Latest Blog Posts


June 30, 2014 2:43 PM | Posted by Brian Peterson
Last week, the United States Supreme Court held that the purported “recess appointments” of NLRB Members Block, Flynn and Griffin were unconstitutional. See N.L.R.B. v. Canning, 12-1281, 2014 WL 2882090 (U.S. June 26, 2014). Therefore, the Board will have to reconsider and reissue hundreds of prior opinions.
June 24, 2014 4:12 PM | Posted by Dave Wing
The Union is acting as though it is a public interest group that is seeking to increase the minimum wage to $15. But its true goal is to become the restaurant workers’ exclusive bargaining representative. First, the Union ingratiates itself with restaurant workers by advocating for a substantial increase in the minimum wage. Second, it asks the workers to sign letters that they support and will participate in a strike with other employees in support of a minimum wage increase. Then the union seeks employee signatures on union authorization cards. Finally, once it has collected a sufficient number of signed authorization cards, it files an election petition with the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”).
June 3, 2014 8:14 AM | Posted by Jamie Cotter
Last week, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision in Hwang v. Kansas State University, and directly addressed the legality of so-called “inflexible leave policies,” i.e., policies that set an exact limit on the amount of leave an employee can take.  In that case, Ms. Hwang was hired as a professor at Kansas State and was diagnosed with cancer.  Kansas State had a policy that allowed for no more than six months’ sick leave.  Ms. Hwang argued that this “inflexible” policy was illegal on its face.  The 10th Circuit disagreed.
May 6, 2014 9:14 AM | Posted by Brian Peterson
There is nothing in the entire field of law which has called forth more disagreement, or upon which the opinions are in such a welter of confusion’ than causation.” Templemire v. W&M Welding, Inc., No. SC 93132, 2014 WL 1464574, at*9 (Mo. banc April 15, 2014) (quoting Prosser and Keeton on Torts, § 41 at 263 (5th ed. 1984). In a 5 – 2 decision, the Missouri Supreme Court overruled its own precedent on the appropriate causation standard for workers’ compensation retaliation claims. Id. Plaintiffs no longer need to prove that filing a workers’ compensation claim was the “exclusive cause” of an adverse employment action. They only need to prove that the workers’ compensation claim was a “contributing factor” in their employer’s decision to take an adverse employment action against them.
March 25, 2014 9:56 AM | Posted by Brian Peterson
HR managers are frequently asked to decide whether employee requests for unpaid time off qualify as leave protected by the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). The FMLA gives eligible employees a right to take up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave in order to care for their spouse, son, daughter or parent if that person has a serious health condition. See 29 U.S.C. § 2612(a)(1)(C) (2013) (emphasis added). Some courts have held that “caring for a family member with a serious health condition involves some level of participation in ongoing treatment of that condition.” See Marchisheck v. San Mateo County, 199 F.3d 1068,1076 (9th Cir.1999).
March 10, 2014 8:58 AM | Posted by Brian Peterson
Sometimes there are advantages to leaving things unsaid, or at least not permanently documented via social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Vine or Pinterest. This is especially true if your company or individual employees are named defendants in an employment lawsuit. For example, a plaintiff recently forfeited the right to collect an $80,000 settlement payment from his former employer because of his daughter’s errant Facebook post.
February 14, 2014 8:51 AM | Posted by Ron Fano
The Colorado Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that will determine whether marijuana use, at least for medicinal purposes, is a lawful off-duty activity under Colorado’s statute that prohibits an employer from discharging an employee for engaging in any lawful activity off the premises of the employer during nonworking hours. The decision will directly impact whether employers in Colorado can have and implement zero tolerance drug policies that include marijuana within their scope.
February 4, 2014 10:10 AM | Posted by Brian Peterson

Unionized employers do not have to compensate employees for the time they spend putting on and taking off protective gear if the collective bargaining agreement states that time spent changing clothes is not compensable. However, time spent changing into and out of non-clothes is compensable even if the collective bargaining agreement states otherwise.