With The Loss Of Another Icon, Employers Are Reminded To Prepare For The Risk Of A Fallen Star

With the passing of Bill Paxton coming on the heels of the deaths of several other lauded talents—including Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, and Mary Tyler Moore—fans continue to mourn the losses of their beloved artists, as well as the lost opportunities to see them in their upcoming roles.  And those losses reverberate across entertainment industries.  Disney must now grapple with pushing forward with its Star Wars film saga and related advertising campaigns without its leading princess.  It is a challenge that The Hunger Games filmmakers likewise faced with the passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman, which involved cast mourning periods and script rewrites.  Similarly, Fast & Furious 7 filmmakers reportedly spent an extra $50 million to complete the film following the death of Paul Walker.  The risk of an unfortunate passing looms over projects in other contexts, as well.  In television, John Ritter, John Spencer, and Cory Monteith passed away in the midst of successful runs of 8 Simple Rules, The West Wing, and Glee, respectively.  And entertainers David Bowie, Whitney Houston, and Prince, all likely had pending performance contracts at the times of their deaths.  This creates the risk of broken deals, unrealized projects, and even downstream litigation.

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4th Circuit Significantly Expands Joint Employer Liability Under FLSA With Incredibly Broad New Test

Much has been written about the National Labor Relations Board’s controversial Browning-Ferris decision that significantly expanded the scope of joint employer liability under the National Labor Relations Act. But virtually no attention has been given to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ recent panel decision in Salinas v. Commercial Interiors, Inc., No. 15-1915 (4th Cir. 2017), which creates an altogether new and incredibly broad joint employment standard under the Fair Labor Standards Act that makes the NLRB’s Browning-Ferris joint employment standard seem temperate at best. Absent a successful appeal to the US Supreme Court or Department of Labor intervention, the Salinas decision could open the floodgates to joint employment FLSA litigation and liability within the Fourth Circuit (Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina) and beyond.

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Is Joint-Employer Risk Still A Problem For The Hotel Industry?

On March 9, 2017, a federal appeals court in Washington, DC will hear argument in a challenge to the National Labor Relations Board’s controversial standard, announced in August 2015, for finding two businesses to be joint employers, and thus responsible for each other’s legal liabilities on the labor front.  The labor community is keeping a close eye on the case.  If the NLRB’s standard is upheld, businesses across the country will face the prospect of sharing labor and employment risk with their subcontractors, supply chain partners, and maybe even their franchisees.

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Labor & Employment Quick Takes: Tips for Revising Separation Agreements in Light of Recent Agency Challenges

Government agencies like the SEC are challenging what have long been standard provisions in separation agreements. Hunton & Williams LLP partners Kevin White and Emily Burkhardt Vicente discuss those challenges and provide tips for companies on revising their standard agreements to mitigate against them. View the 5-minute video here

Acting EEOC Chair Provides Insight Into Agency’s Future

Hunton & Williams recently published an entry on its Retail Law Resource Blog regarding what employers can expect from Victoria Lipnic, the new acting chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) and an EEOC Commissioner since 2010.  Since that publication, Lipnic has made public comments as to what she envisions from the EEOC under her leadership.  Several key topics from those comments are summarized below:

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Retail’s Blind Spot: Your Supply Chain and Distribution Facilities as Labor Union Organizing Targets

Join us for a complimentary webinar on Tuesday, March 7, 2017, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. EDT.

While proactive retail employers are responding to, and preparing for, union organizing efforts at their retail stores, many supply chain workforces remain vulnerable to targeted union campaigns. We will address the special circumstances and vulnerabilities of workforces at warehouses, distribution centers, transport and other supply chain operations. We will review some of the new dynamics in supply chain operations that attract union interest, and offer suggestions to reduce the risk of organizing. Finally, we will review developments in the law, and the potential for rule changes under the Trump NLRB that may have an impact in supply chain organizing considerations.

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Labor & Employment Quick Takes: What Non-Unionized Financial Services Companies Should Know about the NLRA

A common misconception among banks and financial services companies is that if they are non-unionized, the National Labor Relations Act does not apply to them. Hunton & Williams LLP partner Emily Burkhardt Vicente and senior attorney Amber Rogers discuss the key points non-unionized financial services companies should know about the NLRA. View the 5-minute video here.

Hunton Labor Partner Kurt Larkin to Testify Before U.S. House of Representatives

On February 14th 2017, Hunton labor partner Kurt Larkin will present testimony at the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions hearing on “Restoring Balance and Fairness to the National Labor Relations Board.”  Kurt will discuss a variety of NLRB issues, including joint employer standards, ambush elections and micro unions.  The hearing will take place at 10:00am EST and can be viewed live here.

Labor & Employment Quick Takes: Fighting Back Against Employee Raiding

Gone are the days when most workers stay at one job for their entire career. Losing key talent to a competitor is one of the biggest challenges many employers face. Hunton & Williams LLP partners Roland Juarez and Emily Burkhardt Vicente discuss strategies that companies across industries can employ to protect themselves from unlawful employee raiding. View the 5-minute video here. 

Florida Court Finds Uber Drivers are Independent Contractors, Not Employees

Across the country, worker misclassification issues continue to be a significant risk for employers.  One hot button issue is whether workers in newer, technology-based industries, such as ride-sharing, are properly classified as independent contractors rather than employees.  Last week, an appellate court in Florida considered whether Uber drivers are properly classified as independent contractors or employees for purposes of benefits under Florida’s unemployment insurance statute.

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