In the news

News items to be aware of.
News items to be aware of.

This post today is a small collection of news items that caught my interest and I wanted you to be aware of them as well.

Retaliation claims still the biggest

The EEOC issued  report on claims shows an overall decline in claims, perhaps a reflection of the improved economy. The numbers showed that retaliation claims lead the pack with 42.8%. Race claims came in second.

The SEC doesn’t like your confidentiality agreement

The SEC flexed its Dodd-Frank muscle for the first time since the law went into effect. The SEC told a Delaware based technology company that its confidentiality agreement offered signers no opportunity to report wrong-doing to the government. They fined the company #130,000 and required them to insert a “whistleblower” provision in their confidentiality agreement. Does yours include something similar to this?

Nothing in this Confidentiality Statement prohibits me from reporting possible violations of federal law or regulation to any governmental agency or entity … or making other disclosures that are protected under the whistleblower provisions of federal law or regulation. I do not need the prior authorization of the Law Department to make any such reports or disclosures.

FLSA waivers not valid

During an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division of the USDOL a company was told they had improperly classified a group of employees as exempt. They changed the classification to non-exempt and paid the employees for overtime they had not been paid as a result of the misclassification. They included a statement with the check that said that any employee cashing the check was waiving their right to sue for any additional overtime claim. Seems like that was a smart move right? Unfortunately it was not. The FLSA actually requires that any such waiver needs to be approved. The company did not get approval from the investigator for either the waiver or the amounts paid to the employees. The employees subsequently sued for damages and their case has been allowed to proceed. Good thought on their part, bad execution.

H1-B Visas Cap reached for Fiscal Year 2016

On April 7, 2014 the cap for visas for Fiscal Year 2016 was reached prompting a lottery to determine who gets a visa. A group of 20,000 holding US Masters degrees was selected and then everyone else was basically thrown into the pot for the selection process for the remain 58,200 visas. If an application was received after April 7 it was put into the pool for FY 2017. As you can see it is not an easy task to get an H1-B visa.
Source: JDSupra Labor and Employment Insights Newsletter from April 9, 2015

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