The Department of Labor (DOL) issued guidance August 24, 2020, to remind employers of their obligation to keep accurate records of the time worked by non-exempt employees to ensure that non-exempt employees were paid for all time worked. The DOL did so in light of the tremendous increase in employees teleworking.
The regulations addressing this topic have remained largely unchanged for more than fifty years, but the world in which we work is dramatically different. The three regulations forming the basis of the DOL’s guidance, and a plethora of judicial decisions, read:
It’s August in Oklahoma. Families would ordinarily be buying school clothes and supplies, getting their children ready to head back to school. But there is nothing ordinary about 2020.
Oklahoma has no statewide mandate regarding schools. Across the state, school districts, charter schools, and private schools are making decisions – even as of this writing – as to whether and how to start the school year. Some schools have moved up their start date while others have pushed it back. Some schools will have in-person instruction five days a week, while others will have students in-person only on certain days, and others will have distance learning exclusively. Even for schools offering in-person instruction, many have suspended their afterschool care programs. And, of course, every parent has been told there could be changes.
While this is an extraordinary challenge and disruption for the parents and children of Oklahoma, it is likewise a challenge and disruption for Oklahoma employers. No article can address all of the scenarios Oklahoma families will face as they navigate these issues, but we wanted to touch upon the topic in hopes of preparing employers. Continue reading
Unless you are totally “off the grid,” you have heard news of the Coronavirus, more specifically COVID-19. While one must not overreact as there is more unknown than known about the virus, as a business owner, Human Resources professional, or manager, you have a responsibility to your workforce to be appropriately prepared for this as you would any other possible disruption such as a flood or an ice storm. This article will not provide you definitive answers. Each of you will have different considerations. It will provide you with a road map of things to consider. We strongly encourage you to think about these things sooner rather than later. While it is likely you will never need to implement a crisis response plan, it is better to have one ready than to be caught with none. Continue reading
If you are a federal contractor, you need to be aware of a new law. If not, this serves to remind us all of the growing trend in favor of “ban the box” legislation.
In December 2019, President Trump signed into law the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020.” Tucked into that law is the “Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act of 2019” otherwise known as the “Fair Chance Act.” This law applies to federal agencies as well as to defense contractors (neither of which will be defined in this article).
Generally speaking, if you submit a bid to a federal executive agency for work, you will be required to comply with this law. Continue reading
Richard Turner was a crane operator for Phillips 66. On April 24, 2017, he was selected for a random drug test under Phillips 66’s drug and alcohol testing policy. On April 27, 2017, he was involved in a workplace accident and was tested again pursuant to the employer’s post-accident policy.
Turner’s April 24 test revealed a confirmed positive for amphetamines. He produced a letter from his doctor that he was taking Sudafed. He argued this explained the positive, claiming it was a false positive. Nevertheless, he was terminated. Continue reading
Oklahoma’s law on workers’ compensation retaliation claims has undergone several changes since the 2014 move from the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Act to the Oklahoma Administrative Workers’ Compensation Act (OAWCA). Since the OAWCA was first enacted, there have been many challenges made and many questions raised. At the end of May, the law was tweaked when the Oklahoma Legislature amended Section 7 – the part of the law that governs claims by current or former employees against employers for retaliation. Because of all the confusion, it might be time to run through the three major changes and explain the state of the law – at least the state of the law as it exists at this moment in time. Continue reading
In lawsuits, the facts matter. Sierra High School employed Patti Hartman as its assistant principal. Dr. Griffen was the principal and Hartman’s direct supervisor. On November 4, 2014, Hartman suffered some injuries requiring her to miss work intermittently in November of 2014 and January 2015.
On January 14, 2015, Dr. Griffen met with her to discuss his intent to place her on a “Growth Improvement Plan.” She was ultimately placed on that Plan on February 9, 2015. It was during the February 9, 2015, meeting that Hartman said she would “formally” apply for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, which she did. She applied for and was granted FMLA leave from February 11 through April 9, 2015. However, because she ran out of paid leave, she returned to work early, on March 20, 2015. Continue reading
Recently, the federal court in Oklahoma City denied an employer’s motion for summary judgment in an Americans with Disabilities Act case. That’s not unusual; it happens. What makes this case unusual is that the Judge did so finding the plaintiffs had presented “direct evidence” of discrimination. That is unusual. Generally, an employer moves for summary judgment under what we call the McDonnell-Douglas standard, which is a way the courts view the evidence because most of the cases involve circumstantial evidence. What happened in this case is worth reviewing, and the lesson is clear – employers must train decisionmakers about the law!
Folmar was the plant manager of a manufacturing facility (“the Plant”). He had remained in contact with some guys from high school, Dunsworth and Shelton, both veterans. Folmar knew they were both veterans. Folmar told them about some positions at the Plant. Dunsworth and then Shelton made application through a temp agency and were placed for work at the Plant. During orientation, they were asked about medication which might affect safety. They were also told to call in and speak to a supervisor or manager if they were going to be absent or late. At some point at work, Dunsworth informed the Plant’s safety rep that he had been prescribed a pain medication. The safety rep expressed some concern about it, but Dunsworth said he only took it at night because it made him drowsy. Continue reading
Most people have heard this saying at some point in their life, probably as a child. “Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can never harm you.” With a quick internet search, references to this saying go back as early as to the 1800s. The intent of the saying seems clear; to help someone soldier on in the face of hurtful words. Yet, there are countless stories noting that, in fact, words can and do harm people.
The courts have grappled with this concept in the realm of harassment and hostile environment cases. Are there words that are sufficiently hurtful as to create a claim for racial harassment or the creation of a racially hostile working environment? What is the employer’s responsibility to stop such conduct? Continue reading
Election Day is almost upon us – Tuesday, November 6, 2018.
Most every state has laws protecting the rights of people to vote. In Oklahoma, employees have the right to have time off of work – if needed – so they may cast their vote. You need to understand those rights so you are prepared.
Oklahoma employers cannot penalize an employee (who is a registered voter) with loss of wages or of benefits and cannot cause an employee to suffer any adverse employment action for exercising her right to vote.
How and when must an employee make a request? Continue reading