WEBINAR: Leveraging your 401(k) Plan to Increase Employee Retention

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Thursday, February 16th, 2023 | 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

A 401(k) can do more than help employees save for retirement. New laws, including SECURE 2.0 have created additional ways for plans to better serve the needs of employees. Please join Shareholders Sharon Quinn Dixon and Andy McLaughlin for this webinar to discover how.


Credit Information: This program is pending HRCI, SHRM & CLE credit confirmation. Once approved, credit information will be sent to all registrants. 

I Took a Short Vacation and All I Got Was Changes to Federal Employment Laws

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Earlier this week, I returned from a short vacation to find the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) took action against three companies requiring them to invalidate their noncompete agreements with employees. Then yesterday, the FTC rolled out a proposed rule which, if enacted, would turn many state laws on the enforcement of noncompetition agreements (including Florida’s) on their heads.

I also came back to read that the United States passed two new federal laws providing additional protection to pregnant and nursing employees.

My partner, Lisa Berg will provide a more detailed blog post on the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (with the totally appropriate acronym-the PUMP Act).

However, let me give you a brief overview of recent Federal Trade Commission actions.

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Happy Holidays, or Is It? Steering Clear of Religious Discrimination and Other Landmines During the Holidays!

It’s that time of year again and we are all excited to be able to attend our holidays in-person post-COVID. The holidays are wonderful, but can produce some dicey situations for your HR Department.

A couple of holiday planning suggestions to help you navigate these holiday landmines include:

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

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Thank you for being a subscriber. Wishing you a joyous holiday season and happy, healthy year ahead.

We hope that BeLabor the Point has brought you important information throughout the year and a few smiles along the way. Speaking of smiles, click on the image below to view our Labor & Employment Law Department’s holiday card!

Florida Court Rules Expectant Father Not Entitled to FMLA

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Employers are regularly having to grapple with how and when to give their employees leave when their employees are expecting a child.  Unfortunately, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) does not always provide the clearest answer as to when employers are obligated to provide employees with protected leave.  However, a federal court in the Middle District of Florida has just decided a case, Tanner v. Stryker Corp., which held that the FMLA does not require employers to give their employees job protected leave before the birth of a child. Instead, employers would only be required to provide protected leave after the birth of the employee’s child or under limited exceptions.

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Top Takeaways from Our 2022 Annual Labor & Employment Law Seminar

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Wow, it has been a whirlwind past few weeks! It was great to see so many of you at our Labor Seminars in Miami, Tampa and Tallahassee. We hope you were able to gain valuable insight into a wide range of topics of interest and importance to you.

If you did not fill our surveys, feel free to fill them out now. We read every one and use your feedback to improve future Seminars and determine topics and content. Congrats to the winners of our Evaluation Raffle listed below!

  • Miami Survey: Marla Alpizar, City of Miami Beach & Elizabeth Cabezas Villano, Seaboard Marine
  • Tampa Survey: Kim Steager, Landis Evans + Partners
  • Tallahassee Survey: LaShonda Manuel, CW Roberts Contracting, Inc.

Congrats to our blog contest winners who will receive complimentary registrations for next year’s seminars!

  • Miami: Veronica Motrinec, Professional Aviation Management
  • Tampa: Mabel Duran, Curaleaf
  • Tallahassee: Monica Ross, Tallahassee Memorial Hospital

If you did not receive your HRCI, SHRM, and CLE credits, please email us.

If you would like additional copies of the 2022 edition of our most requested publication, The Pocket Guide to Florida Employment Laws, email us. We are more than happy to send you a few copies.

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Avoiding Halloween Horrors at Work

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Last week I took my 9 year old son to purchase a Halloween costume (he of course chose to be Thor). While I was in the costume shop, I decided to look for a costume for myself because my firm was doing a costume contest at work. However, every costume that I saw was more risqué than the next! After a well-meaning (although clueless) sales associate brought me six costumes, one more inappropriate than the next (e.g., dominatrix, naughty nurse, Harley Quinn, etc.), she eventually enlisted the help of her manager who suggested I wear a fifties-style pink poodle skirt, bobby socks and cardigan, and dress as Sandy from Grease. Finally, a costume suitable for a Labor & Employment Lawyer!

This silly experience reminded me of a blog post that I wrote a few years back with some important tips for HR departments to keep in mind if your company is having a Halloween party. View the post here: Halloween is a Scary Time for Employers | BeLabor the Point.

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Tales from the (En)crypt

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Approaching Halloween, want to hear something Really Scary?

Late last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit (Philadelphia) in Clemens v. ExecuPharm, Inc. (3rd Circuit Dec. 14,  2021), made clear that employers can be held liable for failing to properly protect their employees’ personal data.  Why is this so scary? Well, in this case, an employee, Jennifer Clemens, was required to provide her employer, ExecuPharm, with her address, social security number, bank and financial account numbers, insurance and tax information, passport and information relating to her husband and child. (This is the type of information kept by most HR departments).  ExecuPharm agreed in writing to take appropriate measures to protect the information.  Clemens then left ExecuPharm.

At some point after her departure,  ExecuPharm was hacked through a phishing attack. ExecuPharm’s information (including its employees’ information) was then held for ransom. Either ExecuPharm refused to pay the ransom or “for nefarious reasons unknown” the hackers released  all the information on the Dark Web. The release of 123,000 files included the sensitive, personal information on Clemens and her former co-workers. ExecuPharm notified its current and former employees of the breach and provided them some after-the-fact support.   Clemens took action herself, which included her spending a substantial amount of her time and some expenditures to protect her information and  to protect herself from being the victim of fraud or identity theft.

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I-9 Update – Work Authorization of New Hires Applying to Renew Green Card

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The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services recently announced that lawful permanent residents who file a Form I-90 to obtain a new permanent resident card, aka green card, will have their green cards extended automatically for twenty-four months while USCIS processes the Form I-90 application.  What does this mean?

During the I-9 process, a new hire may present an unexpired permanent resident card as proof of both work authorization and identity – a List A document.  The USCIS normally issues permanent resident cards for ten years.  A lawful permanent resident does not lose status when the permanent resident card expires but needs an unexpired card for travel or to use as a List A document when taking a new job.  To renew an expiring green card, the lawful permanent resident files the Form I-90 with the USCIS.  The USCIS will issue a Notice of Action confirming the filing of the Form I-90.  Traditionally, that Notice of Action would include a statement that the filer’s permanent resident card is extended for twelve months.  The individual could use the expired permanent resident card and the Notice of Action as proof of work authorization for that twelve month period.  With the recent announcement, USCIS is now making the extension of the permanent resident card twenty-four months.  When the USCIS issues a Notice of Action for a Form I-90 filed on or after September 26, the Notice of Action will say that the permanent resident card is extended for twenty-four months.  For those permanent residents who have a pending Form I-90 filed before September 26, USCIS will issue a new Notice of Action with the twenty-four month extension language.
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The NLRB Joint Employer Pendulum Swings Back Again…

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If your company engages with contractors to perform services you may think are completely unrelated to your business at first glance…beware.  It will soon be more likely that the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) will deem the s employees to be yours.  For years, political interests have created a pendulum where the government seems to encourage the use of independent contractors, or severely scrutinize it to reduce contractor status.  The pendulum is indeed swinging back again.

After many years of following a single standard for determining joint employer status, the NLRB established a new and restrictive standard in 2015 with the Browning-Ferris case.  In Browning-Ferris, the Board held that a company could be deemed the joint employer of its contractor’s employees even if it did not exercise direct or immediate control over those employees.  For the Board in Browning-Ferris, the mere “possibility” that the company “could” exercise that control was enough to make it an “employer” for all purposes under the NLRA.

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