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Allen Smith


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Articles by Allen Smith

With most laws, employers have less difficulty meeting the laws’ mandates as time goes by and they become more familiar with the requirements.

Not so with the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), where lawsuits have multiplied as the law has increasingly fallen out of step with the modern workplace, according to Paul DeCamp, an attorney in the Washington, D.C., area office of Jackson Lewis, and former administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division.

News Updates
July 31, 2012

When Jerry Sandusky was still employed by Penn State as a football coach in 1998 and was accused of child abuse, several men—including President Graham Spanier, Senior Vice President-Finance and Business Gary Schultz, Athletic Director Timothy Curley and Head Football Coach Joe Paterno—concealed the accusation from the university board of trustees, according to a July 12, 2012, report by Louis Freeh, an attorney with Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan LLP, former judge and former director of the FBI.

News Updates
July 18, 2012

It’s not too late to train youth employed in summer jobs about workplace policies, something employers too often fail to do, according to Jay Zweig, an attorney with Bryan Cave in Phoenix. Training of youth and managers is particularly needed about sexual harassment, workplace safety and hourly restrictions.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is one of the biggest areas of complaint with all employees, Zweig noted. When youth haven’t been in the workplace before, they might not know how to behave appropriately with co-workers in that setting.

News Updates
July 4, 2012

HR professionals may be familiar with the ins and outs of wage and hour laws, but managers often are not, Gregory Hare, an attorney at Ogletree Deakins in Atlanta, told attendees at a concurrent session on Monday.

Equally troubling is employees’ argument that they were unaware of an employer’s wage and hour policies. Don’t leave room for that argument—it could spell trouble in wage and hour litigation, he cautioned.

Signed Statements

News Updates
July 3, 2012

In a May 30, 2012, report whose guidance is likely to be challenged in the courts, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) cautioned that it believes that numerous common clauses in social media policies violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

News Updates
June 12, 2012

An Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recommendation in its recent guidance on criminal background checks to not ask about convictions in employment applications as a best practice is bad advice, according to Don Livingston, an attorney with Akin Gump in Washington, D.C., and a former EEOC general counsel.

“A few jurisdictions ban the box,” he noted. “In those jurisdictions, employers are barred from asking about criminal convictions at the application stage of the hiring process.”

News Updates
May 31, 2012

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) wage and hour enforcement under the Obama administration has become markedly more hostile toward employers, according to Paul DeCamp, former administrator of the Wage and Hour Division under President George W. Bush and an attorney at Jackson Lewis’ Washington, D.C., regional office.

‘New Normal’

News Updates
May 21, 2012

By a 4-1 vote, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on April 25, 2012, approved a new guidance on criminal background checks.

Consolidating and superseding previous EEOC guidance on criminal background checks, the guidance discourages blanket exclusions of individuals who have been convicted of crimes and encourages the use of individualized assessments of whether an employer’s criminal conduct exclusion is job related and consistent with business necessity.

News Updates
May 11, 2012

Growing but still rare. That’s the way Laura Friedel, an attorney with Levenfeld Pearlstein in Chicago, would characterize private-sector employer requests for applicants’ or employees’ Facebook e-mail addresses and passwords.

“Our clients are asking about it more, but few have implemented policies requiring applicants or employees to provide Facebook log-in information, log in to Facebook in front of or ‘friend’ company representatives,” she told SHRM Online.

News Updates
April 9, 2012

Texts can resurface in employment law litigation, so employees should be trained to keep all of their communications, including texts, professional. All too often, employees think that their texting is personal, according to Christine Walters, MAS, J.D., SPHR, a consultant with FiveL Company in Westminster, Md., and author of From Hello to Goodbye: Proactive Tips for Maintaining Positive Employee Relations.  

News Updates
February 29, 2012
Pepsi will revise an overly broad criminal background check policy, provide training and pay $3.13 million to settle an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) claim that the policy violated Title VII, according to Julie Schmid, acting director of the EEOC’s Minneapolis area office.
Schmid noted that 92 million Americans have a criminal history, referring to testimony by Amy Solomon, senior advisor to the assistant attorney general in the U.S. Department of Justice, in a July 26, 2011, EEOC hearing.
News Updates
February 1, 2012
Lawsuits over social media are on the rise as employers and former employees wrangle over who owns Twitter handles and followers as well as LinkedIn connections. 
The law is developing on these questions, according to Eric Meyer, an attorney with Dilworth Paxson LLP in Philadelphia. He recommended that companies make their intentions about who owns what in social media clear in their policies and that they enter into separate agreements with employees who have Twitter handles and followers or LinkedIn connections that the company claims to own.
News Updates
January 25, 2012

The Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) anomalous and vague requirements are forcing employers to impose precautionary workplace policies that are overly restrictive and out of step with modern work habits, according to a Nov. 3, 2011, report based on a survey conducted by the HR Policy Association.

The survey, to which 155 HR chiefs responded, found that companies implemented a number of restrictions on nonexempt employees because of the law, such as restrictions on:

November 23, 2011

Employers are asking more questions about how to handle stressed-out workers, according to Peter Petesch, an attorney with Littler Mendelson in Washington, D.C.

News Updates
March 15, 2011

Federal contractors seeking to fulfill their affirmative action responsibilities to veterans should partner with organizations that promote the employment of veterans, according to David Cohen, president of DCI Consulting Group Inc. in Washington, D.C.

News Updates
November 9, 2010

SAN DIEGO—On June 28, 2010 former Vice President of the United States Al Gore encouraged Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Annual Conference attendees to see the opportunities in crises and advocate for long-term rather than short-term solutions.

Gore said that in Chinese and Japanese, the word crisis is written with two characters—one for danger and one for opportunity. Too often, all that is seen in a crisis is the danger, he remarked.

News Updates
September 8, 2010