Blog

Justice Kavanaugh Takes Seat on Supreme Court

After a historically bruising confirmation battle, Judge Brett Kavanaugh has been sworn in and has taken his seat as Justice Kavanaugh on the U.S. Supreme Court.  This week he took part in his first oral arguments, asking questions of both sides. Justice Kavanaugh’s years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has been extensively analyzed by commentators, and his history of opinions on various areas of the law dissected.  Writing for the influential SCOTUSblog, Charlotte Garden summarized…

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EEOC Touts Sexual Harassment Efforts

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission just released preliminary data on sexual harassment lawsuits and charges for Fiscal Year 2018, “highlighting its significant work this past year to address the pervasive problem of workplace harassment.” Expressing pride in the EEOC staff who “stepped up to the heightened demand of the #MeToo movement, the Commission announced it had filed 41 sexual harassment lawsuits, 50% more than in the previous fiscal year, and accepted 12% more sexual harassment charges than in the…

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After a Good Term for Employers, U.S. Supreme Court Starts New Term

The U.S. Supreme Court started a new term on Monday, October 1st, with only eight justices, following the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy and the delayed confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.  The Court will have to make do with eight for the moment, but it has a lot of experience with that, having operated for months with eight justices after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016. The previous term, covering October 2017 to June 2018, was a good…

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Employers May Want Inclement Weather and Emergency Policies

As San Antonio remains largely shut down as it experiences another winter weather event (ice and freezing temps), some employers are probably thinking, “We could have used an inclement weather policy.”  They were likely thinking the same thing on December 7th when it snowed, the previous February when tornadoes hit San Antonio, or the April before that when part of San Antonio was hit by a vicious hail storm. We never know when inclement weather (or an emergency like the…

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Employers Must Start Using New I-9 Form

From September 18th, employers must start using a new Form I-9 with a revision date of 07/17/17.  As you might guess, the new form was issued on July 17th, by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The new form can be downloaded from the USCIS site, uscis.gov. Employers can and, indeed, must continue using existing storage and retention rules for I-9s, which are also on the USCIS site.  I-9 compliance is a priority for the USCIS, and non-compliance is a…

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Trump Administration Begins to End DACA

On September 5th, the Trump administration rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), and announced a six-month process for winding down the program.  Guidance is available from the Department of Homeland Security, dhs.gov, in a number of press releases issued on Sep. 5th. The Obama administration initiated DACA in 2012 for “Dreamers,” children brought into the USA illegally by their parents, allowing them to apply for a two-year, renewable deferred action on deportation and a work permit, called…

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Courts End Rule Increasing Salary Level Rule for White-Collar Exemptions

The Department of Labor’s 2016 rule increasing the salary threshold for the white-collar exemptions (executive, administrative, and professional) from the wage and hour laws are now history. On August 31st, a U.S. district judge in Sherman ruled against the rule, concluding that the threshold was set so high that duties requirements of the exemptions no longer mattered.  The judge backed off his earlier conclusion that the DoL did  not have the authority to set a salary threshold at all. The…

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Labor Day 2017 Thoughts

Happy Labor Day!  As we observe another Labor Day, we see that the job market is good and labor & employment law continues to evolve. The August jobs report was a little disappointing, with fewer jobs created than experts predicted and the unemployment rate ticking up to 4.4%.  Still, that level is still close to what economists call “full employment,” and there are plenty of job openings waiting to be filled. In labor & employment law, the Department of Labor…

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Law Protecting Leave to Care for Foster Children to Go Into Effect

Tomorrow, September 1st, Texas employers need to start observing a new law passed by the Legislature in April that requires them to treat leave to care for foster children the same as leave to care for biological or adopted children. The new law, House Bill 88, makes the failure to comply an unlawful employment practice.  Employers do not have to have policies allowing employees to take leave to care for children, but, if they do, the policies must treat foster…

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Health Care Act Passes House, But Faces Uncertain Future

On May 4th, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “American Health Care Act” by a 217-213 vote, but the bill faces a very uncertain future in the U.S. Senate, where it is extremely unlikely to pass unscathed, if it passes that body at all. Until then, the Affordable Care Act, a/k/a Obamacare, is still in effect.   The stakes for employers are high, whether Obamacare stays in effect or is repealed or replaced in whole or in part.  Stay…

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