2016 American Hero Awards Recipients

The 2016 American Hero Awards are just a few days away. Each year the recipients are true American Heroes and this year is no exception.

Click HERE to read about Ultimate Here Award Recipient Sgt. Randy J. Matheny

Sgt Randy J. Matheny

Click HERE to read about American Hero Award Recipient Major Matthew Kaplan (ret.)

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HR Directors may be held personally liable under the Family and Medical Leave Act

Recently, a United States Appellate Court held that a human resources supervisor could be personally liable when an employee was improperly denied her protections under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).  The plaintiff took leave on two separate occasions, first to care for her son who was suffering from diabetes, and a few weeks later to care for her second son who broke his leg.
During her second leave, the employer, and specifically the director of human resources at the employer, took issue with some of the paperwork which supported the plaintiff’s leave.  The employer refused to allow the plaintiff to return to work until she provided new documentation.  Communications broke down, and plaintiff left her job.  She sued her former employer and the director of human resources.  The trial court dismissed the case.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that the trial court was wrong and that the case against the human resources director could continue. An individual may be held personally liable under the FMLA if she is an “employer” which the statute defines to include “any person who acts, directly or indirectly, in the interest of an employer to any of the employees of such employer.”
Relying on the interpretation of a similar definition found in the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Court reasoned that an individual may be held personally responsible for FMLA violations if that individual “possessed the power to control the worker[ ] in question, with an eye to the ‘economic reality’ presented by the facts of each case.”
The Court considered factors including whether the individual (1) had the power to hire and fire employees, (2) supervised and controlled employee work schedules or conditions of employment, (3) determined the rate and method of payment, and (4) maintained employment records.
In the end, the Court of Appeals determined there were too many outstanding factual questions about the extent of control the human resources director exercised for the trial court to dismiss the case.  It sent the case back for further proceedings.  The take home message is that individuals and employers may be held liable if your company violates the FMLA or FLSA.  The best course of action is to keep your human resources department informed of their responsibilities and ensure they receive proper training on updates to federal employment laws.
The case is Graziadio v. Culinary Institute of America, Docket No. 15-888-cv in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

2016 American Hero Awards are Approaching

The 2016 American Hero Awards are quickly approaching. The American Hero Awards are an annual event sponsored by Trojan Labor, Acrux Staffing, and the Higher Quest Foundation honoring two American service members for meritorious actions while defending our country.tempstaffinghero7

The ceremony is held on the decks of the USS Yorktown at Patriot’s Point in Mt. Pleasant, SC.

Each year we are honored to have wonderful guest speakers including U.S. Medal of Honor recipient Major General James Livingston (retired) and members of local government.

This year the Ultimate Hero Award recipient will be Sgt. Randy Matheny and the American Hero Award recipient will be Major Matthew Kaplan. Both of these men are true American Heroes.

Stay tuned over the next few weeks as the event approaches to learn more about this year’s recipients.

Overtime Rules are Changing

The United States Department of Labor has indicated that new overtime rules will take effect in late 2016.  Under these new rules, the overtime exemption for salary will rise significantly from $23,660 potentially as high as $50,440.

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What that means is that whereas today an employee making an annual salary of $47,000 could work any number of hours per week without receiving overtime pay, employers may have to keep track of hours that same employee works and compensate them time-and-a-half for all hours over the overtime threshold (most of the time, more than 40 in a workweek).

In addition, this new higher salary threshold will increase automatically to keep pace with inflation.

The Department of Labor has received over a quarter of a million comments on the proposed rule and has suggested that the final rule will not be issued until late 2016.  If that is they case, they likely will not take effect until sometime in 2017.

Since the Department of Labor is in the executive branch of government, and its agenda is largely driven by the sitting president, this all leaves one to wonder what impact the upcoming presidential election may have on the proposed new overtime rules.

Check back regularly for updates on this proposed rule.