Week In Review

January 11, 2016

Whole Foods’ rule prohibiting recordings in the workplace found to be unlawful
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has invalidated rules prohibiting recording in the workplace without prior management approval. Whole Foods’ General Information Guide contains two rules that prohibit recording in the workplace. One policy prohibits audio and video recordings of company meetings. The second rule prohibits recording conversations in the workplace unless prior approval is obtained from store leadership. The NLRB determined that photography and audio or video recording in the workplace, as well as the posting of photographs and recordings on social media, is protected activity when no overriding employer interest is present. The NLRB noted that the rules prohibit all workplace recording. In light of the broad and unqualified language of the rules, the Board found that employees would reasonably read the rules as prohibiting protected recording activity.

DOL issues guidance on use of lodging credit under new home care rule
The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has issued guidance on when employers may credit the value of employer-provided lodging against minimum wage and overtime requirements for live-in domestic service workers. Now that federal minimum wage and overtime protections apply to home care workers, many employers of home care workers will make use of the credit set forth under Section 3(m) of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
An employer who wishes to claim the credit for lodging must ensure that the following five requirements are met: (1) the lodging is regularly provided by the employer or similar employers; (2) the employee voluntarily accepts the lodging; (3) the lodging is furnished in compliance with applicable federal, state, or local law; (4) the lodging is provided primarily for the benefit of the employee rather than the employer; and (5) the employer maintains accurate records of the costs incurred in furnishing the lodging.

New York City extends employment protection to caregivers
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has signed legislation expanding the New York City Human Rights Law to include “caregiver status” as an additional protected category in employment. The addition of caregiver status to these categories means an employee who is caring for a minor child or an individual with a disability cannot be terminated, demoted, or denied a promotion because of their status or perceived status as a caregiver.

Pittsburgh’s paid sick leave ordinance invalidly enacted
Finding that the city of Pittsburgh lacked the authority, as a home rule charter municipality, to determine the “duties, responsibilities or requirements placed on businesses, occupations and employers” unless authorized by specific statewide legislation, a Pennsylvania trial court determined that the paid sick leave ordinance was unlawfully enacted. As such, employers in Pittsburgh are not required to provide employees with paid sick leave.

SESCO recommends that clients review all applicable policy and practices to ensure compliance. For assistance, contact us at 423-764-4127 or by email at sesco@sescomgt.com