Legislative Updates and Alerts

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  • Friday, May 20, 2016 12:58 PM | Diane Lasorda (Administrator)

    On May 18, 2016, President Obama and Secretary Perez announced the publication of the Department of Labor’s final rule updating the overtime regulations, which will automatically extend overtime pay protections to over 4 million workers within the first year of implementation. This long-awaited update will result in a meaningful boost to many workers’ wallets, and will go a long way toward realizing President Obama’s commitment to ensuring every worker is compensated fairly for their hard work.

    https://www.dol.gov/whd/overtime/final2016/


  • Wednesday, July 01, 2015 12:52 PM | Diane Lasorda (Administrator)

    Yesterday the U.S. Department of Labor issued a proposed rule to drastically decrease the number of employees who qualify for exempt status (i.e. exempt from overtime) under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

    Under current rules, an employee is generally exempt from overtime if he/she earns at least $455 a week as a salary and also meets the duties of the executive, administrative, professional, or some other exemption.  Note: outside sales positions are a different story.

    In the DOL's proposed rule, to qualify for the exemption, an employee must earn a salary of  $970/week ($50,440 a year), significantly higher than the current standard.

    In the staffing industry, this will primarily impact your office staff, not your temporary employees.  Here is an article by Jackson Lewis on the subject.   

    http://www.jacksonlewis.com/resources.php?NewsID=5195


  • Monday, June 29, 2015 5:30 PM | Diane Lasorda (Administrator)

    As the Georgia Staffing Association looks back on the 2015 legislative session, we can be thankful for another session in which Georgia proved to be good for business.

    Transportation and education dominated this year’s session.  To transportation, the legislature provided around $900 million in new annual transportation funding (H.B. 170).   They got there with any number of taxes, fees and credit eliminations.  Next, bills addressing education flexibility (S.B. 2) and “persistently failing” schools (S.B. 133) combined to provide changes in the state’s education delivery system.  While the GSA did not take a position on these issues, we are encouraged seeing Georgia tackle infrastructure and education head on.

    The legislature passed a number of bills that affect workforce solutions providers more directly, to include:

    • Allowing employers to create a “veteran’s preference employment policy” (H.B. 443),
    • Authorizing wage payment via payroll cards (S.B. 88),
    • Changing the definition of “most recent employer” to mean “most recent employer”, without a qualification period, as it relates to unemployment benefits (H.B. 117),
    • Strengthening the “exclusive remedy” provision of the workers compensation statute, as it relates to contractors and their clients (H.B. 412).

    Finally, the session ended with the resignation of Representative Mark Hamilton.  Representative Hamilton, the owner of H & H Staffing Services in Cumming, chaired the House’s Labor, Commerce and Industry committee.  Chairman Hamilton was a regular speaker at GSA’s Legislative Day and a constant advocate in the legislature.  While GSA wishes the Chairman all the best in his newest venture, we will miss him in the Legislature.

    Thank you to the members who engaged their legislators this session.  Please stay involved locally so that we can act on a state level.


  • Wednesday, May 27, 2015 9:03 AM | Diane Lasorda (Administrator)

    Staffing Firm Scores Major Victory in Overtime Class Action

    American Staffing Association (05/15/15) Stephen Dwyer

    A staffing firm recently defeated a class action lawsuit in which plaintiffs—who held the positions of account managers, assistant branch managers, and staffing consultants—alleged that they were misclassified as exempt employees and owed overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan granted the firm’s motion for summary judgment, ruling that the workers exercised independent judgment and discretion and were exempt administrative employees. The court further ruled that the staffing firm was immune to liability pursuant to its good faith reliance on U.S. Department of Labor opinion letters addressing the extent to which recruiters and account managers can be exempt administrative employees.

    To read the case, see Perry et al v. Randstad General Partner (US) LLC, Case No. 14-11240, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, May 12, 2015).

    Federal bill chart:  https://americanstaffing.net/staffing-law-advocacy/staffing-legislation/pending-workforce-legislation/federal/

    State bill charts: https://americanstaffing.net/staffing-law-advocacy/staffing-legislation/pending-workforce-legislation/state/

     


  • Thursday, May 21, 2015 1:33 PM | Diane Lasorda (Administrator)

    Several members of GSA attended the 2015 ASA Law Conference in Washington last month.  Look for more details in the Legislative section. Here are some comments on those who attended:

    Really nothing new on ACA except the importance of getting the 2016 reporting correct. It's a complicated issue and was glad to get more information on what's going to be expected. I learned some areas we need to work on related to criminal background checks and cleaning up our handbook. Karl Rove was fantastic! I hope he returns next year.  The networking was also fantastic! I learned as much from my peers as I did from the speakers. 

    The ACA portion of the Staffing Law Conference is worth the price of admission! The information provided from the ASA legal team as well as staffing firm owners is invaluable. Surveys were done in the room through our smart phones or I-Pads that gave real time information about how other companies in our industry, across the country, are handling the ACA. The panel spoke about different plans that staffing firms can offer their temporary employees, internal tracking, as to how to look at our temporary employees with regard to variable hour, the governmental reporting requirements, and the legal challenges. It’s great information, not only for our staffing companies, but information that we can share with our clients. 



  • Sunday, February 12, 2012 3:02 PM | Diane Lasorda (Administrator)

    DOL Fraud Reporting Update

    As some of our members are aware, the GSA Board has been working closely with the DOL and lawmakers to develop a way to report fraud and abuse of individuals receiving unemployment benefits. Most employers, especially in the Staffing Industry, realize the vast number of jobseekers that either decline suitable work or do not pass pre-employment drug screens while possibly receiving unemployment benefits. Until now, there has not been a formal process to report this to the DOL for investigation and termination of benefits.

    GSA is proud to announce that a pilot program has recently been launched on the Georgia Department of Labor web site, www.dol.state.ga.us. Employers can find a “Reporting UI Fraud and Abuse” link in the “Spotlight” section in the lower left hand corner of the site. At this time, the process is set up to manually send printed forms to the DOL. In the near future, the DOL expects to launch an automated forms process and continue its improvement during its test phase.

    In order to make this program successful and send a message to benefit seekers and recipients, it is critical that all employers take action NOW to develop internal processes to help this initiative. With Georgia’s UI taxes and state debt at record levels, this process is one step closer to preventing benefits getting into potentially fraudulent hands.

    Please be on the lookout for future press release from the Georgia Department of Labor on this matter. Now, more than ever, we need to protect our industry and tax dollars.

  • Monday, June 13, 2011 12:46 PM | Diane Lasorda (Administrator)

    What Employers Need to Know to Navigate this new Immigration minefield.

    Tuesday, June 28, 2011
    Registration:  8:00 AM-8:30 AM
    Program: 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM

    Where: Resurgens Plaza, 945 East Paces Ferry Road, Suite 2700, Atlanta, 30326

    Presented by EpsteinBeckerGreen, Attorneys

    To register:  https://ecoms.ebglaw.com/reaction/RSGenPage.asp?RSID=PZPu-3szqh9nBu8pUUgK2QZOoKqgSDxPC_HUi_Q_86ZE5Wss5uIM7i-ocTWpkKVR

    Contact Christine Eschenauer at 212-351-4668 or ceschenauer@ebglaw.com for more details or questions.

  • Monday, December 13, 2010 3:47 PM | Diane Lasorda (Administrator)
    Georgia has always been a tough state for non-competition covenants. However, Georgia law was changed dramatically on November 3, 2010, by the enactment of a statute that should bring greater certainty to what will (and will not) be enforceable in future agreements. The new law has safe harbors for reasonability and permits a court to narrow (or "blue pencil") an overly broad covenant to make it reasonable.

    See the GSA Home Page for access to this important information.

     

     

  • Saturday, June 26, 2010 1:03 PM | Deleted user

    Thursday, June 24, 2010
    Non-compete law won't create indentured servitude
    By Michael Elkon, Special to the Daily Report

    A casual reader of the Daily Report who happened to digest Howard Johnston's June 10 attack on O.C.G.A. § 13-8-50 et seq., Georgia's new non-compete statute, might wonder why it is that the General Assembly passed a bill that will create "indentured servant[s]" in this state. A lawyer reading Mr. Johnston's letter might wonder how the statute will cause legal practice in Georgia to become similar to that of John Grisham's "The Firm," a novel about an attorney who learns that the firm that employs him is a front for the Mafia and has murdered a number of its lawyers. The reality is that the new statute will not lead to the grim future that Mr. Johnston suggests. Rather, the new non-compete statute will place Georgia in line with the majority of states in this country.

    As an initial matter, Georgia law on restrictive covenants is not nearly as clear as Mr. Johnston claims. It is difficult to enforce a restrictive covenant in Georgia. However, Georgia accomplishes this result through a bevy of decisions from the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. Unlike California, which has a statute prohibiting non-compete and non-solicitation covenants in the employment context, Georgia's anti-enforcement regime is the product of a thicket of case law. Thus, one advantage of the new non-compete statute will be that Georgia's rules on restrictive covenants will be clear and easily accessible to attorneys and laypeople who are not specialists in the area.

    It is interesting that Mr. Johnston cites the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals' recent decision in H&R Block E. Enter. Inc. v. Morris, No. 09-11184, 2010 WL 1947011 (11th Cir. May 17, 2010), as that case disproves his contention that restrictive covenants are subject to "three simple rules" and that "most business attorneys" can easily tell whether a covenant is enforceable. In Morris, Judge Charles A. Pannell Jr. of the Northern District analyzed the agreement at issue and ruled it unenforceable. The Court of Appeals looked at the same agreement and reached the opposite conclusion. If experienced, highly qualified jurists disagree as to the enforceability of a covenant, then that is not evidence of clear rules.

    In contrast, the new non-compete statute sets forth a basic framework for evaluating restrictive covenants. Mr. Johnston omits or misstates a number of pieces of that framework. For instance, the statute prohibits the use of non-compete provisions except for key employees, professionals and employees with sales or significant management functions. The statute sets forth that employer/employee restrictive covenants of more than two years duration are presumed to be unreasonable. Furthermore, the statute permits courts to take an employee's economic hardship into account. Mr. Johnston ignores all of these protections for employees. Most glaringly, Mr. Johnston claims that judges will be "required to intervene to save poorly drafted covenants not to compete." This is flatly untrue, as O.C.G.A. § 13-8-53(d) provides that modification of otherwise unenforceable provisions is permissive: "a court may modify a covenant that is otherwise void and unenforceable as long as the modification does not render the covenant more restrictive with regard to the employee than as originally drafted by the parties." Moreover, this particular provision brings Georgia in line with the significant majority of states, which permit blue penciling of restrictive covenants.

    The reasonableness of the statute is evidenced by the margins with which the General Assembly enacted it. HB 173, the bill containing the new non-compete statute, passed the House of Representatives in 2009 by a margin of 137-22 and the Senate by 45-2. HR 178, the bill containing the enabling constitutional amendment, passed the House in 2010 by a margin of 158-12 and then the Senate by 48-1. Bills that are secret ploys by "corporate lobbying" and "Big Law" do not pass by those margins. This is especially true for the non-compete legislation because opponents of the statute like Mr. Johnston had a year between passage of HB 173 and its enabling amendment to rally opposition. The absence of significant opposition to the amendment is telling.

    Having participated in the House Judiciary Committee hearings on HB 173, I can attest to the fact that the non-compete legislation was considered with care and vetted by a bipartisan collection of legislators. The statute strikes a balance between the rights of employees to move between jobs, the interests of Georgia businesses to protect their relationships and confidential information, and the ability of those same businesses to hire new talent. If I end up stuck working for Gene Hackman and Hal Holbrook at Bendini, Lambert & Locke, then I'll admit to being wrong about the statute. However, the more prosaic outcome will be that the new non-compete statute will simply normalize Georgia's law on the subject.

     



    Les Wharton | Bio
    (404) 869-5347 (direct) | (404) 869-5447 (fax)
    LWharton@ebglaw.com

    EPSTEINBECKERGREEN
    Resurgens Plaza
    945 East Paces Ferry Road, Suite 2700 | Atlanta, GA 30326
    (404) 923-9000 (main) | www.ebglaw.com


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