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The Obstacles to Private Resolution of FLSA Claims >
July 31, 2017
The Legal Intelligencer
By: Andrea M. Kirshenbaum
A question that has bedeviled employers for decades: Can employers obtain a release of claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in the absence of DOL or court approval? A recent decision adds more fuel to the fire, dismissing a plaintiff's FLSA claims and holding that the plaintiff's "pre-litigation settlement agreement" released her FLSA claims, even without the imprimatur of the DOL or a court.

Pa. High Court Addresses Scope of the Environmental Rights Amendment >
July 25, 2017
There is no doubt that the PEDF decision will lead to more challenges to government actions and challenges to legislation or regulations relating to the environment as different stakeholders find different meanings in the decision. There is also no doubt that the three-part Payne test will not be applicable to those challenges. It is clear that when those challenges implicate the use of or the impact to publicly owned natural resources the standard of review will involve the private trust principles discussed in the opinion. What is less clear is what standard of review will apply to government actions or government authorizations for private actions that impact the environment generally.

Inconsistent Performance Standards Dooms Defense Case >
July 12, 2017
The Legal Intelligencer
By: Sidney R. Steinberg
Over the years, a consistent theme of this column has been that employers need to hold all employees, regardless of protected characteristic, to the same standard in order to avoid even the appearance of discrimination. These are generally “employment words to live by.” Realistically, however, managers often hold more senior employees to a higher standard than they do relative newcomers. while a number of courts recognize this reality, in a recent case, the manager's shifting explanation of her performance standards created a “genuine issue of fact,” which defeated summary judgment.

The DOJ's New Parameters for Evaluating Corporate Compliance Programs >
July 7, 2017
Business Crimes Bulletin
By: Ronald H. Levine and Carolyn H. Kendall
An effective compliance program is essential for any business, allowing the organization to identify potential vulnerabilities and to minimize risk. It is also relevant in defending against government investigations and prosecutions, criminal or civil. In fiscal year 2016, 132 organizations were sentenced (129 pleaded guilty; only three went to trial); however, according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, only 2.1% of organizations seeking acceptance of responsibility credit under U.S. Sentencing Guideline § 8C2.5 had an “effective” compliance program.

Expectations After Pa. High Court Workers' Comp Ruling >
July 5, 2017
By: Karyn Dobroskey Rienzi
In a significant decision affecting employers, workers' compensation insurance carriers, and third-party administrators, on June 20, 2017, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared that Section 306(a.2) of the Workers' Compensation Act constitutes an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power to the American Medical Association (AMA) and struck the 21-year-old provision from the act. As a result of the Supreme Court's decision in Protz v. WCAB (Derry Area School District), the impairment rating evaluation (IRE) process has been eliminated from Pennsylvania workers' compensation law.

HR Employee's Knowledge of Complaints Was Not Protected Activity >
June 7, 2017
The Legal Intelligencer
By: Sidney R. Steinberg
When a human resources professional brings a discrimination claim, his former employer will be on high alert. But the recently decided case, Grdinich v. Philadelphia Housing Authority, raises the question of whether every discussion by an HR professional in the workplace rises to the level of "protected activity" under the anti-discrimination laws

Cloud Control: Data Security Hazards and How to Avoid Them >
June 6, 2017
The Legal Intelligencer's 2017 Cybersecurity Supplement
By: Abraham J. Rein
In The Legal Intelligencer's 2017 Cybersecurity Supplement, Abe Rein examines the security issues for companies related to cloud computing, the related legal problems, and high-level risk mitigation measures that companies should be considering with respect to the cloud.

Maintaining a Unified Medical Staff in a Multi-Hospital System >
May 11, 2017
AHLA Hospitals & Health Systems Rx
By: Robin Locke Nagele
As health care mergers proliferate and hospital systems expand and grow into regional and national systems, they are constantly confronting the question of how to manage the hospital governance and medical staff functions across the system in the most efficient and effective manner. One way of accomplishing this is through the unification of the governing bodies and medical staffs of multiple separately certified hospitals in a single system.

Court Eases Burden on Employees in FMLA Retaliation Claims >
April 12, 2017
The Legal Intelligencer
By: Sidney R. Steinberg
Employers and their counsel face the specter of Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) retaliation on a seemingly daily basis. Managers are often frustrated by an employee's absence and may find that the department continues to function successfully during the employee's absence. The employee's return (or continuation of the leave if intermittent) may not go smoothly and whether his employment continues, an FMLA retaliation claim may ensue.

States and Localities Tussle for Wage-and-Hour Control >
April 3, 2017
The Legal Intelligencer
By: Andrea M. Kirshenbaum
From paid sick leave to increasing the minimum wage, states and localities have passed a wide-array of wage-and-hour laws over the past few years. spurred in part by the "Fight for $15" movement, 21 states and the district of Columbia have changed their minimum wage laws since January 2014, according to the economic Policy institute. Some of these changes have come from legislatures, while others like state laws in Colorado and Maine, were approved by voters at the ballot box. localities have increasingly entered the fray as well, increasing minimum wages above state minimum wage levels.

ADA Tension Highlighted in Return-to-Work Case >
February 8, 2017
The Legal Intelligencer
By: Sidney R. Steinberg
Returning employees who are injured at work to their positions can leave employers navigating between "a rock and a hard place." The often competing interests between obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act competing with the workers' compensation laws render most return-to-work situations a challenge. The recent decision of McGlone v. Philadelphia Gas Works illustrates what is likely a typical scenario.

Intra-Company Romance Leads to Sexual Harassment Claim >
January 11, 2017
The Legal Intelligencer
By: Sidney R. Steinberg
Intra-company romantic relationships are a minefield for employers. Nowhere is this better exemplified than in the recent case of Gatter v. Ika-Works. The case seems to merge employment law with a reality television show gone bad, involving the romantic relationship between a local sales representative and the son of the Ika-Works' President, himself a part-owner of the company, with walks on a beach and a Mediterranean boating trip. The sexual harassment complaint seems to have been almost inevitable.

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