Retaliation Claims: Shield, Sword, or Both?

Did you know that 48.8% of the charges of discrimination filed with the EEOC in the 2017 fiscal year alleged retaliation as a result of employees asserting claims of employment discrimination? In a distant second place were allegations of race discrimination.  In third place: disability discrimination. Employers should expect retaliation claims to continue to lead the pack.  

To give you an idea, in just the past two weeks, Coral Gables Trust Company settled with the EEOC in Miami on sexual harassment and retaliation claims for $180,000 along with other non-monetary terms; a printing company in Nevada settled for $242,000; and a grower in Washington settled for $95,000. On the upside, after litigating claims of retaliation, employers prevailed last week in Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan and Florida.   Continue Reading

New Tip Rules Impact All Employers who Receive Tips

The recent budget bill contains big changes for businesses with tipped employees. The new law provides that an employer (including its managers and supervisors) may not keep any portion of its employees’ tips even if the employer does not take a tip credit, which is a maximum of $3.02 in Florida. Employers who violate this prohibition not only lose the tip credit but also now will be required to repay any improperly kept tips to their employees plus liquidated damages (double damages) based on the total amount of any tip credit taken plus any improperly kept tips. In addition, the Dept. of Labor can now assess violators a civil penalty of up to $1,100 for each violation. Continue Reading

The Department of Labor’s Proposed PAID Program: An Invitation To Turn Yourself In Or To Turn Yourself Inside Out?

Last week, the U.S. Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) announced that it will soon offer employers the chance to self-report to the WHD and potentially resolve minimum wage and overtime violations. This opportunity will be offered under the new WHD Payroll Audit Independent Determination (“PAID”) program.

The employment law community is buzzing with the question: when would it make sense for an employer to subject themselves to a WHD audit? Continue Reading

REGISTRATION OPEN! 28th Annual Labor & Employment Law Seminar

Please join us for our 28th Annual Labor & Employment Law Seminar Friday, April 27th from 8am-4pm at the JW Marriott Marquis Miami.

Our annual seminar draws hundreds of human resource professionals, in-house counsel and senior executives from South Florida’s top businesses. And for good reason! No one does events quite like we do – our seminars are not just lectures, they are learning experiences. This year will not disappoint. Continue Reading

Do You Know What Your Employees Really Want?

Yo, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want. So, tell me what you want, what you really really want.
From “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls

Are financial rewards the best way to motivate employees?

In employee/employer survey after survey over the last 70 years, there has been a continuing disconnect between what employers think employees value most and what employees actually value most. The trend continues up through today.

Here are the survey results ranked in order — 1 being the most valued and 10 being the least valued: Continue Reading

Baseball’s Winter of Discontent

What can we learn from Major League Baseball’s currently unemployed players? Employee satisfaction has become increasingly important as employees expect fulfillment in their careers (both financially and with work-life balance programs and benefits). Whether unionized or not, it is important to analyze a company’s culture and the industry to consider what motivates employees. Continue Reading

#MeToo Movement Motivating State AGs to Seek Changes In Federal Law

Last week, the Attorneys General (“AGs”) in each state and U.S. territory all announced their support for ending mandatory arbitration of sexual harassment claims.  They wrote Congress that the “secrecy requirements of arbitration clauses” as applied to sexual harassment claims “disserve the public interest … [by creating] a culture of silence that protects perpetrators at the cost of their victims” and that victims “have a right to their day in court.” Continue Reading

“What Did You Make at Your Last Job?” – Is That Still a Question?

Amazon recently made a voluntary decision to ban the use of salary history questions during the employment application process. Why?

The idea is that banning questions about salary history aims to close the gender pay gap. According to the Census Bureau, women make 80% of every dollar a man makes. Many argue that the gender pay gap widens as women and men age. Furthermore, according to, “a woman who is asked about her salary history and declines to disclose earns 1.8 percent less than a woman who discloses. If a man declines to disclose, he gets paid 1.2 percent more on average.” Continue Reading

Morale Makes Money: How Starbucks Raised The Bar(ista)… Again

Last week, the CEO of Starbucks, Kevin Johnson, announced the ‘Partner and Family Sick Time’ benefits for all of Starbucks’ U.S. employees. Starbucks is giving employees a number of additional perks, including increased wages, stock grants, six-week paid parental leave for non-birth giving parents and five days of paid sick leave per year.  The $250 million stock and benefit package follows similar offerings by other American companies like Walmart, Apple Inc. and American Airlines Group Inc.. So, what is the upside? Continue Reading

Continued Work Authorization for Haitian Nationals in TPS

On November 20, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) terminated the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Haiti, with a delayed effective date of July 22, 2019. It was not until January 18, however, that the DHS provided guidance to Haitian nationals and their employers about what would happen come January 22, 2018, when the previously issued Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) are set to expire.

Haitian nationals wishing to remain in the U.S. in TPS must re-register during the 60 day period from January 18 to March 19, 2018. Haitian nationals must file Form I-821 during this 60 day window. There is no filing fee, but Haitian nationals age 14 and older must pay the $85.00 biometric fee. Continue Reading