Articles

March 12, 2019

Employment Law Update: Spring Has Sprung Proposed Overtime Rule and Confusion Over Wellness Incentives

The seasons have changed from Winter to Spring, but the EEOC’s position regarding wellness incentives remains the same. This year’s stalemate over employee wellness programs has increasingly caused employers to ask: have wellness incentives become more trouble than they are worth? In a dramatic shift from its former endorsement of wellness incentives, the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) has invalidated the incentive provisions of its wellness program regulations. The result: since January 1, 2019, when the EEOC regulations became ineffective, employers have been in limbo when it comes to implementing their employee wellness programs, with no guidance from the EEOC to speak of.

August 1, 2018

Employment Law Update: Summertime and Taking Leave Is Easy – August 2018

Summertime and Taking Leave Is Easy By: Malissa Wilson Summertime brings summer vacations and holidays.  However, for employers, it can also bring a pattern of Friday and Monday absenteeism by employees on intermittent leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or, perhaps in these instances, better referred to as the “Friday Monday Leave Act.”  Understandably, this pattern may raise the suspicion of an employer who questions the validity of the absence, but feels there is no recourse for fear of violating the FMLA.  However, employers, have no fear, there are ways to address the matter without running afoul of the FMLA. The FMLA allows eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for a specified family or medical reason with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.  Once it has been determined that an employee is eligible for leave under the FMLA, leave can be taken all at once or intermittently. It is intermittent leave that gives rise to the Friday/Monday absence pattern. Once an employee is certified for intermittent FMLA, an employer can request recertification every 30 days for pregnancy, chronic or permanent/long term conditions, none of which have a specified minimum duration of incapacity, provided the recertification is requested in connection with an absence and it is made on a “reasonable basis.”  If circumstances change significantly, or the employer receives information that cast doubt on the continuing validity of the certification, recertification […]

April 25, 2018

Employment Law Update: National DNA Day – April, 25 2018

Employers Beware: Collecting Genetic Information on Employees Could Lead to Litigation – In 2003, Congress designated April 25th as National DNA Day. The day marks the 50th anniversary of the discovery of DNA’s double helix in 1953 and celebrates the latest advances in genetics. However, these genetic advances have adversely impacted the workplace prompting Congress to pass the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) prohibiting genetic information discrimination.

April 11, 2018

Political Contributions: Know Your Limits by Spencer Ritchie

In Mississippi, every year is an election year. This election year, however, is shaping up to be one of the most memorable in the state in decades. Many Mississippians will seek to play an active part in these elections by contributing to campaigns and political parties. Such contributions are subject to federal and state campaign finance laws. Below is a summary of major restrictions….

January 24, 2018

Employment Law Update: Workplace Sexual Harassment – January 2018

In the wake of recent sexual misconduct allegations against numerous public figures, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)—the agency responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting workplace harassment—has reported a deluge of visits to its sexual harassment website. And the National Women’s Law Center—an organization that disseminates information about the legal definition of harassment and how to file charges with the EEOC—has seen a five-fold increase in the number of calls about sexual harassment. Many expect this increased awareness of improper sexual behavior will lead to a dramatic increase in the number of workplace sexual harassment claims.

October 16, 2017

Mississippi Business Journal Publishes Ritchie’s article on Mississippi Campaign Finance Laws

By: Spencer Ritchie Mississippi campaign finance laws are about to change, and it’s not just officeholders and candidates that need to be prepared for the changes. Businesses and other organizations that seek to participate in elections and ballot measures through political committees must also be ready…. read the full article here: SPENCER RITCHIE — Changes to Mississippi campaign finance laws affect business community    

September 25, 2017

Lay-Offs Down, EEOC Charges Up

Current labor department statistics reflect a steady decrease in layoffs since the 2007-2009 recession. While layoffs are down, charges of discrimination filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are steadily going up. Nationally, the number of charges has increased from 75,768 in 2016 to 91,503 in 2016. As for the specific type of charge, retaliation claims currently top the national list at 42,018 followed by race claims at 32,309.