Texas Justices Wrestle with Definition of “Employee”

In a coverage dispute between contractors, the Texas Supreme Court questioned how broadly the court should interpret the word "employee" under the Texas Anti-Indemnity Act (“TAIA”). One defendant, a crane company called Maxim Crane Works LPl, urged the court to adopt a definition that would result in Zurich American Insurance Co. paying $3.8 million in legal bills. The court pondered the definition of “employee” Read More

Department of Labor Proposes New Formula For H-2A Guest Worker Wages

As December began, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) proposed a modified formula for calculating minimum wages for agricultural guest workers on H-2A visas. The proposal was necessitated by a federal judge in California striking down a prior proposal in December 2020 for the DOL failing to provide sufficient justification for two fundamental changes. The new proposal mirrors most of the previous methodology but Read More

5th Circuit Panel Affirms OSHA Fine Imposed Against Business For Employee’s Willful Conduct

A Fifth Circuit panel affirmed a $35,000 fine imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration fine against a Texas highway construction business. The split panel found that the business may be held liable for the willful acts of an employee. Under the facts of this case, the act in question is a project foreman’s intentional disregard for required job site safety measures. The 2-1 panel upheld the Read More

Kroger Fights Allegations of Broken Promises to Employees

Quentin and Marie Smith sued Kroger and a union health insurance plan that serves Kroger employees, including Quentin, in an Arkansas state court in July 2021. The suit makes allegations that include breach of contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”) violations, and it was removed to federal court in November. As December began, Kroger moved Read More

Department of Justice’s 1st Wage-Fixing Case Survives Motion to Dismiss

In December 2020, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Neeraj Jindal, the former owner of a therapist staffing company, for participating in a price-fixing conspiracy to lower the rates paid to physical therapists and their assistants in north Texas. The case avoided its first challenge in late November 2021.  when a federal district court in Sherman, Texas declined to grant the defendants’ motion to Read More

CMS Rule Requires Vaccinations of Health Care Employees

In November 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released its long-awaited and highly anticipated interim final rule (IFR) requiring health care workers to be vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also released its emergency temporary standard requiring vaccination or weekly testing for the COVID-19 virus for employers with 100 employees Read More

Employer May Terminate Employee After Remedial Action for FMLA Noncompliance

In Watson v. Drexel University, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled that an employer may terminate an employee for taking unauthorized leave after the employer had corrected an earlier mistake in its Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) certification requirements. In Watson, an employee requested authorization for FMLA leave for personal illness after providing the required medical certification. Read More

States Argue Employer Vaccine Mandate Disregards Constitutional RIghts

The three states in the Eleventh Circuit, Georgia, Florida, and Alabama, as well as several private employers, petitioned the Eleventh Circuit in State of Florida et al. v. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, (Case No. 21-13866), to review the federal government's employer vaccine mandate. The petition alleges that the policy demonstrates a disregard for constitutional rights by the Biden Administration. Read More

White House Announces Unprecedented National Gender Strategy

Just before the end of October, the Biden administration announced an unprecedented national gender strategy to advance the full participation of women and girls, both, here in the United States and abroad. “President Biden and Vice President Harris believe that advancing gender equity and equality is fundamental to every individual’s economic security, safety, health and ability to exercise their most basic Read More

New EEOC Guidance Tackles Faith-Based Vax Exemptions

The question of how employers handle applications for religious exemptions to vaccine requirements has become more prevalent throughout the country. In new guidance issued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), federal anti-discrimination law permits employers to scrutinize exemption requests rooted in political or personal objections. The guidance states this while reiterating that businesses Read More