of smiles, check out our department holiday card!

Wishing you a joyous holiday season and happy, healthy year ahead.

Happy Holidays, or is it? Steering Clear of Religious Discrimination and other Landmines during the Holidays!

It’s that time of year again. The holidays are wonderful, but can produce some dicey situations for your HR Department.

The holidays mean a lot of things to different people: whether it’s playing dreidel, decorating a Christmas tree, or doing nothing at all. Employers need to be mindful of the variety of different beliefs held by their employees. A couple of holiday planning suggestions to help you navigate these holiday landmines include: Continue Reading

Retirement Plan Hurricane Relief for Affected Participants

As we all know, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria severely impacted parts of Texas, the southeastern United States and Puerto Rico causing billions of dollars of damage. To help victims recover, Congress, the IRS, and the Department of Labor have issued special retirement plan relief for employers and participants located in those areas. Employers sponsoring retirement plans (401(k), 403(b), governmental 457(b) and similar plans) may want to make use of these relief provisions which offer

  • Extensions of deadlines for filings and deposits by affected employers and
  • Temporary relaxation of taxation, distribution and loan rules allowing easier access to retirement accounts for affected participants

This update gives a brief overview of the retirement plan relief currently available. Continue Reading

Florida’s Minimum Wage to Increase to $8.25 per hour –What About the Loonie, eh?

I originally hail from Toronto, Canada.  As an employment attorney now practicing in Florida, I enjoy comparing US employment laws with their Canadian counterparts.  So first, the news from Florida.

On January 1, 2018, Florida’s minimum wage will increase from $8.10 per hour to $8.25 per hour. This adjustment is based on the federal Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers in the South Region. For a full-time Florida employee earning the minimum wage, the increase results in $6 more per week, or $312 a year, before taxes and deductions. This increase is more substantial than last year’s increase of $104 before taxes and deductions. Continue Reading

Headline News! HR Tips to Curb Harassment and Discrimination

While several well-known corporate executives, movie stars, government officials and other high profile people have been facing sexual harassment claims in recent weeks (and the list seems to increase daily), the issue is most assuredly not limited to those in the public eye.  All employers are wise to use the focus on this issue to re-assess their anti-harassment policy and procedure for handling complaints.  Additionally, it’s an opportune time to evaluate the culture management promotes to make clear that improper behavior will not be tolerated and to foster an environment which facilitates an employee’s ability to complain about offending behavior without fear of retaliation.  So here are a few points to consider: Continue Reading

Halloween is a Scary Time for Employers

I have always been fascinated when the shy people that I know suddenly become exhibitionists when it comes to donning Halloween costumes. Whether it is a sexy French maid costume from Victoria’s Secret or Captain Underpants® (from the Dreamworks movie), adult costumes have become much edgier. Those costumes are perfectly fine at a private party or a club.  But when those same people decide to wear these costumes to work, you better have your employment lawyer on speed dial.

If your workplace permits employees to wear costumes on Halloween or you host a Halloween party at your office, you can prevent many employee relations problems and possible lawsuits by reminding employees to use good taste and discretion when choosing costumes. Here are some additional tips to avoid being spooked on October 31st: Continue Reading