In a major (and surprise) ruling, a federal judge in Texas has issued a preliminary injunction blocking the Department of Labor’s new overtime rule scheduled to go into effect on December 1, 2016. The new rule would have increased the minimum annual salary requirements for exempt employees will from $455 per week to $913 per week (or from $23,666-$47,476 per year). Importantly, although 21 states participated in the lawsuit, US District Judge Amos L. Mazzant rejected a request by the Department of Labor to limit the injunction to the states that filed the lawsuit and instead issued an order blocking the new rule nationwide. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR EMPLOYERS AND WORKERS? For now, employers who rely upon the “white collar exemptions,” referred to as the executive, administrative, and professional exemptions, will be permitted to continue paying the minimum salary requirement of $455 per week. In order to classify an employee as salaried “exempt,” the employer must satisfy both the salary requirements and the “duties” requirements of the exemptions. Most overtime claims and overtime liability arise out of an employer’s failure to satisfy the duties requirements for the exemption. For example, the “executive” exemption Employers rely on (sometimes referred to as the “managerial” exemption) requires the employer to demonstrate that the employee’s “primary duty” must be the management of a department or division of the company AND that the employee regularly directs the work of two or more full-time employees (or full-time equivalents) AND that the employee must have the authority […]Read More
Under federal law, any non-exempt employee who works in excess of 40 hours in a workweek is entitled to overtime pay at 1.5 times their regular rate.Read More
About Florida Whistleblower Laws Insights into Whistleblower Rights and Obligations Employees are in a unique position to know what is happening at a business. For this reason, the government encourages employees who have information about wrongdoing to come forward. In some cases whistleblowers are entitled to money a government agency recovers because of information the employee provided. In all cases of legitimate whistleblowing, the employee is protected from retaliation. Whistleblower protection does not grant an employee immunity from legitimate negative consequences, but only those related to the whistleblowing. However, businesses should be careful to document the reasons for firing an employee who is considered a whistleblower under Florida or federal law. Whistleblowing on a Private Employer An employee is protected against retaliation for reporting acts of harassment, discrimination or wage and hours violations under the Florida and federal whistleblower laws. An employer cannot make an adverse job-related decision, such as termination, demotion, pay-cut, transfer to an undesirable shift, rejection of leave requests or other action in retribution for the employee’s filing of a grievance complaint or cooperation with an investigation. Florida WhistleBlower’s Act The Florida Whistle-Blower’s Act, codified in Florida Statute §112.3187, protects Florida state employees and contractors from retaliation for exposing gross waste of funds, neglect of duty, mismanagement or legal violations that endanger the public’s health, safety or welfare. A designated whistleblower hotline allows the person reporting the wrongdoing to keep his or her identity confidential, unless disclosure becomes necessary during the investigation. However, the agency is barred from retaliating […]Read More
What You Need to Know In the past, non-compete agreements were reserved for high-level executives and professionals who had access to trade secrets and specialized, often expensive, training. Increasingly, however, businesses are asking employees at all levels to sign contracts that restrict their future employment. Hairstylists, tattoo artists, mid-level sales reps and computer technicians now regularly agree to give up future opportunities as a condition of current employment and many are surprised when they realize they cannot accept a job after they leave their current position. On the other side, businesses should understand the nature and extent of restrictions they are permitted to impose, because an overly broad non-compete agreement is unenforceable. An Enforceable Non-Compete Under Florida Laws A non-compete agreement is not intended to thwart competition, but rather to preserve the business’s competitive edge. An enforceable non-compete protects a business’s investment in its employees and keeps crucial information out of the hands of its competitors. Florida Statutes §542.335 requires a valid non-compete contract to be reasonable in time, area and line of business; in writing and signed by the employee, and; justified by a legitimate business interest. The statute even provides some examples of what constitutes a legitimate business interest: Trade secrets as defined by Florida Statute §688.002(4) Other valuable confidential information that does not qualify as a trade secret Potential or existing relationships with customers, patients or clients Goodwill associated with trademark, trade name, service mark or trade dress Goodwill associated with geographic location or marketing or trade […]Read More
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