Compensation and Benefits

Compensation and benefits topics – whether it’s minimum wage, workers’ compensation laws, or employee pay – if properly handled, can help you retain workers and recruit new ones.

Use our advice to craft independent contractor agreements that keep independent contractors – and your bosses – happy.

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Q. If, according to the revised Employee Misclassification Prevention Act, we’ve been improperly classifying certain employees, do we need to go back and reimburse them? At the time, we thought they were properly classified.
As we told you last month, the DOL and many state agencies are cracking down on employers that illegally fail to pay their interns. Now the DOL has published “Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under The Fair Labor Standards Act” that helps clarify employers’ obligations.
The immigration landscape keeps changing, and employers must keep up. And now you also have to worry about employees who claim you hired illegal workers as a way to cut labor costs and therefore put legal workers at a competitive disadvantage. Clever attorneys have begun filing RICO Act lawsuits, alleging that some employers are essentially running “mob” operations.
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is joining the U.S. Department of Labor and the IRS in going after employers that improperly classify workers as independent contractors. Brown is tackling the issue from the legislative side, co-sponsoring the Employee Misclassification Prevention Act (EMPA).
Q. If an employee owes us money, can we collect it through deductions from his wages?
Independent contractors aren’t eligible for unemployment compensation, and their clients don’t have to pay into the unemployment compensation trust fund, as the following case shows.
The Minnesota Senate will hold hearings on the Constitutional Amendment for Equality (CAFE), a state-level equivalent of the federal Equal Rights Amendment that failed to win ratification in the 1970s and ’80s. In a statement, Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party legislators said the amendment to the Minnesota constitution would protect women’s rights in ways statutes can’t.

Gonnella Bakery has settled with Mexican workers at its plant in Aurora who claimed they were harassed because of their national origin. The workers said one manager often made derogatory comments about Mexican workers and consistently assigned them more difficult duties and work schedules.

Q. We require certain employees to be on-call for customer service needs that arise after hours. Employees carry a pager while on-call, and are expected to respond to pages right away. Do we have to pay our employees regular wages, or a minimum number of hours and overtime for being on call?
Q. An ex-employee who we fired just filed an FMLA lawsuit against us. In addition to our company, he also named as co-defendants the HR, benefits and plant managers, along with me, the president and CEO. We believe the employee was legally terminated. Is there any risk in having our corporate attorney represent all of the defendants in the lawsuit?
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