The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) applies to state and local government employers, regardless of their size. The Court rejected an Arizona fire district’s argument that it could not be held liable for age discrimination under the ADEA because it only applied to state and private employers with at least 20 employees. The ADEA defines “employer” as a person “engaged in an industry affecting commerce who has 20 or more employees; the term also means (1) any agent of such a person, and (2) a State or political subdivision of a State.” The Court held that a natural reading of “also means” indicates a new category of employers that is not subject to the 20-employee threshold set forth in the first part of the definition. Based on this interpretation, the Court ruled that the ADEA applies to state and local employers, regardless of their size.
Many employers are intimidated by the myriad rules, regulations and exemptions contained within the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). A new federal case regarding overtime for on-call work provides a timely reminder of how important it is for employers to make sure they fully understand the FLSA and pay their employees properly. The case involved a nurse at a community health center who claimed unpaid overtime for working on-call over the weekends. SESCO has a long history of ensuring that employers are compliant with federal and state wage and hour requirements. If employers have any questions or concerns about their pay practices, we recommend they contact us to ensure compliance.
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave is generally unpaid. During unpaid FMLA leave an employer can require that employees use paid time off (PTO) or other types of employer- provided paid leave such as vacation or sick leave. The FMLA regulations provide, however, that if during FMLA leave an employee also receives benefits, in any amount, from a disability plan or workers’ compensation, the FMLA leave is not unpaid. Because the FMLA’s general rule permitting employers to require employee substitution of paid leave only applies tounpaidFMLA, during periods of FMLA when any income replacement is received, employers cannot require employees to substitute paid leave. This exception to the FMLA general rule applies regardless of the amount of income replacement received. For example, if an employee taking FMLA is also receiving disability benefits or workers' compensation benefits that replace two-thirds of their income, the employer may not require that the employee use PTO (or other paid leave) to make up for the one-third of income not covered by the disability or workers' compensation benefits. The employee can, however, be required to use paid leave during a waiting period before benefits are received, because the limitation is triggered by the receipt of income replacement benefits. Employers should review their FMLA policies and practices to ensure they properly administer the substitution of paid leave. We recommend all employers have their Employee Handbook reviewed on an annual basis by SESCO to ensure compliance.
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