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Co-working or shared working spaces are being leveraged by every level of the workforce to keep up with the volatile and ever-changing business landscape. From gig workers and freelancers to project teams, modern workforce needs are being met through the short-term nature, reduced costs, and diverse and agile environments that these innovative workplaces offer.

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Companies can be more confident that liability under the National Labor Relations Act will not flow from the misclassification of its workforce alone, thanks to a recent NLRB decision. Baker McKenzie attorneys call this welcome news for companies, but say they still must look at workforce relationships and properly classify independent contractors.

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The bad news is that your company may still be recovering from trying to compile and organize all of the EEO-1 Component 2 pay data for submission by September 30, 2019. The good news, however, is that the EEOC has announced that it will no longer collect Component 2 pay data in the future. (Everyone can let out a collective sigh of relief now!) To the extent they haven’t already done so, companies are still required to submit Component 2 pay data for years 2017 and 2018 this year, but they will not be required to do so on an ongoing basis.

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On September 24, 2019, the Department of Labor (finally) issued the final rule on the minimum salary threshold required for employees to qualify for the Fair Labor Standards Act’s “white-collar” exemptions.

The final rule:

  • Raises the new minimum salary threshold to $35,568 per year ($684 per week). The previous salary threshold, which had been in place since 2004, was $23,660 ($455 per week).
  • Raises the “highly compensated” employee salary threshold from $100,000 to $107,432 per year.
  • Allows employers to count certain non-discretionary bonuses, incentives, and commissions to satisfy up to 10% of an employee’s salary level.
  • Does not impact the job duties test.
  • Is estimated to make an additional 1.3 million more workers eligible for overtime.
  • Will take effect quickly — on January 1, 2020.


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This summer the U.S. Women’s Soccer team won more than the World Cup – they’ve had tremendous success in garnering public support in their bid for equal pay. However, beyond the star power of Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, pay equity continues to be a hot button issue for employers in the U.S.

We’re pleased

The Department of Labor’s newly issued opinion letter provides good news for employers who use tipped workers. On November 8th, the DOL reversed its previous “80/20” guidance on use of the tip credit. The tip credit permits employers to pay employees in tip-based positions, such as bartenders and waiters, a lower hourly wage than the federally mandated minimum wage (with the thought that earned tips will make up the difference). Under the previous “80/20” rule, employers were barred from paying the lower cash wage to tipped employees who spent more than 20% of their time performing non-tip generating duties such as setting tables or cutting lemons.


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Government contractors are familiar with the obligation to retain minority or women-owned businesses as subcontractors to obtain government work. Increasingly, apex private sector businesses require participation by minority or women-owned businesses as a condition of obtaining work, as well.

A recent decision by the federal court for the Southern District of New York is a cautionary tale, and highlights the care required when terminating a minority business enterprise (MBE) sub-contractor. Annuity Funds Operating Engineers Local 15 v. Tightseal, No. 17-CV-3670 (S.D.N.Y. August 14, 2018).


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In recent years, joint employer liability has emerged as a persistent threat for companies who use franchise business models. Franchisors are increasingly facing claims brought by employees of franchisees for entitlements flowing from their employment. The outcome in these cases is unpredictable because the law is undergoing change. As such, the joint employer aspects of