North Carolina newspapers lose legislative presumption
Passage of a new bill removes a tremendous advantage North Carolina newspapers have enjoyed in Worker's Compensation litigation for nearly two decades.
The bill removes a legislative presumption of independent contractor status for newspaper carriers under the state's Workers' Compensation law.MORE
Lexington passes ordinance that newspaper vows to fight
The Lexington Urban County Council approved an ordinance recently that would require businesses to put unsolicited fliers and circulars on doorsteps or mail slots or face fines.
The 9-5 vote came despite a warning from the Herald-Leader that it would sue the merged government if the ordinance was passed.
Rufus Friday, president and publisher of the Herald-Leader, said after the vote that he will "aggressively defend the Lexington Herald-Leader's First Amendment rights, which does include any infringement on the press' distribution rights."MORE
Reporters Committee releases report on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch
U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch does not have an extensive history of cases involving free speech, free press and freedom of information issues, but the opinions he authored or joined during his more than 10 years on the Tenth Circuit that do touch upon those issues reflect the application of well-established First Amendment principles in a consistent way, according to a report on his news-media related decisions released by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.MORE
A Republican president can reassert management rights
Donald Trump will have the ability to impact several key federal government agencies, including the National Labor Relations Board and the U.S. Department of Labor.MORE
Update on litigation filed to stop the DOL overtime rule
Mike Zinser reports on two upcoming hearings on the overtime rule: one set for Nov. 16 and one on Nov. 28. One possible result is that the court could enjoin and halt the Dec. 1 implementation of the rule.MORE
Update on Congressional action to limit U.S. Department of Labor overtime rule
This writer previously reported on Representative Kurt Schrader's bill to phase in the overtime threshold over a four-year period. This legislation now has seven bipartisan co-sponsors and counting.
Senator Lamar Alexander (Republican-Tennessee) has introduced Senate Bill 3464, which also would gradually phase in the Department of Labor's overtime rule over five years, starting with a salary threshold increase to $35,984 on Dec. 1, 2016; the bill provides for salary threshold increases in 2018 and 2019, but no increase in 2017. The bill provides for the Department of Labor's $47,476 threshold to take effect on Dec. 1, 2020. Like the House bill, this legislation would also prohibit the automatic annual increases to the salary threshold dictated by the Department of Labor's Final Rule.MORE
Reporters Committee launches 'FOIA Wiki' beta
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has launched a beta of the FOIA Wiki, a collaborative and evolving digital resource on the federal Freedom of Information Act. The FOIA Wiki is part legal guide, part community space for sharing information that aims to serve as a central hub on all manner of issues surrounding FOIA as the law celebrates its 50th anniversary.MORE
Lawsuits filed to stop DOL overtime rule
On Sept. 20, a coalition of more than 55 Texas and national business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, filed a lawsuit in federal court in Texas. The lawsuit asks the court to vacate and set aside the Department of Labor's new overtime rule, set to take effect Dec. 1. Further, it asks the court to issue an injunction, postpone the effective date of the overtime rule, and to maintain the status quo, pending the court's review of the lawsuit.
A second lawsuit was also filed by the attorney generals of Nevada, Texas and 21 other states to enjoin the new rule.MORE
Machinists union abandons unit in Omaha
This month, Mike Zinser looks at a newspaper that withdrew recognition of a bargaining unit, legislation that would limit the Department of Labor's Final Rule on overtime, and whether Title VII covers sexual orientation.MORE
Outside sales exemption is constitutional
Ohio Supreme Court upholds a minimum wage amendment in the Ohio Constitution that states, in pertinent part, that "employer," "employee," "person" and "independent contractor" all have the same meanings as they do under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
While not specifically discussing this case, federal law also excludes from the Wage and Hour Law individuals who deliver newspapers to the consumer. The same exclusion should also apply under Ohio law.MORE
NLRB independent contractor status update
The National Labor Relations Board has held that companies do not violate the National Labor Relations Act solely by misclassifying employees as independent contractors. Bottom line: the decision to classify an individual as an independent contractor rather than an employee will not, by itself, subject an employer to liability under the National Labor Relations Act.More
Develop a plan now to address Department of Labor's proposed overtime rule
The U.S. Department of Labor's rule to increase the salary threshold for the overtime exemption of executive, administrative and professional employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act has not yet been finalized.
The March 7 proposed rule was open for comments for a 60-day period. The Department of Labor received more than 116,000 public comments. The Department of Labor sent its final draft of the rule to the White House and the Office of Management and Budget on Aug. 12. The text of the final rule has not been made public.
When the final rule is published with an effective date, many expect unions and worker advocates to mount legal challenges to the rule. Even though the final rule may be challenged, it would be wise to be developing a plan now to address this huge budgetary issue.
This column focuses on the standard salary threshold, which will have the most dramatic impact on your company, and offers an action plan to address the standard salary threshold increase.More
NLRB General Counsel: Uber drivers are independent
The Division of Advice within the NLRB general counsel's office recently issued a memorandum describing why it believed Uber drivers should be considered independent contractors, not employees for purposes of the National Labor Relations Act. For that reason, charges filed by Uber drivers were dismissed.
The general counsel believed the Uber drivers to be independent contractors for two key reasons.More