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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Get ready for a massive paperwork increase! If the U.S. Department of Labor has its way, employers will soon be required to prepare detailed records on every worker’s FLSA status and pay. Find out about a new program that could reshape the HR function.

If you’re considering hiring inmates through a work-release program, carefully weigh whether you will have to pay them as regular employees under the FLSA, or whether you may be able to pay them less. According to a recent 5th Circuit decision, prisoners specifically sentenced to hard labor may not be covered by the FLSA. Their employers may pay them less than minimum wage, and they’re not eligible for overtime pay.

Q. It has been our practice to pay our waiters and waitresses less than the minimum wage because we include their tips in their hourly wage. Is this legal?
Xe Services, the Moyock-based defense contractor formerly known as Blackwater, faces three lawsuits by former trainers who claim the company misclassified them as independent contractors. The suit seeks overtime pay.

Here’s some good news if you use truly independent contractors to perform work. If you have done it right, you don’t have to worry about losing an age discrimination lawsuit. But there’s a caveat: You must make sure you can easily prove your contractor wasn’t really an employee.

Exotic dancers at the Penthouse Executive Club in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood are suing in Manhattan federal court, claiming their bosses have been raiding the tip box, pilfering money that rightfully belongs to the dancers. They allege the owners sometimes took so much money that some dancers’ pay fell below the minimum wage.

Awe c’mon. An employee is obviously pregnant but you can’t even say the “p” word? Does the mere use of the adjective translate into legal liability? One court recently said “relax;” it’s okay to say a woman is pregnant. Just don’t make any employment decisions based on it or comment negatively. Still, it’s a bit tricky, as this case shows …

When it comes to employment lawsuits, HR is a lot like flying an airplane: The most risky parts of the trip are at the takeoff (hiring) and the landing (dismissal). With hiring, you can limit the employment-law risks by following the legally safe steps and training supervisors to do the same.

With fewer real, paying jobs available to young people, the number of unpaid internships is on the rise. Now the U.S. Department of Labor and many state labor departments (including California) are stepping up enforcement against employers who illegally use internships for free labor. Here's how to stay on the right side of the law.

Employees can always sue if they haven’t been paid for their work—even if they’re in the country illegally and not eligible to work in the United States. Employers can’t use their undocumented status as an excuse for not paying minimum wage and overtime under the FLSA.