A recent 2nd Circuit court ruling will affect how employers have to deal with employees who make profane comments about their place of employment or associated workers outside of work time. The April 21st ruling noted that an employee's Facebook rant, in which the employee used profanity to describe a supervisor, was protected speech because the employee was in the middle of union talks and then used the post's subject matter to promote the union. The employee had been fired for the rant, but the court's decision means that now, firing for a similar situation will not be the go-to option for employers.
The misclassification of employees as independent contractors only leads to confusion, potential abuse, and possible delays in benefits. These classifications exist to help employers, workers, and the state better understand exactly what the workers are doing and what benefits they may be eligible for should something happen to their work with a particular company. Misclassification is often the result of a mistake that, while annoying at the time, can be fixed rather easily. However, misclassification has been used to defraud workers and state government. The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division is now cracking down on misclassification. It's crucial that both employers and workers know who qualifies as what.
What's going on with minimum wage? Employers must be aware that there is somewhat of a discrepancy between the federal minimum wage and the cost of living in 2016. This past Sunday, July 24, was the seventh year that the federal minimum wage has remained the same, even with the increased cost of daily expenses. The cost of living has risen 12% since 2009, leaving the actual value of minimum wage crashing to the ground. This is a huge step down from the days before Reagan, when the minimum wage started to fall. In 1968 minimum wage was at its highest. If we look at the dive from that peak, the value has dropped more than 25%.
Though most employees don't realize it, employee handbooks may be the cornerstone of an employer-employee relationship in many job fields. Not only do they outline an employer's expectations for employee conduct, they also notify employees about what they will be held accountable for as well as some of their protections under the law.