2017 Annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar Debrief

On April 6, 2017 – before a lively and engaged crowd – we hosted our annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar for clients and employers.

Tim Cavazza’s session focused on the latest trends at the National Labor Relations Board, including a detailed rundown of what constitutes a lawful and unlawful labor practice.  Did you know the NLRB ruled it was unlawful to terminate an employee for stepping toward a company representative, shaking a finger, using profane language, and saying “I can say anything I want.  I can swear if I want.  I can do anything I want,” during collective bargaining?  But, as Tim explained, the NLRB’s decisions are likely to change with the new administration.  

Meghan Siket walked through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s requirements for the Employer Information Report EEO-1, otherwise known as the EEO-1 report.  Meghan explained the ins and outs of the revised EEO-1 report’s summary pay data and hours worked categories.  The new requirements are designed to prevent discriminatory practices, and it remains to be seen if they will remain in place with the new administration.  Meghan also explained paid sick leave rules for federal contractors, and the proposed sick leave legislation pending before the Rhode Island General Assembly. 

Bob Flanders and Tim Baldwin looked back at the past year at the Rhode Island Supreme Court.  They noted that, in general, most of the Court’s decisions were favorable to employers, and highlighted the Court’s rulings that stressed the importance of disclosing relevant documents and information during pre-trial discovery.  Did you know the Court ruled this year that commissions should usually be paid to an employee at the time the company accepts the order from the customer, but this rule can be modified by a written agreement between the company and employee? 

Matt Parker, a seasoned veteran of helping clients address employment discrimination claims and workplace complaints, gave a roadmap for preventing sexual harassment.  He emphasized best practices for sexual harassment training, responding to complaints, and went step-by-step through employer do’s and don’ts. 

Joe Cooper brought it home with a look at the current status of legal marijuana law and employment law nationally and in Rhode Island.  Joe noted the incongruity of the federal treatment of marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance, while Rhode Island has legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes.  Joe explained the nuanced dynamics that employers face with anti-discrimination laws, drug testing, and offered tips for best practices.